The AKG K490-NC are decent-sounding but mediocre noise cancelling headphones. They feel comfortable, for an "on ear" design, but the many potentially weak joints lessen their build quality. They leak very little sound but do not cancel ambient noise effectively.
- Lightweight build.
- Comfortable "On Ear" design.
- Decent sound quality.
- Many potentially weak joints.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Significant lack of bass.
The K490s have a simple and clear design but suffer from build quality and functionality issues. The thin headband and many potential weak points make the K490s prone to breaking. They have no in-line control options either, which is disappointing. However, they are relatively comfortable for an "on ear" design.
The K490s 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.
Lightweight and comfortable, considering they are on-ear headphones.
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.
The AKG 490 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.
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.
The K490-NC have a decent audio reproduction. Instruments and vocals sound good but lack a little clarity at times. Bass is also a little underemphasized which gives these headphones a little bit of a boxy sound. On the upside, they have no noticeable harmonic distortion.
These headphones lack quite a bit in the low-bass and bass regions, which are responsible kick drums, low-frequency effects, and bass instruments.
Very good results overall. The low-mids are very slightly over-emphasized, but the dips in the mid and high-mids are more remarkable. The dip at 1KHz can affect the body and forwardness of vocals and lead instruments. The dip at 2.5KHz mostly affects the clarity and intelligibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Decent performance. The main problem here is the dip in treble, starting just before 5KHz and continuing up to 10KHz. This will have a noticeable effect on the brightness, presence and sibilance of all material, especially vocals and cymbals.
Excellent distortion results. At 100 dB SPL there's a rise in THD in the 1KHz-4KHz region, but not much of one.
The K490s are not going to isolate you very well. The noise canceling is sub-par at best but will at least keep sharp ambient noise at bay. They shouldn't be your first choice for noisy commutes or traveling. The seal provided by the ear cups, on the other hand, are decent for an "on ear" design and leak very little sound.
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.
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.
Surprisingly, the AKG K490 has a rechargeable battery that lasts as long as some of the headphones that use disposable AAA cells. Granted they only have noise canceling as an active feature, which makes them less versatile for other use cases than noise canceling headphones, lacking both wireless or an app, to enhance and customize sound. However, at 46 hours of battery life, they will easily last a weekend without needing a recharge.
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.
No compatible app.
In the box
- AKG K490NC Headphones
- Flight adapter
- Audio cable
- USB cable
- Carrying pouch
- AKG warranty card