Samsung AKG Y500 Wireless on-ear headphones review

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 31, 2019

Stylish but non-secure fit combines with pretty good sound

The Y500 from Samsung owned AKG is an interesting looking set of headphones. Unlike the full-cupped over-the-ears type, these are on-ear headphones. That immediately tells you that there won’t be a big seal-in to cut out noise, but also that they’ll leave some breathing space for your ears rather than enclosing them in a warm cocoon, not awfully comfortable in a country like India where it’s hot and humid for a large part of the year. On-ear headphones will also leak sound out, so they’re not the best flight companions - -for the guy in the next seat.

The Y500 headphones fold up into a nice small profile for great portability. There’s a fabric case provided, not a hard shell one, so you still will need to be careful not to throw them around.

The ear-cups have a certain satisfying round geometricity about them, rimmed as they are by a stainless steel frame. It makes them look particularly hi-tech. They also have an interesting heaviness to them, and that immediately tells you you’ll feel their weight but also that you can except them to sound good because they must have the necessary internals.

As it turns out, the heaviness wasn’t their big problem. I just found them specially slippery for my head. I would recommend trying it out for fit somewhere. If I move my head an inch downwards, off they go. There’s a lot of play in the headband, so you can adjust to quite an extent, but even at the tightest setting, they want to get off my head. The slider on the headband also moves somewhat on its own accord, so you could find them loosening out on your head.

I also found the ear-cup part pressing down on my ear a bit more insistently than I thought was polite. Spectacle wearers also say they have a tough time with them so if you’re wearing your very cool ‘shades’ while listening to music take some pain-killers along.

It seems like there are rather a lot of controls on each ear-cup. On the right, there’s a switch, rather than a button, for power and pairing. Next to it is a button that sends the sound to the background in case there’s something you want to listen in on around you. But it does this with the most startling Star Trek-like beep. It quite took me by surprise as one usually has a polite voice to tell you you’re listening to ambient sounds or you have no battery left. It’s a strange choice.

On the other ear-cup, we have a volume up and down button and track navigation, and separately a button to pause. These functions are usually combined to reduce the number of buttons but that’s not the case on these. But no matter! The buttons have a tactile feel and you get used to finding them with your fingers very quickly. There’s no assistant support. One very useful feature is that the headphones auto-pause when you take them off your head. That’s just great for when you’re in a hurry.

These headphones gave no problem pairing, which they just did in a flash. Charging was quick, but ignoring the age of USB-Type C, they use a micro-USB cable and that too a rather short stringy one.The battery life is rated at 33 hours, a fact I can’t quite confirm as I tend to listen loud and in short sessions.

The sound quality is tricky. They don’t sound bad at all, but they’re not up front and punchy. The sound feels a little recessed and I felt I just had to listen at a higher than usual volume whereupon it began to pump up some quite pleasant and well-rounded balanced sound. The bass is not over-boosted deliberately as is often the case specially for India, but just present. If the Y500 had been a bit better fitting and more comfortable, I think long listens could have been a possibility with this sound signature.

Samsung AKG Y500 Wireless on-ear headphones
  • Price: Rs 9,999
  • Pros: Stylish unique look, folds up into a small profile for portability, nice auto pause feature, pretty good sound quality
  • Cons: Fall off easily, presses on the ears a bit, not the best comfort, uses micro-USB

Published on October 31, 2019

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