True wireless earphones with solid noise cancellation from Bang & Olufsen, but the price is quite high.
Sound quality and style are equally important to Bang & Olufsen’s audio products. True wireless earphones from Beoplay combine strong, accurate sound with excellent noise cancellation in an exceptional design. Furthermore, they offer a Qi-compatible charging case and a companion app with useful features, though we wish they were able to support track navigation from the on-ear controls. It is certainly more expensive than the WF-1000XM4 earphones, a top noise-canceling model from Sony that retails for $279.99. However, you won’t be disappointed with their audio quality if you like their luxurious looks and design.
High-end Design, Limited Controls
You can pick from black, blue, sand, or a limited-edition lavender color called Nordic Ice for an extra $20. It’s a little chunky with rubberized earpieces and aluminum outer panels with a Bang & Olufsen logo, but they’re very comfortable (and they feel light).
In addition to four silicone ear tips in different sizes, the earphones come with one pair of Comply foam ear tips, which provide a more precise fit and passive noise reduction, and improved bass response, according to some users.
6.8mm dynamic drivers have an internal impedance of 17 ohms, delivering a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz. Moreover, it supports AAC, AptX Adaptive, and SBC codecs and is compatible with Bluetooth 5.2. The Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Technics EAH-AZ60, both compatible with the high-end LDAC codec, are absent from this list.
Touch-sensitive controls are available on the outer surfaces of the earpieces. Playback and call management are controlled by double-pressing the right earpiece’s outer panels, while switching between ANC modes is done by double-pressing the left earpiece. You can adjust the volume by double-pressing the panel. While on a phone call, you can change the audio mode using the left earpiece when you double-press it.
A surprising limitation is that you cannot switch between tracks via on-ear controls. Another disappointment of the app is that the controls can’t be customized. It is true that many competition models also take this route, but we would have appreciated the option to swap out one of the existing navigation features for track navigation controls.
Aluminum case with a two-tone finish that comes in a rough pill shape. The charging docks can be accessed by flipping up a lid – a status LED sits on the front panel, while a USB-C port on the rear panel offers the option of charging via the included USB-C-to-USB-A cable. The case also supports qi wireless charging. Despite the spacious interior, it’s easy to locate the earpieces on the wrong side of the dock, but the lid will not fully close if you do.
IP54 ratings may seem lofty, but they reflect how water-resistant the earpieces are, so you shouldn’t submerge them or clean them under running water. If you need fully waterproof earphones with ANC, you might be interested in the $199.99 Jabra Elite 7 Pro, which has a higher IP57 rating. The $350 Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport earphones also come with IP57 ratings; however, they do not have active noise canceling feature.
It is estimated by Bang & Olufsen that the earpieces can be used for up to 6.5 hours with ANC or 7.5 hours without, while the charging case can last for about 13 hours. As a matter of fact, how close you can get to that estimate will depend on the volume levels.
EQ Features and Apps
Through the Bang & Olufsen app (available for Android and iOS), it is easy to operate and has a graceful design. You can manage playback, track navigation, and volume on the earphones, as well as toggle between ANC, Transparency, and Off modes. ANC and Transparency modes can be adjusted using the in-app fader.
You can adjust the sound signature according to your tastes in the app’s adjustable EQ. While its design is pretty, we found it a little irritating-if you want to adjust the treble or bass, you have to drag your finger toward bright or warm. Rather than using five-band EQs that are easier to tweak, Bang & Olufsen should put a little more care into that section of the app.