The Ultimate In Luxury And Sound Quality In Wireless Headphones
Bang & Olufsen has launched in Spain the new Beoplay EQ, wireless headphones of the “True Wireless” type with which the brand intends to offer a premium alternative to the AirPods Pro. The key is that these are the company’s first headphones in offer adaptive noise cancellation (ANC), in a package that redefines the concept of “premium”.
Yes, the Beoplay EQ could be defined as “expensive”, with a price of 399 euros . To put some context, the AirPods Pro cost 279 euros, and are already considered very expensive, with alternatives that cost 100 euros less. In fact, the vast majority of alternatives to AirPods Pro cost less; What is so special about these Beoplay EQs that they belong to the minority?
For starters, the brand. And I don’t mean a simple matter of wanting to pretend. The name Bang & Olufsen has almost 100 years of history in the development of electronic devices, and especially, in sound. It is not “just any”, these headphones have a pedigree that all manufacturers would like to have. That alone, and not so much the price, should raise our expectations enormously.
Defining “premium” in headphones
The word “premium” is being worn down by the press agencies of all brands, usually when they want to say “it is the most expensive version”. It’s not until you actually grab a truly premium product that you realize the true meaning of that word.
The Beoplay EQs are premium, in the strictest sense. They’re at a level higher than any headset you’ve tried so far, in feel, materials, and design. The aluminum charging case is absurdly light and pleasant to hold; You read that correctly, the mere fact of taking this box is something that gives me pleasure, I cannot stop holding it in my hand because of its touch and the feeling it gives me.
Most of the time, I don’t think too much about the charging case; I check if it fits in my pocket and if it is easy to take out the headphones, and little else. On the other hand, the Beoplay EQ case causes me an insane obsession, for the amount of careful details.
The hinge is a good example. It is very smooth, as if the box opens on its own, and when you close it, it offers just a little more resistance just before; It is a very satisfactory process , and it shows that such a trivial detail is the consequence of a lot of work behind it. The colors chosen are also exceptional: the unit tested is a very elegant graphite black, but they are also available in the color “sand”.
The charging case is compatible with Qi wireless charging , which requires 1 hour and 50 minutes to fully charge; practically identical to the 1 hour and 40 minutes that are required with the USB-C connection.
When we open the box, we find the headphones, and the first thing I thought is how easy it is to remove them; I have come across too many cases that almost completely cover the earpiece so you have to grab them with your fingernails or in an unnatural way.
With the Beoplay EQ, the headphones are presented to you, as if they were a jewel , a ring for a unique proposition. It is surprising that B&O has achieved this design, even if it has done it at the expense of the battery a bit, which reaches 20 hours of use with ANC activated. In return, the 6.5 hours that each headset lasts is much better, although to achieve this, a larger size has been necessary.
There is no other way to put it, these headphones are very large , and this time I mean the physical size. You realize it as soon as you take it out of the box, and you confirm it when you look in the mirror; they stick out of the ears and anyone who sees you will notice them.
These headphones do not use “pistils” to pull components out of the ear, but they are not like the Jabra Elite 75t either.that were attached to the ear. In fact, I would say that the ergonomics are relatively poor, and look the worst. They are so big and heavy (8 grams each), that I miss a silicone adapter to better secure them in my ear, but to my surprise, it was not included.
They are also the first headphones that I have tried in which I have had to change the pad, because the one that came by default did not fit me well; although at least four pairs are included to choose from.
Sound you will love
Although the first impressions were bittersweet, I can confirm that, where it really matters, these Beoplay EQ are up to the task. Yes, the sound is spectacular, no matter what your favorite genre of music is.
The great strength of these headphones is their fidelity . No matter what you hear, you are not going to miss it; the bass is deep, the guitars are very well represented, and the vocals are not lost. The highs are especially well treated, although as usual, that will depend on taste; At B&O they know it, and that is why the official app includes several listening modes, which will allow us to change the style of the sound.
Instead of showing a simple equalizer, like most apps, in this one we can move a point to the features that we like the most . For example, if we want a “warm” sound, we can lower it to the point where the bass and treble are at the correct point. What I can say is that the sound of the Beoplay EQ does not disappoint, even if we ignore all that.
Although being able to change the sound as we want is a great help, I would have liked to see more options in the app, especially related to noise cancellation. Being the first model of the brand to include it, I expected more prominence, but we only have one option to activate or deactivate it.
At least the adaptive noise cancellation is up to the task, at least in the situations where I’ve been able to test them. They are better able to block repetitive sounds, while it is more difficult to cover the blows; it would have been nice to see options for different types of situations. The headphones have four omni-directional microphones to pick up sound and eliminate noise, in addition to two others dedicated exclusively to noise reduction in voice calls.
Something that I was surprised not to find in these headphones is some kind of protection against water, even if it was against sweat; therefore, they are not recommended for exercise, although, due to their size, it was unlikely that you would use them for that. At least the touch controls built into each earbud work better than we’re used to, and it has detected my touches perfectly.
Unique and special
The B&O Beoplay EQ are the most special headphones I have tried so far. In terms of build quality and design they are unmatched, and represent what many other brands want to do, but cannot. That alone should already be enough to take them into consideration, but if we add great sound quality and decent noise cancellation to that, we have more than recommended wireless headphones.
Enough to justify the 400 euros it costs? I knew you were going to ask that question, but I don’t know if I have the answer. I suspect that it will depend largely on each person; there are those who simply do not have that amount of money available to spend on headphones.
But if you have it, it would be a mistake not to take them into account , at least. This is a more exclusive product than the AirPods Pro, which appeals to a type of user who does not settle for anything; If I have described you, the Beoplay EQs are nothing short of essential. They will be available in Spain from next August 19.