When it comes to buying Bluetooth headphones, one can choose between in-ear ones or over-ear ones. But some are not comfortable with in-ear ones, whereas others don’t want to carry the massive over-ear headphones. Thankfully, there exists on-ear headphones that are lightweight and easy to carry around. Today, I have the Samsung AKG Y500 on-ear Bluetooth headphones for review. Available for Rs 9,999, they promise to offer a killer battery life and superior audio quality. After using it for close to a week now, here is my review.
AKG Y500 Design and comfort
The AKG Y500 headphones come with a premium design. The earcups are made from metal, and they have chamfered edges, giving them a premium look. You can buy the headphones in Black, Blue, Pink and Green color options. Moving on, the headband is made of hard plastic, and it feels pretty sturdy. The headphones fold inward, making them easier to carry. Samsung has also included a high-quality pouch, which is a welcome addition.
The ear pads have memory foam, and they sit comfortably on the ears. Even after long listening sessions, say 3-4 hours at a stretch, you won’t feel any discomfort, which is good. However, if you wear glasses with thick temples (long arms that sit on your ears), you’ll feel some discomfort after 40 odd minutes. This is because the on-ear design suppresses the headphones, and it’s common with all on-ear headphones.
The AKG Y500 doesn’t come with noise cancellation features, but the earpads do a decent job of passively isolating the outside world. Even when you’re listening to music at high volume, the person sitting beside you won’t have the slightest clue of what you’re listening to as there is no sound leak.
Moving on to buttons and connectivity, the left ear cup has a volume slider to toggle up or down to increase or decrease volume. Then you have a play/pause button, which also lets you accept calls when connected to PC or smartphone via Bluetooth. And when the battery drains out, there is 2.5mm input socket, that lets you listen to wired music. Samsung has included a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable, and it has an in-line mic and buttons for controlling music too.
On the right, you will find the on/off button, which also lets you put the headphones in the pairing mode. There is a microUSB charging port. So, if you have an iPhone or Android phone with USB Type-C port, you’ll have to carry a microUSB cable too. There is one more button on the right (for Ambient Aware feature). After activating, it attenuates your music volume, allowing you to hear your surroundings. And it works very well.
There is an optional play/pause automation feature too, which works when connected via Bluetooth. Essentially, music playback starts automatically when you wear the headphones. The music also automatically stops, when you remove the headphones.
Specifications and connectivity
The AKG Y500 headphones support Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, and AAC codec. There is however no support for aptX, aptX HD or LDAC. In terms of specifications, the headphones have 40mm drivers, frequency response of 16Hz – 22kHz, and impedance of 32 ohms.
AKG Y500 performance
Now, coming to the main part – performance. I tested it in two scenarios – wired and wireless. My test devices included Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (wireless), and MacBook Air (wired + wireless). I streamed high-quality music from Apple Music and Spotify.
Starting with wireless performance, I played songs from Daft Punk (Starboy), The Chainsmokers (Closer), Armin Van Burren (In and Out of Love), Moby (Lift Me Up), andThe Verve (Bitter Sweet Symphony). I also played some Bollywood songs like Kala Chashma, Rang De Basanti, London Thumakta, Bom Diggy Diggy, and Yeh Haseen Vaadiya.
With Bluetooth connectivity, the headphones delivered detailed audio and balanced acoustics, but the bass could have been a little punchier. It’s not like there is no bass, it is present, but it is minimal. The audio output could have been a little louder too. But then it depends on the kind of music genre you are playing. Bollywood songs sounded good, and the same goes with jazz and R&B. It is even good for watching movies and playing games. The wide sound staging lets you enjoy the movie with all its action and background score.
Next, with a wired connection, things were a bit different. The audio output is a little louder with analog connectivity, and the bass was a little powerful too. Rest everything remains the same as wireless connectivity. It’s just that you miss out on Ambient Aware feature, and the buttons on the headphone don’t let you adjust the volume.
Lastly, the battery life – it’s great. AKG is promising up to 33 hours of battery life on a single charge. While it may sound like a bold claim, I can verify that the headphones last a little over 33 hours. There is also a fast charging feature where five minutes of charging offers one hour playback time. During my testing, it lasted around 52 minutes before the battery ran out. Full charging takes around two-and-a-half hours.
The battery life makes them perfect for people who are traveling on long-haul flights. A single charge and you’re sorted from Mumbai to Hawaii trip that takes about 30 hours. The only thing you’ll miss is the active noise cancellation feature.
Verdict: Should you buy the AKG Y500?
The Samsung AKG Y500 are affordable on-ear headphones. They deliver good audio quality, have premium design, and come with great battery life. The ambient aware is a good feature, and the compact design makes it an idea travel companion. It does have some downsides in terms of codec support, medium bass, output could have been a little louder.
Alternatively, if you can spend a little more, the Sony WH-CH700N over-ear headphones with noise cancellation are worth considering at Rs 11,500. They also come with built-in Alexa voice assistant support. You can read our review here.