- Good value
- Fun and balanced sound
- Good battery life
- May cause some discomfort for long listening
- Review Price: £114/$171
- 20-hour battery
- Optional cable
- Carry case
What are the AKG Y50BT?
The AKG Y50 are some of the best budget on-ear headphones available. Costing £65, they stand up well to some models priced at £150. And the AKG Y50BT are simply the Bluetooth wireless version of that pair. Same sound, same design, but without the need for a cable – but they do have a higher price.
Those looking to spend as little as possible yet still get good sound should also check out the great value Urbanista Seattle. However, the AKG Y50BT are better-built and remain top performers at the price.
AKG Y50BT — Design and comfort
The AKG Y50BT are on-ear headphones, but larger than most of this type. They have a chunky, exuberant style that appears more fun than the average set of AKG headphones.
They’re clearly designed to attract eyes on the high street. The version AKG sent in for review is one of the most staid of the lot: silver and black, showing off the metal caps on each of the cups. The wireless model is also available in blue and black; the wired pair come in other bright shades too.
Each side has a thick synthetic leather pad that sits on your ear like a pillow. Thanks to a very swivel-happy frame, thick foam and reasonably light weight, the AKG Y50BT manage to avoid the classic discomfort issues associated with most on-ear headphones. I’ve worn them for a few hours at a time, and even during a 30-minute run around the park I experienced no problems.
That said, if you’re likely to be wearing headphones for a solid eight hours a day, an over-ear set is a better idea. They avoid placing pressure on your ear cartilage, so you won’t need a rest from wearing them.
The AKG Y50BT are unapologetic portable headphones, and the cups fold up into the headband to make them even easier to transport. A basic fabric carry bag comes included; a fancy hard case would be at odds with the breezy, youthful style.
AKG Y50BT – Wireless and features
These headphones are well catered for on the tech side. Unlike the otherwise excellent Urbanista Seattle, these headphones offer aptX and excellent battery life. AptX ensures you won’t hear any obvious, grating degradation of sound quality when using Bluetooth, and with up to 20 hours of battery life, the AKG Y50BT are ready for the longest of flights or all-day listening.
The battery is charged using an exposed micro-USB port on the side, which highlights one of the Y50BT’s missing features: splash-proofing. However, unlike in-ears, they’re not likely to become too wet while you’re out running or in the gym.
Should the battery run out, you can use the bundled cable instead, which effectively turns the Y50BT back into the wired AKG Y50. When using the headphones with Bluetooth, you can control volume and playback using a series of buttons on the right cup.Signal reliability isn’t quite as rock-solid as the best from Beats and Sony. However, apart from the odd blip during the first few minutes of a Bluetooth connection session, the AKG Y50BT are mostly free of interference. At home, it’s possible to get 5-8m away from your phone before the signal breaks down.
There’s no active noise cancellation in the Y50BT. However, there is a mic on the right cup that enables you to take calls.
AKG Y50BT – Sound quality
When they first arrived on the market, the AKG Y50BT were priced at £150. This was cheaper than most pairs of this type, but still conspicuously more than you’d pay for a wired pair.
Since then the price has come down to a friendlier £110-120. AKG has nailed a mainstream sound that has a good chance of pleasing both audio obsessives and those simply looking for headphones that can deliver basslines convincingly.
Like most portable headphones, the AKG Y50BT has a crowd-pleasing extra hit of bass, but it doesn’t cloud the sound and provides satisfying sub-bass. That’s particularly important if you like electronic music, which is often packed with bass.
There’s respectable mid-range detail for what is an entry-level headphone, which makes the AKG Y50BT a good choice for the audiophile looking for something fun to listen to while walking around. They’re full and thick-sounding, without that chunkiness becoming a clogging agent.The soundstage displays good width for affordable on-ear headphones, and, as I noted when mentioning aptX, there’s no obvious huge dip in quality when streaming wirelessly. The treble is on the soft side, lacking the bite fans of bright headphones will be after. However, the AKG Y50BT are a triumph at the price: complete and cohesive-sounding.
Should I buy the AKG Y50BT?
The AKG Y50BT are some of the best wireless headphones at the price. The Urbanista Seattle offer comparable sound quality for less money, but they also use lower-quality Bluetooth streaming and suffer significantly worse battery life.
These headphones outperform the Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT and are far better than the Sony MDR-XB650BT.
If every £10/$15 matters, I’d recommend the Urbanista Seattle over this pair. However, there’s no denying the AKG Y50BT are longer-lasting, perhaps better-built and use superior tech.
Great wireless headphones for those who don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds.