12 December 2016
Stylish & luxurious on-ear design
Inspired by Nordic nature
Light weight design
Colours : Argilla Bright, Gray Hazel, Natural, Black
Compatible with iOS, Android & Windows
Earcup touch controls
Intuitive touch interface
Take hands free calls
Bluetooth 4.2 · aptX · AAC · Headset Profile (HSP) · Hands Free Profile (HFP) · Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) · Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), 3.5 mm mini-jack
Replaceable and rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, Up to 14 hours with Bluetooth and ANC, Up to 16 hours with Bluetooth, Up to 35 hours with ANC, Charging time 3 hours
180 x 190 x 40 mm
Dynamic 40 · mm diameter speaker, 20 Hz to 22,000 Hz,
Active Noise Cancellation
Luxurious leather ages beautifully
Light weight design
Memory Foam earpads
covered in soft lambskin
Good noise cancellation
Stylish, sturdy design
Replacable rechargable battery
Slight interference when walking
A look at Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay H8 Wireless on-ear headphones, Bang & Olufsen claim they are their best yet…. let’s see
When it comes to Bang & Olufsen you expect not just a level of style but also class and their headphones are no different. If you read our review of the BeoPlay H7 headphones you know Bang & Olufsen have mastered a luxurious headphone design that looks fantastic and the BeoPlay H8 Wireless are just as impressive, if not more. Inspired by Nordic nature the BeoPlay H8 Wireless on-ear headphones radiate luxury and class, from the premium materials used like high-end leather, soft lambskin and anodised aluminium, the H8’s not only look great but also feel fantastic. Bang & Olufsen have gone from an almost minimalist design with visible hinges, there is no clunky plastic cover like you see on competing headphones and this design, to me, emanates class and give the BeoPLay H8 Wireless a more premium level look. This design choice also helps the H8 Wireless remain light weight making them very comfortable to wear and also perfect for wearing around your neck when you’re not listening to music, the ultimate headphone fashion statement. The BeoPlay H8 Wireless headphones are immediately recognisable as Bang & Olufsen, even from a distance and thanks to this iconic design Bang & Olufsen have kept the branding to a minimum with just a small B&O etched on the aluminium earcups, no bold colours which again adds to the premium look and feel. With choices of Argilla Bright, Gray Hazel, Natural and Black you will find a colour that suits your style, however if you are looking for bold colours you need to look elsewhere. The design is one of BeoPlay H8’s best features and matches the high price tag, though you would expect an impressive looking headset at this price point.
Ease of Use
Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay H8 Wireless are compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices, however certain features are specific to the device you are connected to like AptX connectivity which is only available with Android devices currently and aims to improve sound quality on Bluetooth devices. You can also download the BeoPlay app to your mobile device to connect with your headphones, which now offers some additional services like podcasts of Bang & Olufsen’s featured playlists. A benefit of wireless headphones is the freedom to move about with ease while listening to your music and while this is true of the BeoPlay H8 Wireless headphones you will find that you can hear a slight ‘thud’ with each step, and you don’t have to be heavy footed for this to happen. This is a slightly annoying issue, not a show stopper but annoying, and you will find yourself almost stepping in time as you listen to music, maybe Bang & Olufsen want you to feel the beat as you walk. The BeoPlay H8 Wireless have earcup touch controls with an intuitive touch interface that allows you to take hands free calls, skip through music, pause or adjust the volume without having to reach for your mobile device. With no actual buttons the controls are indicated by little notches on the earcup, initially they are fiddly to find but after some teething problems and a little usage you get used to where the controls are and the actions become second nature.
BeoPlay H8 Wireless use Bluetooth 4.2 to connect with your mobile device so you can listen to your music wirelessly. If you have an Android device it is compatible with AptX connectivity for improved sound quality while listening wirelessly. If you want to connect directly with the music device or when you run out of battery there is a 3.5 mm mini-jack connector on the left earcup where you can connect the cable.
Another key feature of the BeoPlay H8 Wireless headphones is the replaceable and rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which Bang & Olufsen boast lasts up to 14 hours with Bluetooth and ANC, up to 16 hours with Bluetooth or up to 35 hours with ANC. This battery life claim is actually quite accurate and impressive for wireless headphones with noise cancellation capabilities, however when the battery does run out you don’t just get a simple beep in your ear like other wireless headphones, but rather an annoying crackling and some interference, not a great transition but you definitely know when the battery has run out. When this does happen the charging time is a mere 3 hours which is not too bad, but if you get caught you can also connect directly with your device via the connecting cable and listen like a standard headset. Not only is the battery life impressive, the fact that the battery is also replaceable shows Bang & Olufsen want you to have the headphones for life, when the battery quality fades just replace it and you can enjoy a renewed battery life and continue enjoying your H8’s wirelessly.
Weighing a mere 255 g the BeoPlay H8 Wireless headphones are surprisingly light for a wireless headset making them very comfortable to wear and also easy to carry about on your neck or in your bag when not in use. Bang & Olufsen provide a carrying pouch with the headphones to protect while stored away or being carried in a bag.
Bang & Olufsen have packed the BeoPlay H8 Wireless with a dynamic 40 mm drivers and covers 20 Hz to 22,000 Hz. In the past some BeoPlay headphones have missed the mark a little however this time the H8 Wireless has come up trumps. With a well rounded, clear, crisp and full bodied sound the BeoPlay H8 Wireless are a joy to listen to and suit all genre’s of music. The highs are crisp and not pitchy at all, the bass is powerful and deep and the mids hold their own with full, clear sound allowing you to hear every vocal amongst the accompanying music. That said it’s not the best audio quality on the market, even with it’s high price tag the BeoPlay H8 Wireless do not beat Sennheiser in wireless sound quality. Some have reported the bass is a little too much and falls flat at times, however I did not experience this issue and I like a little extra bass, it is powerful but not overpowering, however if this is something you have had an issue with in the past you should take a test drive in the shop before buying. When listening to music with a wired connection the sound quality is a tad more refined however it is minimal, the H8’s have superb audio for a wireless headset. I think the BeoPlay H8 Wireless are amongst the best sound quality on the market, rich, full bodied, clear and well rounded.
A key feature of the BeoPlay H8 Wireless is Active Noise Cancellation, with the flick of a switch you can turn this feature on to block out external noises. The ANC works very well, blocking out most external noises but not completely, you will still hear the hum of a loud train engine a little or a very busy main street but the sound is very muffled and most of the time is not noticeable while listening to music. As the ANC does not completely block out external noises you do not get that annoying suction feel you get with some noise cancelling over-ear headphones, an easy trade off and a good balance by Bang & Olufsen.
Bang & Olufsen have used premium materials like anodised aluminium and luxurious leather which are not only impressive looking but high quality meaning they age beautifully. While the case provided is not hard, just a soft pouch, the premium materials are sturdy and the pouch provides protection against scratches…… though over the years the odd scratch will add a little character to your headset.
The BeoPlay H8 Wireless are light weight in design making them comfortable to wear for hours on end and to carry around your neck for hours. The headband tension is quite light compared to other wireless headsets which means they feel comfortable immediately with no pinching on your ears, but it also means they are not suitable for jogging…… and given that ‘thud’ you get when walking about it’s probably for the best. The memory foam earpads covered in soft lambskin add that extra comfort level, meaning the BeoPlay H8 Wireless on-ear headphones feel as high quality as they look.