With players such as Bang and Olufsen, Sony, Bose, Samsung and Jabra, it’s no surprise that wireless earbud headphones are here and multiplying every day. But we would say there has been a marked increase in the number since the Apple Airpods made its entry into the wireless scene. Currently we’ve got our hands on the Bose SoundSport Free, the Samsung Gear Icon X, Sony’s WF-1000X and the B&O Beoplay E8 to play with.
I called dibs on the B&Os, because, well Bang and Olufsen. Straight out of a pretty black box come these gorgeous-looking ear buds and a portly yet sleekly built carry/charging case. As you can probably already see, I really the E8s a lot and they haven’t even seen the inside of my ear canals yet.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8: Design and build
With B&O, aesthetics are always a given, so straight out the box, these earbuds are sleek. While it may feel similar in design to a host of other buds in the market, these just have that luxury feel to them. Even the carry case is zeppelin-like, but still kinda sleek.
The buds are emblazoned with the B&O logo on the sides, making them stand out. They are also smaller in size than other models I’ve seen. The reason I called these in-ear luxury is because that’s what it feels like once you’ve got them on. They fit snugly just outside your ear canal. Also included are different tips and plugs for various ear sizes to help you find the right fit. Mine were comfortable straight out the box, so I didn’t bother trying the others at all. While it may seem all plastic and foam or rubber tips, there’s a bit of aluminium in the mix, adding shine and make it nicer to handle in your hands as well.
As I said earlier, the case deserves some recognition as well. Design-wise, it’s very B&O and houses the buds comfortably in a leather casing. The earbuds snap into place in their designated slots with ease and charge when not used. While the buds have up to four hours of battery life themselves, the charging case adds another eight hours, bringing it to 12 hours of total play time. While this may seem like a lot, there are better performances from Bose or some other crowdfunded brands.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8: Features and Usage
These good-looking earbuds aren’t all show. They also pack some serious technology inside their tiny bodies. And although these are splash and dust resistant, they’re not meant for the sports enthusiast. Lucky me. These are more for commuters and easy listening while working or watching something on a compatible device. As with most earphones of this category, the Beoplay E8s also connect to a paired device via Bluetooth straight out of the case.
There are some wireless earphones out there that rely on swipe gestures to adjust volume and switch between tracks and manage calls, but I’ve always preferred a good solid click of a button letting me know I’ve achieved the necessary function as desired. The E8s deliver this much to my satisfaction. It uses touch-sensitive pads behind the logo to perform various functions.
Tapping the right one once plays or pauses a track or answers your call. Hitting the button twice skips the track while the same on the left bud goes back a track. Volume is easily adjusted by long-pressing either bud to increase or decrease as required.
Tapping the left bud once activates the Transparency feature, which lets you listen to the outside world. This can be further fine-tuned via the Beoplay app that’s available via the Apple and Android App Stores. While we’re on the apps features, lots of adjustments can be made via the same. You can also toggle between various preset balances and sound stages to suit your need and type of music.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8: The Mainstage
Once you pop these in your ear and start playing your tunes, there’s immediately a smile plastered on your face as it floats around inside your head. Now while, quality isn’t as stellar as compared to the Bose or even the Sony, you are not going to be disappointed at all with these ear buds.
The main audio of the E8s is quite full and rich in itself. It does very well for itself in the mids and trebles as well. When listening to the original soundtrack for Stranger Things 2, I could hear all these subtle tones and snares that weren’t noticeable while watching the show. When I initially used the E8s ahead of downloading the app, the bass delivered by the earphones was still considerable.
Once I figured out how to use the equaliser in the app and select the right sound for me based on what I was listening to, my experience immediately became a whole lot better. I played some Ratatat and Max Cooper for variety between high trumpets and low bass and was equally rewarded with both kinds of sounds.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8: Verdict
To be fair, these earphones are a bit on the pricey side and would definitely get most users to pause before picking them up over competition. But once they try them and get a general feel of these minute powerhouses, they’re sure to become an indispensable part of your everyday carry.
The controls are easy and pretty intuitive to use. It connects easily straight out of the box. While there are a few connectivity issues as with most true wireless earbuds, they are quickly rectified and one can continue with their audio experience.
Note that these aren’t an audiophiles dream pair of wireless buds, something we’re actually very far away from. However, they still do a very good job of keeping the listener more than happy. I’ve got a couple of opinions from a few other users, and in general I’ve received a very positive response.
All in all, the Bang and Olufsen Beoplay E8 is a stellar pair of earbuds that feels very comfortable in your ears and delivers the sound you need while you go about your day to day. While it may not be your companion in the gym, it can keep you company everywhere else. I would recommend these to serious buyers, keeping in mind its hefty price tag.