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B&O Play is a division of the famous Bang & Olufsen that develops electronics. The subsidiary company inherited the first two initials and the elegant design distinguishable among the entire Bang & Olufsen range of products. This time the brand offers an on-ear Bluetooth headset equipped with an active noise reduction system, the B&O Beoplay H8i.
When it comes to top-end products like the H8i and H9i headphones, we have no doubts regarding quality. Usually, we’re always shown something really outstanding by the Danish luxury brand founded in 1925, at least from a design perspective. We know you’re here to find out about other aspects of the B&O Play H8i and how it sounds.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i On-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
BeoPlay H8i Specifications – not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
The B&O Beoplay H8i headset comes in a white cardboard box. Inside, you will find:
- 1.25 m USB-A to USB-C cable for charging
- 4 feet (1.2 m) audio cable for wired use
- An airplane adapter
- A carrying case
The headphones are available in black and beige/gray. The first impression of the Beoplay H8i leaves no regrets.
Headphones created by B&O are distinguished by original and elegant design, and hence careful workmanship. You can have the impression of meeting a product from a luxury boutique; And that’s when you open the box, lined with pleasant material with precisely cut compartments.
Compared to other over-ear headphones, these are relatively compact and, therefore, discreet. The H8i headphones are comparatively light for an full-size headphone.
It consists of plastic components and some metal on the frame that connects the earpieces and the headband and on the outside of the earpieces, where the manufacturer’s logo is embossed.
The headband is trimmed with leather and has a soft fabric (with a springy cylinder) on the inner side. The earcups are small, but thanks to the thick earpads provide a snug fit onto the ears.
The ear pads are covered with leather. Over time, your ears begin to heat up from wearing the headphones, but if you want to have good sound insulation - there is no other way.
It is commendable, as it uses a USB-C connector that is comfortable and fully balanced; this connector has been around for several years, yet many headset manufacturers still stick to the cumbersome Micro USB.
- Adjust the volume
- Manage the music by playing the next/previous song
- Playing/stopping a song
- Answering/ending a call
- Bluetooth pairing.
The majority of functions are accompanied by a clear signal to indicate that they have been activated. Interestingly, the proximity sensor, a sensor that reacts upon removing the headset from the head that interrupts the music playback, functioned flawlessly. In general, such functions are questionable as they usually become troublesome.
Bluetooth & Technology
Beoplay H8i’s Bluetooth 4.2 technology, which supports the SBC and AAC encoding, offers uncompromising CD-like sound quality. It can also be assumed that these headphones work perfectly with Apple’s portable equipment, as Apple doesn’t provide compatibility for aptX or LDAC.
Thanks to the new Bluetooth technology, you can pair your headset with two devices simultaneously without disconnecting one of them. As a result, you can now easily switch the sound source between your devices. Likewise, the extended operating range over BT extends up to 31 m. This means you can now be even further away from the player while enjoying the best sound.
Interestingly, to improve upon its predecessor, Band & Olufsen upgraded their model by adding an extra microphone to enhance phone calls’ quality with the Beoplay H8i wireless headset.
Beoplay H8i achieves a great performance in terms of autonomy. Paired via Bluetooth, you can reach up to 30 hours with ANC on. You can also use ANC in the passive mode for up to 42 hours. Also, in case you're left with no battery, you simply plug in the audio cable and keep listening.
But that’ll rarely happen as Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8i conserves battery by pausing your music. When you remove your headphones, a proximity sensor will automatically pause your content, whether it’s music or video. The signal resumes as soon as you put the headphones back on.
Like its predecessor, Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i features Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology. The new and improved version is even more accurate when reducing unwanted sounds and external disturbances. As a result, you can enjoy more of the music the H8i delivers, whether you’re sitting on the train or in a crowded area.
The effectiveness of ANC is remarkable, even if it has some consequences in terms of sound
Besides ANC, Beoplay H8i headphones have a Transparency mode. With it, you can now turn off the music and ANC with one quick gesture and hear the surroundings’ sounds.
Beoplay headphones sometimes play with a powerful bass, which many users appreciate, but not everyone is delighted by it. B&O H8i still delivers a somewhat saturated sound but with adequate balance. The mid-range is correctly reproduced; its role is essential in providing a clear and expressive sound, and at the same time, smooth and easy to analyze.
In wireless mode, the B&O H8i can play quite loudly – so listen carefully to avoid endangering your hearing. The size of the headphones impacts the listening experience; since they’re much smaller than other on-ear headphones, the space inside the ear cups that house the drivers is also narrower, so the 40mm drivers lack dynamics.
One cannot experience the powerful emotions usually conveyed by the energetic and rhythmic basses in the same manner as Bowers & Wilkins PX7’s 43 mm drivers.
Sound-wise, B&O BeoPlay H8i is almost identical to H9i since both models use the same drivers. Nonetheless, the similarity is not one hundred percent: BeoPlay H9i has a wider soundstage with a better-defined width and depth.
With H8i, the instruments sound as if they’re instead of a concert hall. Both headphones’ tonal balance is identical: carefully balanced. The vocals are reproduced smooth and velvety, without irritating sibilants, wind and violin instruments without character.
The music is detailed enough to notice complex sound textures and subtler tones accompanying the musicians’ movements. The bass is deep and powerful, but at the same time, comfortable. It’s not as great reproduced as that of H9i because our model doesn’t possess bass ports.
Noise cancellation has almost no effect on the sound response, and it performs well at blocking background noises on the street or traveling. B&O Play H8i noise-canceling headphones are excellent in design and functionality, and their smooth sound reproduction is paramount for almost all music genres.