AKG supplies the earphones for the Samsung Galaxy S10 line, but it also has larger products such as the noise-canceling AKG N700NC. When it comes to raw performance, the AKG N700NC rules as king of the hill. The headset is included in our best headphones list and is competitively priced, so let’s see how it works against Sony and Bose. Here is our AKG N700NC Review.
AKG N700NC Review – Design
Based on the design alone, this is intended as a premium noise-canceling headset. Don’t be fooled by the predominantly plastic construction. The handsome finish complements the synthetic leather ear cushions and velour headband, which looks great but is not very comfortable. Although the plastic exterior keeps them reasonably light (261 g), it also serves as a source of cracking when buttons are pressed. However, the ear cups are comfortable for those who wear glasses.
However, the lack of pressure behind the ears means that overpressure is moved at the crown of the head. A famous hotspot forms here after about an hour of wearing. Frequent flyers should strongly consider the AKG N700NC because of how well they dampen low-end frequencies. Engines, air conditioning units, and distant rumbling are no match for this headset. You get other travel-friendly functions, such as the possibility to fold them flat or up in the direction of the headband, and a hard carrying case with zipper.
Generally useful functions for the road are the Ambient Aware and TalkThru modes. Ambien Aware allows external noise so that you remain aware of your environment. However, I did not find it extremely useful. TalkThru is a bit different: it amplifies vocal frequencies and lets them pass through the noise-suppressing barrier. This allows listeners to make conversations without having to remove the headphones, but this feels rude.
It seems that almost every headphone manufacturer nowadays has its app, and AKG did not want to miss the data collection party. However, I shouldn’t be too hard, because the app is useful for anyone who wants to make EQ adjustments or take advantage of firmware updates. This also allows listeners to reassign the Smart Ambient button on the right earcup to enable TalkThru functions instead. The multifunctional button on the left earcup gives access to your virtual assistant access and cannot be reassigned.
Extremely good. Compare the attenuation of the bass frequency between the AKG N700, Sony WH-1000XM3, and Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. Both Bose and Sony technologies are unable to control frequencies below ~ 90Hz, but AKG’s ANC can dampen 45Hz frequencies. Again, the benefits are most noticeable during air travel. For everyday use, the Sony WH-1000XM3 does better to make the conversation quieter.
Battery Life and Connectivity
The battery life is good: with ANC switched on, SoundGuys recorded 22.65 hours of stand-alone playback. This is enough for use in the real world and never posed a problem during testing. Something I do have issues with is the micro-USB charging input. For $349, I would have liked a USB-C input. Frankly, the absence is stupid. A full charging cycle of the headset takes two hours, and unfortunately, there is no fast charging function.
Connectivity is reliable within a range of 10 meters, despite the outdated firmware, Bluetooth 4.1. Besides, the headset only supports AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs. This is a disappointment for Android users because the AAC performance varies between handsets. However, you can follow the wired route with the included AKG cable, since your smartphone has a headphone connection.
AKG N700NC Review – Sound Quality
They sound great: bass notes are emphasized and give each kick drum a little more presence without reducing the audibility of mid frequencies. I listened to Anderson Paak’s album Oxnard with these headphones and enjoyed every moment of it. Paak’s vocals remained prominent in each song without being silenced by the collection of bass drops. These headphones are strategically tuned to please a majority of consumers without emphasizing defamatory bass.
AKG N700NC Review – Conclusion
Yes, if you are looking for something to help you sleep during your red-eye flight, then the AKG N700NC headphones are it. Design indeed has priority over comfort, but this is compensated for by the excellent ANC properties and sound quality. It remains challenging to overlook the lack of aptX support and micro-USB charging, but if one of these is more critical than low-frequency cancellation, check out the flagship headsets from Sony and Bose.
These noise-canceling headphones are a worthy opponent for Bose and Sony. The bass sound appeals to a large number of listeners, and the ANC technology can dampen almost any environment. If noise-canceling performance is your main concern, the AKG N700NC should be your on your list.
- Excellent noise canceling
- Compact design
- Ambient Aware
- Firmware updates via AKG app
- micro-USB charging
- No aptX, AAC only