The AKG Y400 are a fun, energetic pair of on-ears, ideal for anyone on the lookout for a compact pair of headphones. The only downside is the temperamental auto-play function.
- Great audio
- Lightweight design
- Auto-play feature prone to unwanted pauses
- Review Price: £109
- Ambient Aware and TalkThru technology
- Bluetooth 5.0 and AAC codec support
- 20-hour battery life
The AKG Y400 are a pair of on-ear headphones from renowned audio brand AKG.
The Y400 are compact wireless headphones that promiser to deliver AKG’s award winning reference sound. On top of that, there’s auto-play functionality, multi-point connectivity and AKG’s Ambient Aware and TalkThru technology. But how do these fun-looking, lightweight headphones perform?
Related: Best wireless headphones
AKG Y400 build quality — A fun, lightweight design
The Y400’s design is compact and colourful. They come in a wide selection of colours, including black, blue, green, pink and rose gold, and a combination of plastic and exposed metal keeps the on-ears lightweight and portable, while the vibrant coating on all but the black model gives them a bright and playful feel.
The smooth matte plastic is nicely complemented by the exposed metal top surface on the headband. The ear cups themselves are perfectly circular, adorned with the silver AKG logo on either side.
The ear pads and headband are soft and cushioned, making them comfortable for all-day wear. The lightweight build does make the headband feel fragile on the head, and it can appear as if the headband is straining to reach either ear when worn. While they looked slightly awkward, I experienced no discomfort with the headphones stretching out, and the headband always snapped back into its original position when taken off.
When you’re done the headphones fold up easily and come with a soft carry bag to protect them from scuffs or marks.
The headphones feature a USB-C charging port and a headphone jack, as well as buttons for playback, volume and, of course, power. There’s also a button for the TalkThru and Ambient Aware modes, access to voice assistants and control over phone calls.
Related: Best Headphones
Features – A decent list of specifications with one issue
One of the main features of the AKG Y400 is the auto-play feature. The headphones can detect when you take them on and off and stop and resume tunes. The feature is generally enjoyable, making it possible to pause and continue listening without fumbling for a button or your phone.
I did notice some issues with it, though. The Y400 would often detect small shifts in head movements as me taking them off, causing the music to stop and start abruptly. Actions as small as a yawn could trigger the feature, leaving me to reach for the play button or awkwardly shift my head to get the music going again.
TalkThru and Ambient Aware are two more useful features. Ambient Aware makes you aware of your surroundings while listening to music, and TalkThru Technology reduces the volume levels coming through your headphones to amplify speech. Both features work well at moments where you need to be aware of your surroundings, such as heading to a checkout till or speaking with friends.
The same button that activates TalkThru and Ambient Aware can also be used to answer calls or to summon your voice assistant. Simply double click the button to call upon the services of Bixby or Siri (depending on your device).
The Y400 supports Bluetooth 5.0, AAC and multi-point connectivity. The latter means that you can switch between two devices by toggling the on/off button.
The headphones are packed with a 360mAh battery for 20 hours of play or talk time from a full charge, or two hours of use from a 10-minute speed charge. In testing, the headphones far outlasted their 20-hour claim, surpassing the 30-hour mark.
Related: AKG Y600NC review
AKG Y400 performance – detailed and enjoyable sound
AKG claims its Y400 headphones let their wearer appreciate all the details in their favourite songs. As promised, there’s plenty of detail to be found in Billie Eilish’s sombre Bury a Friend. The vocals are crisp and the instruments well-defined. One drawback of on-ears versus over-ears is that the bass can be less powerful. In Bury a Friend, the bass rumbles suitably below the bridge, giving the tune the eerie feel it demands.
These headphones are also capable of handling more energetic tracks. BTS’ Dynamite is dynamic and full of bounce when played through the Y400s. The treble can get a bit muddled, with the mid-range taking the centre stage. Another issue is distortion, which often comes through at higher volumes.
Minor issues aside, these headphones offer a decently balanced, detailed-packed and energetic listening experience.
Should you buy the AKG Y400?
The AKG Y400 are a solid choice for anyone looking for a fun pair of on-ear headphones. They offer great quality audio, a lightweight body, colourful design options and a decent set of features you’re sure to appreciate with day to day wear.
The play/pause automation can be hit and miss, pulling you out of the zone in response to sudden movements. Even just moving around the house I faced the occasional stutter. It’s difficult to recommend these for use on-the-go, despite how lightweight and portable they feel. However, if you’re looking for a pair to keep you entertained at work or lounging around the home, these are worth investigating.
If you’re looking for a pair of on-ears with well-balanced sound and a compact design, it might be worth looking at the Status BT One. These headphones offer a similar list of pros and cons, with a lightweight body, Bluetooth 5.0 and an even longer 30 hour battery life. The Status BT One are around £30 cheaper too, making them one of our top wireless headphones on a budget.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.