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AKG K490-NC Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v0.9
Reviewed Feb 26, 2016 at 12:00 am
AKG K490-NC Picture
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.3
Critical Listening
6.4
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
6.9
Home Theater
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise-Cancelling Yes
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The AKG K490-NC are decent-sounding, noise canceling headphones. They lack a bit of bass but they're decently comfortable and have a somewhat sturdy build quality. They barely leak, they're somewhat portable and they're stable enough to run with but won't be the best headphones for sports. They also have no practical controls apart from the NC switch which is slightly disappointing.

Our Verdict

6.5 Mixed Usage

The AKG K490-NC are average everyday mixed usage headphones. They have a compact design and a decent sound. Their noise isolation is not as good for noise canceling headphones but sufficient for moderately loud environments.

Pros
  • Lightweight build.
  • Comfortable "On Ear" design.
  • Decent sound quality.
Cons
  • Many potentially weak joints.
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Significant lack of bass.
7.3 Critical Listening

Mediocre for critical listening. The AKG K490-NC have a decent sound but a poor soundstage. They won't reproduce high-res audio with the clarity and detail of an open back design and they also a lack a bit of bass for fans of bass-heavy music.

6.4 Commute/Travel

Decent for commuting. They're compact and easy to carry around. They also block an above-average amount of noise although they won't be ideal for very loud environments. Unfortunately, they don't have the best control scheme.

6.1 Sports/Fitness

Mediocre for sports. They're lightweight and compact. However, they're a little unstable for high-intensity exercises and have poor control scheme.

6.4 Office

Decent for office use. They will only reduce a little bit of office chatter, but on the upside, they don't leak much.

6.9 Home Theater

Above-average for home theater use. The AKG K490-NC have no latency since they're wired, and they sound decent enough for watching movies although they lack a little bass. Unfortunately, they have a short audio cable, so they won't be the ideal headphones to comfortably watch movies with from you couch unless you have an extension cord.

  • 6.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Critical Listening
  • 6.4 Commute/Travel
  • 6.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.4 Office
  • 6.9 Home Theater

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The AKG K490-NC look great. The silver accents from the polished metal give them a premium look. The thin headband is lightly padded. The small on-ear cups are circular, well-padded and have textured plastic backs with the silver AKG logo branded upon them. The branding works well with the overall look and is not overstated.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.34 lbs
Clamping Force
0.64 lbs

Lightweight and comfortable, considering they are on-ear headphones. However, they do put a bit of pressure on the ears which could get fatiguing after a while.

4.7
Design
Controls
Ease of use Above-average
Feedback Above-average
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Noise Canceling Control Yes
Talk-Through No
Additional Buttons No

The button layout is quite simple. There is only a button for noise cancellation and nothing else. No in-line controls or mic on the cable, which is disappointing.

6.5
Design
Stability

The K490-NC are decently stable headphones. They apply enough pressure to your ears to stay in place during casual listening sessions, and their lightweight, compact design prevents them from swaying too much during moderate physical activity. They also have a detachable audio cable that won't pull the headphones of your ears if it gets hooked on something. However, they're not sports headphones and will slip off you ears while running.

6.6
Design
Portability
L 4.33 "
W 5.12 "
H 2.36 "
Volume 52.39 Cu. Inches
Stand required N/A

The AKG K490-NC are mid-sized on-ear headphones. They're moderately portable and don't take up too much space in a bag. They also fold into a more compact design for easier storage and transport. They will fit comfortably in a jacket pocket but will be too big for regular pant pockets.

6.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch

The AKG K490-NC come with a soft fabric pouch that will protect the headphones from scratches and doesn't add much bulk. Sadly the soft fabric will not shield the headphones from hard falls, or water damage.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones are quite well-built for the most part, but have a few major weak points, mainly the joints, that may spoil the whole experience. Also, the headband adjustment slider is very loose and easily loses its position. There are some customer reports on Amazon.com regarding the hinges breaking.

Design
Cable
Detachable Yes
Length 4.58 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS

The AKG K490-NC come with two cables; USB-1/16"TRRS for charging and 1/8"TRS - 1/16"TRRS for connecting audio devices.

Design
Front

Design
Angled

Design
Side

Design
Rear

Design
Top

Design
In The Box

  • AKG K490NC Headphones
  • Flight adapter
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • AKG warranty card

Sound
6.7
Sound
Bass
Std. Err.
4.11 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
75.51 Hz
Low-Bass
-6.21 dB
Bass
-1.46 dB
High-Bass
2.65 dB

7.4
Sound
Mid
Std. Err.
3.52 dB
Low-Mid
4.37 dB
Mid
2.62 dB
High-Mid
1.53 dB

6.8
Sound
Treble
Std. Err.
4.48 dB
Low-Treble
-0.49 dB
Treble
-4.52 dB
High-Treble
4.18 dB

9.8
Sound
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
0.011
Weighted THD @ 100
0.043

Isolation
6.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
-16.27 dB
Bass
-7.54 dB
Mid
-11.7 dB
Treble
-31.7 dB
Self-Noise
11.28 dB

The ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) on these headphones is subpar, only providing 10dB of reduction from 30Hz to 1KHz. However, the treble isolation starting around 2KHz is decent.

7.5
Isolation
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
36.41 dB

Very minimal leakage up to 300Hz, but there is a notable increase from 500Hz to 4KHz. This means they leak in the mid-range in addition to the typical treble leakage.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Wireless
Type
N/A
Obstructed Range
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
NFC
No

10
Active Features
Latency
Base Latency
0 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

7.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Battery Life
46 hrs
Charge Time
2.5 hrs
Auto-off
No
Audio while charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes

The AKG 490-NC have a long lasting battery life. They provide up to 2 days worth of continuous play at average volumes. They take a bit longer than average to charge, but it shouldn't be much of an issue has you won't need to recharge through out the day thanks to great battery life. Unfortunately the audio cable and charging cable share the same port and cannot be used at the same time. Hence, you won't be able to play audio while charging.

0
Active Features
App Support

No compatible app.

AKG K490-NC Price

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