Astell & Kern's AK70 is a $600 chunk of hi-fi bliss that finally fits in a pocket

...

At more than 215 grams in weight, the striking, angular Astell & Kern AK380 and AK320 music players aren’t really made for your pocket. So what to do when you want that sound quality and epic build, without the strain on your pants? How about the AK70, the latest music player from the cult audio brand that sheds the size and weight, but keeps the sound and funky design.

Launched in late June, the AK70 costs $600 yet packs in much of the same technology as the $900 AK100II, all inside a considerably smaller and more compact body. While not as sliver thin, it recalls the wonderful compactness and usability of the 5th generation Apple iPod Nano — everything you could want wrapped in a super cool, hand-friendly shape. Despite the squared-off edges and shoulders, the AK70 feels great in the hand. The metal body is cool and smooth to the touch, while the glass back panel adds class.

The unit sports Astell & Kern’s trademark oversized volume control on the side, perfectly placed for tweaking with your thumb. Alternatively, the touchscreen can also adjust the volume level. Like all Astell & Kern players, the AK70 uses Google’s Android operating system, although it’s unrecognizable underneath the company’s own user interface. Some familiar aspects are there, such as a swipe down notification shade to toggle often used features, or to adjust the screen brightness.

This is important, because the AK70 has a glorious AMOLED touchscreen on the front, and its brightness is immediately obvious. Android may be installed, but there’s no access to the Google Play Store, so the AMOLED screen’s talents are restricted to displaying album cover art. Under the display is a single touch sensitive home button, plus there are hardware music control buttons on the side of the player itself.

Sadly, the model we handled was a pre-production unit and not able to play any music. However, the AK70 uses the same Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC as the AK100II, and supports all the major hi-res music files including WAV, FLAC, and AIFF. In addition, unlike Astell & Kern’s other miniature player, the AK Jr, there’s a balanced output alongside the headphone output, making it more desirable to use as a home audio source. The player also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Inside the AK70 is a total of 64GB storage, plus a MicroSD card slot to add another 200GB of space.

Related: We review Astell & Kern’s last mini player, the AK Jr

We love the bigger, chunkier Astell & Kern players, but the AK70 just begs to be connected to a set of lightweight cans or in-ears, slipped into a pocket, and used when out and about. That pocket will need to be deep to spring for the AK70, but considerably less so than for Astell & Kern’s flagship models.

Categories
APPLICATIONS
0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


RELATED BY

  • 5300c769af79e

    Here's How the Samsung Galaxy S7 Tops the Pixel, iPhone

    Samsung's Note 7 situation may be an omnishambles, but its amazing Galaxy S7 line keeps getting better.) "Between -110dBm and -114dBm, where most devices typically begin to struggle, the Galaxy S7 Edge managed to achieve over 100Mbps.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Motorola Announces the Moto Z Play, the Affordable Z Family Member

    The newest member of the Moto Z family is now official as the Moto Z Play.The Moto Z Play arrives at Verizon on September 8 for $17 per month with a device payment plan or $408 full retail.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Get Smart With Stacey: Which Home Hub Should You Buy?

    The smart home is gaining ground, but it's still a muddle of confusing standards, competing platforms, and gadgets that don't do what you might expect.If you have smart home questions you'd like me to answer, send an email to [email protected]
  • 5300c769af79e

    Best Practices for PCI DSS Compliance with Opengear Products

    Download This asset is brought to you by:The information submitted is collected by both UBM and our sponsor.Click here to view our sponsor's privacy policy.