Harman AKG K830BT Wireless Bluetooth Headset (Black) review: Harman AKG K830BT Wireless Bluetooth Headset (Black)

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MSRP: $249.00

The Good It's easy to pair the AKG K 830 BT headphones with any Bluetooth-enabled device, and the rechargeable battery can last for several days of normal use before running out.

The Bad These expensive headphones can't escape the aural limitations of Bluetooth in its current form.

The Bottom Line The AKG K 830 BT headphones offer a simple wireless solution for music lovers sick of tangled headphone cords, but the underwhelming Bluetooth audio fidelity isn't worth the overambitious price.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5

Despite their ease of use and comfort, we're hesitant to recommend the $250 AKG K 830 BT wireless headphones without a serious price drop. Like many Bluetooth-only headsets, these cans lose a significant amount of sound quality due to file compression, and with little else to offer aside from wireless connectivity, they're hard to endorse. If you're in the market for a pair of wireless headphones, the TDK WR700s are an effective alternative for less than half the price of the AKG K 830 BT headphones.

The AKG K 830 BTs are on-ear headphones, so the soft cloth earcups and vinyl outer layer sit on top of your ears, unlike "circumaural," over-the-ear cans like the Sennheiser HD 201s that stretch over your temple.

The AKG's plastic headband has a thin layer of padded vinyl underneath that eases the strain of wearing the headphones over the course of a day. The adjustable band and the 180-degree swiveling earcups will likely accommodate a variety of head shapes and sizes, and we personally had no comfort issues while using them over a two-week period, sometimes for more than 4 hours at a time.

AKG cuts down on the weight of these headphones by using shiny black plastic to cover the onboard controls, but the material makes the device feel cheap and gives an audible flex that doesn't inspire confidence in long-term durability. They almost feel too flimsy to throw into a bag, which is likely why AKG includes a protective sack to keep them in during travel.

Regardless, we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving these free to get knocked around in a backpack unprotected, and we're already starting to notice small sections of paint chipping off the earcups.

The outer half of the left earcup houses all the buttons you need to control the calling and music playback features, including a pause/play button on top, forward and backward buttons on the right and left sides, and a two-directional button on the bottom of the circle for volume adjustments.

There's also a large multifunction button marked with a phone in the middle that lets you dial, accept, and end calls, and redial the last number with a series of simple clicks. If you can remember all the controls, you can also mute the microphone and lock the entire control pad with another set of button-pressing patterns. We tested all the controls over a couple weeks, and our only gripe about the button layout is that the volume toggles are reversed so that "volume down" sits in front of, instead of behind, "volume up." The issue is negligible, but expect an adjustment period (it took us about a week) before you get used to the button reversal.

Along with the headset, the AKG K 830 BT box also includes a small USB charger that plugs into the bottom of the left earcup, as well as the bag already mentioned.

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