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AKG ships two new wireless headphones

AKG has released a pair of wireless headphones, the K 830 BT, which uses Bluetooth technology, and the K 840 KL, which uses Kleer technology for lossless CD-quality audio over the air.

The AKG K840 is a $299 'premium' wireless model that uses Kleer technology rather than Bluetooth. AKG

Austrian headphone-maker AKG, now owned by Harman International, is getting into the wireless headphones game with two premium new models--one Bluetooth, and one based on Kleer wireless technology--the K 830 BT and AKG K 840 KL. They list for $249.95 and $299.95 respectively.

For its Bluetooth model, AKG is targeted "the constant jetsetter who takes calls on the run yet enjoys listening to tunes on the train." That model is compatible with any device or smartphone that supports stereo Bluetooth audio streaming and has a built-in mic for taking calls. Its rechargeable battery is rated at 8 hours of playback time.

Meanwhile, the K 840 KL, which streams lossless CD-quality audio over the air, is designed more for audiophiles who want to cut the cord. The only problem with the K 840 KL is that because it uses Kleer, it requires a separate dongle that must by connected to the headphone port of your smartphone (or the audio output of any device) and that dongle must be recharged along with the headphones.

The K 840 KL shares some similarities with the TDK WR700, another Kleer headphone. They both feature "mini" on-ear headphone cups and fold-flat designs. However, the TDK WR700 uses standard alkaline batteries while the AKG models has rechargeable batteries in both the headphones and dongle that can give you up to two weeks of playback time in "normal use" scenarios. It's worth noting that the TDK's started out at $299 but have since dropped substantially in price.

As AKG's marketing materials say, Kleer wireless technology delivers uncompressed 16-bit stereo audio over a robust 2.4 GHz radio link and offers a range of about 65 feet (Bluetooth's range is half that). We tried the K840 headphones out and were generally impressed with their performance. While the the K830 headphones sound very good for Bluetooth headphones, Kleer wireless technology simply offers higher sound quality than Bluetooth.

As for their design, we liked the more compact look of the mini earcups for walking around (we used them on a subway commute). They're pretty comfortable--though not as comfortable as Bose headphones--and we found ourselves adjusting the earcups on our ears from time to time. AKG says that both pairs of headphones feature a proprietary 3D-Axis2 folding headband "for a comfortable fit without pinching or ear fatigue." That's mostly true, but, as you know, ears come in many different shapes and sizes, so what's comfortable for some may not be as comfortable for others.

We'll have full reviews of both models in the coming weeks. For full specs on the K840 go here; for the K830, go here. Both models are shipping now.

The $249 K830's use Bluetooth technology and don't require an external dongle. AKG