AKG K311 headphones review: cheap earphones with decent sound quality

The AKG K311 headphones are an extremely cheap set of earphones. Coming in at under £15 (and probably available for less if you shop around) they are perhaps the biggest bargain we've seen in a long while.

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Of course, the very first question anybody has when encountering a set of £15 headphones is: "are they any good?" If they didn't cost £15 you'd probably go no, but at this price the answer is a more "well... they're surprisingly okay".

Saying the AKG K311 headphones are "okay" is, of course, not the same as "good". The AKG K311 headphones sport a fairly average style (they're plasticky and stick out of your ears a little too far), and they feature even more average sound quality; they don't have iPhone controls, and so on. We're having to dig for the positives in this review. Except, of course, the remarkable price: when framed inside the £15 price tag, the okay-ness of the AKG K311 headphones suddenly seems quite good.

See also: Audio reviews and Headphones

AKG K311 Headphone

AKG K311 sound quality

The most important factor of any earphones is the sound quality. It's worth noting that when we first tried out the AKG K311 we didn't know the price, and our thoughts were "oh... they're not very good are they?" But crucially we didn't think they were terrible, and in our heads we were pegging the price at about £40. When we discovered the low £15 price tag we suddenly, "actually, at that price they're not bad at all."

Having grown up with a succession of budget earphones, some of which were audible catastrophes, it's pleasing to see that such a low-price set of earphones can offer this kind of sound quality. Sure, they're not amazing: the overall sound is kind of weak, but the audio quality of the AKG K311 is crucially clear. The sound isn't muffled or overpowered by cheap bass and you can make out good treble and mid-tones.

Which at £15 is probably the most you can ask for from a set of headphones. It offers good sound quality at a great price. We certainly can't recommend a better set of headphones at this price. But we can recommend Apple's EarPods over them, which at just £25 offer iPhone controls and superior audio.

See: Apple EarPods and iPhone 5 review

The AKG K311 headphones are a good choice if you need something disposable. When going to a festival or backpacking you'll enjoy the sound without having to worry about them. If there's a high chance you're going to lose, or damage, your earphones and want to pick up the cheapest pair going then these are the ones for you. In those instances you'll be pleased about the sound quality for the price.

OUR VERDICT

At £15 it's hard to be too unkind to the AKG K311. But they're really not the best set of earphones we've heard, although they're not the worst either. And at this price they're the cheapest we've come across for a long time. We'd probably suggest going up to the Apple EarPods at £25, but for £15 this a good set of headphones if you need some that are disposable.

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