Danish consumer tech marque Bang & Olufsen is well known for its eye-popping designs, high-end sound and visuals, and the rather large price tags that accompany most of its products. Yesterday, the company unveiled a stunning TV in partnership with LG. And today it's the turn of B&O's first truly wireless earphones to make a bid for freedom.
Cables have a nasty habit of getting caught on clothing or door handles, or even commuter backpack straps, which makes truly wireless earphones a compelling choice. That said, dangling wires do offer a "safety net" for accidental pop-outs while on the move.
But we've been using truly wireless earphones for a while now and have not yet had to watch an escaped earphone rolling under the wheels of oncoming traffic or under refrigeration units in supermarkets. That's mainly due to using Comply foam tips for a comfortable and secure fit. Happily, the E8s come supplied with a set of medium Comply tips, as well as four sizes of silicone tips.
As you might expect of a B&O release, the Beoplay E8 wireless earphones have a premium look and feel, and promise best-in-class sound to match the design. The 5.7 mm dynamic drivers have been tuned by the company's acclaimed sound engineers for "a rich, full-bodied and precise soundstage," and the earphones rock Bluetooth 4.2 for pairing with a music source and NFMI technology for communicating between earphones.
"When designing earphones, you want to strike the perfect balance between size, ergonomics and sound quality," said B&O's Libor Matus. "The more features you include in an earphone, the less space you have for components that are crucial for the reproduction of sound. With iteration after iteration, we continuously molded the space in Beoplay E8 to integrate components that deliver the best sound quality. Combined Digital Sound Processing capabilities with more than 90 years of experience in sound tuning, and you a get a soundstage that is superior in the true wireless category."
The right (master) unit tips the scales at a featherweight 7 g (0.25 oz), while the left (slave) unit is lighter at 6 g, the E8s are reported splash and dust resistant and support a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Playback control and call taking (courtesy of an omnidirectional MEMS microphone) is handled by an aluminum multifunction touch interface on the outer edge, and a Transparency Mode can be activated to let through ambient sounds. Precisely how much of the outside world is allowed through can be set by the user via the Beoplay iOS/Android app. The app can also fine tune EQ and soundstage parameters, dial in sound profile presets, and monitor E8 battery life.
The right earphone is home to an 85 mAh Li-ion battery and there's a 60 mAh cell in the left for a combined continuous use time of four hours. The charging case has its own battery, so users can top up the E8s while out and about, with magnets in the earphones securing them in place and auto enabling power down and recharge.
The B&O Beoplay E8 wireless earphones will be available from October 12 for US$299, including the charging case. Individual left and right E8s are available for $129 each. The short video below introduces the new earphones.
Product page: Beoplay E8