The AKG Y100 is a comfortable pair of wireless earbuds with a respectable battery life and audio that does not fail to impress. It’s also got plenty of convenient features, foremost of which is Multi-point Connectivity.
However, the Y100 does not offer any degree of water of sweat resistance, so those who need a pair of good-sounding earbuds for the gym should look elsewhere.
AKG has garnered a dedicated following over the years and now all of their products are expected to meet a high standard of quality. So what happens when they release a $100 pair of wireless earbuds like the AKG Y100?
Well, they sound really damn good, we can say that right from the get-go.
But just because the sound quality of the Y100 meets the high AKG standard, doesn’t mean that everything else about the earbuds meets the same criteria.
Many people buy earbuds for many different reasons – music listening, multimedia enjoyment, exercising, audiobook listening, commuting, etc. The Y100 isn’t suited for all of these activities.
|Type||Wireless earbuds (IEM)|
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20 kHz|
|Max input power||6MW|
The design of the AKG Y100 is rather simple – you’ve got the round black housings for the drivers and the ear tips. The device comes with three different sized pairs of tips and it is imperative that you find the proper fit for your ears as everything else depends on this, from comfort to sound isolation and bass.
Provided that you find the right fit, the Y100 is quite comfortable and can be worn for hours on end. If you find that the stock pairs don’t do it for you, you could always get an aftermarket pair of ear tips.
The only thing that separates the Y100 from all the other round and simple earbuds is the AKG logo on the back of the buds. The Y100 is available in four colors – black, blue, green and red. The AKG logo and the in-line controls and in-line battery housing are the only parts that are colored in; everything else is black by default. As these aren’t true wireless earbuds, you will still have to contend with the cable connecting the two buds.
The Y100 is not a pair of earbuds designed for exercising. First of all, these earbuds are neither water nor sweat resistant. This second point is the one you should really look out for. If you’re doing your exercises correctly, you are bound to start sweating, which over time can destroy the Y100.
Even if this weren’t a problem, however, the device would still be unfit for use during exercises because of the cable. While short, the cable is rather heavy thanks to the battery housing and it will repeatedly hit your neck or clavicle while you’re running.
This last point may just be a result of true wireless earbuds spoiling us with convenient charging (and carrying) cases, but there is no great way to store the Y100.
Sure, the earbuds come with a carrying pouch, but all it’s good for is ensuring that the buds don’t get entangled on other things. We should mention though that the earbud housings feature magnets, so you could stick the two earbuds together and wear them like a necklace; it’s a rather cool and convenient feature if you don’t mind transporting the buds that way.
Even if a pair of wireless earbuds has everything else going for it, it can be forever ruined by a poor battery life. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the AKG Y100, which comes with a respectable 8 hours of battery life. This isn’t even close to being the longest battery life of a single charge, but it’s enough to give the Y100 a passing grade without thinking twice about it.
Also, the buds use a standard micro USB cable for charging, which is always a plus.
The 120mAh lithium polymer battery takes 2 hours to charge from zero to full, and it also features fast-charging, which will net you 1.5 hours of playback after just 15 minutes of charging. Naturally, the battery will deplete faster if you’re constantly blasting your music at 100% volume, but you really shouldn’t be doing this if you value your sense of hearing.
Once it’s connected, you can do a lot with the Y100 without having to take out your phone thanks to the three-button in-line controls. These can be a bit finicky at times, especially when you are required to issue a command using a long press, but everything from controlling playback to taking calls is at your disposal. For more complex commands, you can use the in-line controls to summon a virtual assistant.
The in-line control unit also houses a microphone that’s used for both taking calls and issuing voice commands to the virtual assistant. As far as in-line microphones go, this one is fairly good, although it is omnidirectional. What this means is that your voice will get through rather intelligibly, but it will also be accompanied by all the background noise surrounding you.
The Y100 features an ambient aware mode which is used to give you a better sense of your surroundings without having to take the buds out. This is how the feature is supposed to work in theory. In practice, you will be able to discern noises with the ambient aware feature turned on, but they will not be intelligible.
So, if you’re just waiting for the doorbell to ring, this feature is useful, but if you need to understand something that is being said, you’d be better off taking out one bud.
Lastly, we’re happy to see that the AKG Y100 supports Multi-point Connectivity. Connecting to two devices at the same time is a breeze and switching between them is simple. What’s more, should you receive a call on your smartphone while you are connected to and using another device, the smartphone will get priority and you will be able to answer the call using the in-line controls.
The AKG Y100 uses Bluetooth 4.2. This isn’t the best or the latest iteration of Bluetooth, but it gives the earbuds a solid foundation to stand on, with good stability and a decent range. This is important because, without signal stability, it doesn’t matter how good the drivers are. In this case, the drivers accomplished more than we were expecting, given the price.
There’s no weak link when it comes to the frequency range. The mids are clear and they make the vocals stand out. But the bass is also rather powerful, provided you form a proper seal. It’s a bit on the thin side, but hard-hitting nonetheless. The highs don’t cause as much ear fatigue as you’d expect, although they do grow more sibilant as you increase the volume.
Unfortunately, the cable noise can be annoying as it picks up interference when it comes into contact with clothes, which can be hard to prevent at times.
Overall, it’s impressive what AKG has managed to do with two 9.2mm drivers working off of a wireless signal.
To sum up, the AKG Y100 offers an above-average listening experience for the price. The 8-hour battery life isn’t jaw-dropping, but it certainly meets satisfactory criteria. Its balanced sound holds up in a variety of genres and it can be used for gaming and movies just as well.
So, if audio quality is first and foremost on your list of priorities, the Y100 is a solid choice. However, if audio quality isn’t the only impetus guiding your decision to buy earbuds, you can do better. If you need a pair of earbuds for working out, you need to make sure they are at least sweat-proof.
Also, if portability is your main concern, at $100 you can select from a variety of true wireless earbuds which likely offer a longer battery life and a completely chord-free experience.