My hope as soon as I caught the $300 Beoplay E8s into my ears for the principle time used to be that they’d right now stand out as the most attention-grabbing for sure wi-fi earbuds I’d ever tried. For that form of cash, and with B&O Play’s stable repute, why shouldn’t they? At smartly over $a hundred better than Apple’s AirPods, earbuds which might per chance maybe be this expensive might per chance well most certainly quiet ace the entire serious requirements for this quiet-contemporary category. They might per chance well most certainly quiet possess a superior, cushy match with out any wretchedness of coming free. They might per chance well most certainly quiet sound cushy. They might per chance well most certainly quiet offer stable battery life and a legitimate connection between the left and upright buds. Above all else, they might per chance well quiet sigh that sense of machine magic that comes from taking note of earphones with no connecting wire in between them. No longer every person has an iPhone; tons of oldsters quiet haven’t experienced that wow part.
Unfortunately, the Beoplay E8 earbuds don’t take a look at off every field. They’ve acquired the most attention-grabbing match and seal I’ve ever experienced, but that might per chance well fluctuate particular person to particular person. They sigh subtle, refined sound, and they’re at par with the opponents in terms of battery life. But intermittent dropouts within the left earbud and varied playback bugs had been adequate for me to within the kill return the pair I’d bought.
In that respect, even the $300 E8s quiet in actuality feel cherish early, no longer-barely-there for sure wi-fi earbuds and attain with the pitfalls shared by the remainder of the opponents. I’ve tried a entire lot of of these now, from the Bose SoundSport Free to Sony’s noise-cancelling buds, and none excluding for the AirPods can provide a listening skills that’s fully free of interruptions. It’s a disgrace, because in all locations else, the B&O Play E8 earbuds are so end to what I need.
My current thing about the E8s would be how low-profile and inconspicuous they’re internal your ears. You don’t procure that tinge of self-doubt that might per chance well attain with carrying AirPods in public for the principle time; even Bose’s for sure wi-fi buds stick out to the level of being right now noticeable. Bragi, Samsung, and now B&O Play possess completed the most attention-grabbing at following the theorem that these products might per chance well most certainly quiet resemble traditional earbuds in both survey and in actuality feel.
The earbuds themselves possess a premium murder that B&O Play says is sweat-resistant. I haven’t considered any agreeable rating to motivate that up (IPX4 is the weird and wonderful for earbuds), but the Beoplay E8s are a smartly-crafted combine of aluminum, rubber, and plastic, and there don’t seem to be any bodily buttons on either bud. There moral aren’t many parts for water or sweat to seep into.
Four sizes of silicone ear pointers attain with the E8s, but I right now most traditional the moreover-included Comply foam pointers, as they offer improbable noise isolation whenever you roll the ends with your fingers and stick them into your ears. You might per chance hear exterior noise fading away as they lengthen to assemble a tight seal for your ear canal. When I aged either the Comply foam or the medium-sized silicone pointers, the E8s fully stayed assign and by no methodology budged. That being stated, my colleague Dan Seifert had a in actuality sophisticated time discovering a superior match, so as with any in-ear headphone, your skills might per chance well most certainly fluctuate.
The earbuds are magnetically (and in actuality firmly) held in a leather, clamshell-fashion case. The case is barely little and in actuality pocketable, and its hinge by no methodology flipped delivery unintentionally. But B&O Play loses parts for the usage of MicroUSB to charge it up. At this stage, and for this form of excessive-cease product, I’d possess expected to thought USB Variety-C as with the most contemporary Beoplay over-ear items. The braided wire that hangs off the case is a edifying contact. You might per chance either rush some fingers by it for a stable grip, or wrap the wire around the case itself whenever you happen to’re unnerved about it opening in a jog back and forth obtain.
The case offers two further costs on top of the E8s’ weird and wonderful four-hour working time for a entire of 12 hours. Four hours would be disappointing whenever you happen to’re repeatedly taking note of tune on the office and don’t must address a mid-plan charge, but it’s mainly par for the route, if a itsy-bitsy bit bit lower than the AirPods’ stamina. Three little LEDs on the case point out battery station; the one internal flips from yellow to inexperienced when the earbuds are completed charging and the two around motivate flip stable when the case is entirely topped off.
That B&O logo dwelling on each and each earbud is where your index finger will be reaching to utilize the faucet-based entirely gestures for controlling tune or triggering the Transparency Mode when it be well-known to listen to the exterior world. B&O Play calls these gestures “straightforward,” but they positively absorb some getting aged to. Here’s the reference e-book for them:
I will cherish the extent of flexibility you procure with this plan; there’s no longer indispensable you can’t attain whenever you happen to endure in strategies the upright gesture. And likewise you furthermore mght can faucet evenly with out uncomfortably shoving the earbuds into your ear at any time when. But barely just a few these instructions aren’t the most glaring (i.e. three faucets for invoking Siri or Google Assistant) and also will be counterintuitive. Except your faucet-and-retain transfer is supreme, these answer/reject call gestures might per chance well most certainly with out teach procure blended up and result in you selecting up calls you intended to lead clear of, which took place a couple cases in my testing.
Luxuriate in varied for sure wi-fi earbuds, the E8s flip on right now when eliminated from their case. To position them in pairing mode, you retain a finger to each and each earbud for five seconds. B&O Play’s accompanying app enables you to customise EQ settings and assign these personalized customizations, but I most traditional the default mode and seldom found any must alter the sound. The B&O Play app moreover handles firmware updates for the earbuds, and updating the brains of your for sure wi-fi buds will be barely anxious. For one, the approach takes an unbelievably lengthy time — upwards of 15 minutes. And to murder things worse, it took a entire lot of makes an try to change the buds the principle time I did it.
But after you’ve dealt with pairing and loading up the most contemporary firmware and discovering out your faucets and swipes comes the largest fragment: the listening. B&O Play says the Beoplay E8s had been tuned by Bang & Olufsen’s audio engineers for “an genuine and highly fantastic skills” and “sound which is as natural as seemingly.” But I wouldn’t portray the output from these earbuds as flat, which is what you can request from “natural.” The 5.7mm dynamic driver in each and each earbud produces balanced, active, and warm audio with a huge soundstage. Bass, assuming you’ve found the upright seal / match, is entirely contemporary and a step above the AirPods, even supposing B&O Play can’t barely match the low-cease performance of Bose’s SoundSport Free. The highs steer clear of being shrill or fatiguing.
Across genres, I’d portray the performance from the Beoplay E8 earbuds as crisp, sculpted, and enveloping. And if the out-of-field tuning isn’t to your liking, you furthermore mght can push the E8s to sound “angry,” “warm,” “relaxed,” or “intellectual” by the equalizer within the app. These aren’t on the extent of audiophile-grade reference headphones; I don’t mediate any for sure wi-fi buds are in that category. But as soon as I hear to them, I in actuality feel contented for the (comparatively excessive) mark.
Even higher, there’s no noticeable audio lengthen when gazing movies for your mobile phone or PC. Completely different headphones, akin to the Bose SoundSport Free mentioned earlier, are with reference to unusable for gazing a YouTube clip for your shuttle, but these are supreme for the job. Though the E8s join to your mobile phone over Blueooth, the connection between the buds is handled by a skills called End to Discipline Magnetic Induction (NFMI), which seemingly contributes to the dearth of lengthen. NFMI is aged in some listening to aids (and Bragi’s earbuds), and it creates “a magnetic self-discipline around your head” that hurries up signal transfer between the left (slave) and upright (master) earbud’s sound “with out any lack of high quality or tumble-offs.”
Affirm is, there are dropouts, whether you’re moral taking note of tune or gazing video. Once in some time they’re infrequent, but in varied cases the left earbud is tormented by intermittent, split-2d interruptions. (The upright earbud nearly by no methodology lost connectivity in my skills.) If these transient dropouts had been rare, maybe I might per chance well most certainly fail to see them. But they’re no longer. $300 earbuds moral can’t be this finicky.
It’s the randomness and unpredictability that for sure mar the skills. Once in some time the left earbud will throw a match as soon as I’m strolling down a avenue on study how to our office, simplest to behave completely on that very same block just a few hours later. On the treadmill or sitting at a espresso shop, the E8s by no methodology misbehaved. But no one’s procuring earbuds strictly for indoor use, and there’s no plot to know what’s going to happen whenever you project outside.
One other queer self-discipline is that every so typically the majority of the tune steadiness will shift from the heart over to the left earbud. The upright one continues playing, but it’s very obvious that the combine has been wildy thrown off. The most effective approach I discovered of fixing this used to be toggling off Bluetooth and reconnecting, or inserting the earbuds motivate within the case to end them off.
The “transparency mode,” which pumps in exterior audio the usage of the constructed-in microphone, is marginally adequate if it be well-known to mumble something at Starbucks, hear nearby conversations at work, or possess a sense of your environment when working exterior. You might per chance take to listen to simplest exterior noise or you furthermore mght can enable a determined level of tune to be jumbled in with it. Issues sound tinny, but it gets the job completed if it be well-known to absorb designate to your ambiance. Phone calls with the E8s sound superior, and other folks I spoke to didn’t possess any complaints about my cease of the conversation.
But the dropouts are adequate to teach these positives.
Whilst you’re paying $300 for for sure wi-fi earbuds, I mediate the goalposts transfer vastly relative to AirPods or the a mountainous sequence of selections that sell for under $200. At this mark level, intermittent dropouts (on the opposite hand rapid) are inexcusable. Playback possess to be flawless. B&O Play isn’t by myself in missing perfection; with the exception of AirPods (which don’t match me), I quiet haven’t found it within the hot lineup of what’s accessible.
B&O Play acquired barely just a few things upright: the E8s survey big, they attain with a snazzy, compact case, and sigh on sound high quality. But whenever you happen to unsuitable expectations off of faded, relatively grief-free Bluetooth headphones and earbuds, you are going to be pissed off by the dropouts. B&O Play acquired before itself in making an try to enter the for sure wi-fi earbud market with a excessive-cease, expensive product. The skills moral wasn’t there but in 2017, but things are quiet simplest getting started within the hunt for the supreme for sure wi-fi earbuds.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge