Review AKG K 830 BT Bluetooth Headset

Felix Sold (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/24/2011

Acoustic mobile pleasure. The Austrian premium audio supplier, AKG, introduces the K 830 BT as a mobile headset with wireless Bluetooth transmission. A powerful sound, laterally placed controls and a low weight let the headphone excel. However, this solution isn't exactly cheap with 179 euros (RRP).

The company, AKG, situated in Austria has built products for professional, as well as private users for over 60 years. Today, AKG belongs to the large Harman International Group along with other famous companies such as Harman Kardon, JBL and Infinity. The new AKG K 830 BT headset is delivered in a slim and fairly unremarkable box. Beside the device itself, you'll find a transportation case, a charging cable (USB on mini USB) and the usual paperwork (manual, warranty card, safety instructions). The headset is within the upper midrange in view of the recommended retail price of 179 euros. The wireless Bluetooth is likely the most interesting feature about it.

A compact companion without annoying cables

The K 830 BT's exterior is made of simple plastic which makes a good impression. The haptics and workmanship of the matt black surfaces is good and the moveable parts make a stable impression. Inside, there is a metal bar that increases the stability, but stays relatively flexible at the same time. The ear piece has a mesh grid and a high-gloss finish. The control rockers on the left ear piece look cheap in contrast to the overall impression. The unclear pressure point and the varying key drop lengths are annoying during use.

In addition to the compact design, the low weight of only 145 grams also convinces. The entire equipment, including the battery, is located behind the speakers. A practical carrying mechanism, which allows the device to be transported space-savingly in the included case, is created by two hinges and rotatable ear pieces.

Wearing comfort with weaknesses and saturated sound

At first glance, you notice that the round ear pieces are very small and thus, sit directly on the ear as on-ears – awkward for persons who wear glasses. Other systems are based on the same technology, but they cover the entire ear with big ear pieces. On the other hand, the padding and the low weight are very pleasant and the used leather makes a quality impression. The compact build has an adverse effect. The headset's fit isn't optimal despite the fine gradation for various head sizes. It quickly loses its grip during strong movements or fast bending over and can slip off your head. The K 830 BT is therefore not quite as suitable for sport activities despite its mobile alignment. Earbud headphones or larger on-ear phones have an advantage here.

The sound quality of both speakers with neodymium magnets convince with a balanced range. The playback isn't too bass-heavy and there is no reason for complaint through various music genres. The K830 BT is thus just as well suitable for relaxing hours with classical music as for popular electronic dance music. Beside clear low ranges, midranges and trebles, the maximum volume is also impressive. In our case, Apple's devices limit the volume at a certain level.

The microphone is located directly underneath the headphones and doesn't protrude. Speech transmission during a call and a conference via Skype software convinces with clear reproduction at the respective call partner. Moreover, the background noises outdoors are filtered and suppressed.

Technology meets battery life

AKG has successfully managed to put a lot of technology in the small ear pieces. Beside the battery, the Bluetooth transmission equipment is located here. The headset supports the widespread standard 2.1 +EDR, including the profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HSP and HFP. These profiles even allow the use of Apple devices, among others. That is not the case with all Bluetooth devices. In a short functionality test, the K830 BT was detected by various Windows laptops, as well as from the latest Apple MacBook Pro 15 and the iPhone 4 without ado. The promised range of about 10 meters is realistic, whereas height differences in a building or load bearing walls can lead to transmission problems or interruptions.

The built-in battery makes good runtimes possible despite the small size. An average of 7 to 10 days was possible with a fully charged battery. However, the runtime is very dependent on the time of use. Commuters who use the headset everyday in the train will have to visit a USB socket more frequently. Overall, the device from AKG offers good efficiency in this field and you are warned early about a low battery charge.

Verdict

AKG has set up a light Bluetooth headset with the K 830 BT, which convinces with balanced sound, good runtime and pleasant wearing comfort. Unfortunately, the ear pieces are fairly small and sit directly on the ear. Thus, it has a fairly loose fit and sport activities aren't recommendable. Persons who wear glasses could also be affected by possible pressure marks. The controls on the side are supported by most devices and even the A2DP profile for Apple devices is onboard.
A drop of bitterness at the end: It is not a bargain with a recommended retail price of 179 euros. However, it can already be found in various shops for less.

In Review: AKG K 830 BT Bluetooth Headset in black
In Review: AKG K 830 BT Bluetooth Headset in black

Shortcut

What we like

The balanced sound, the simple initiation and the scope of delivery

What we'd like to see

A better fit for movement intensive activities

What surprises us

The entire equipment placed in the small ear pieces

The competitors

Folding headband headsets with Bluetooth transmission. Among others, the Sony BR-BT50 and the Sennheiser devices MM 400, MM 450 and MM 550, for example.

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Author: Felix Sold, 2011-05-24 (Update: 2013-06- 6)