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B&O Play didn't reinvent the wheel. Instead, it brought us a traditional pair of earphones with active noise reduction, the Beoplay E4. A model whose design would seem almost a little outdated, yet chic enough for those who long looked after such variation. The Danish manufacturer has succeeded the BeoPlay H3 ANC and installed into the BeoPlay E4 a new ambient noise reduction technology borrowed from Beoplay H9, the company's $500 over-ear flagship.
Given these details and a price tag of around $200, we expect a guaranteed success from Bang & Olufsen, though we shouldn’t jump to conclusions recklessly.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E4 In-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
1. Overview - 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 headphones are only available in black and cost approximately $200.The Swedish manufacturer is very generous with the bundle of accessories provided to us inside BeoPlay E4’s package. Included are a soft fabric cover with an inside pocket to store accessories: an airplane adapter, a micro USB charging cable, documentation, and ear tips. Four pairs are made of silicone (XS, S, M, and L), and one pair with T-200 Comply shape memory in size M. It is certainly the latter provides the best passive insulation.
The headphones, nicely designed by Jakob Wagner, are made of black stainless steel (the only color available). The finish is impeccable; the earphones can even be considered elegant.
Compared to the over-the-neck earphones with ANC, for example, Bose Quietcontrol 30, Beoplay E4 does not have an associated neckband, which houses most of the technology. In this regard, BeoPlay E4 is a classic pair of earphones. For some, a wired headset might be inconvenient, whereas others might appreciate the aesthetics and implications of having a regular pair of wired earphones with active noise cancellation (ANC). The ear tips supplied isolate adequately from the outside world, too, ensuring good passive noise reduction.
The housings of both the battery box and the headphones are made of stainless steel; moreover, the entire headset weighs just under 50 grams. With their metal housing, the earphones leave a high-quality appearance and show no manufacturing defects. All in all, the Beoplay E4 makes a solid impression, which one can expect from an in-ear headset that costs around $200.
BeoPlay E4 in-ears are incredibly comfortable, light with their 50g, even more comfortable provided that you stick the in-line battery box in a pocket and doesn’t hang around. We like them in terms of voice quality during a conversion on the phone. Talking to the other person takes places in a clear and intelligible manner, without any problems, which we loved and it’s what most users need if they want reliable hands-free earphones. There also were no interferences.
The earphones integral 1.3 meters long Y-cable is thick and not likely to get tangled. On the left side, it has an iOS-compatible remote control which houses a MicroElectrical-Mechanical System (MEMS) type microphone. There are also three keys with multiple functions depending on the pressure exerted on them. This cable is equipped with a 3.5mm jack audio connector, though iPhone owners with a Lighting port must use a separate adapter.
With one click on the battery unit, you activate the noise-canceling function—the B&O Beoplay E4 also integrates a rechargeable battery on the cable, covered with a durable polymer surface that is comfortable to handle. At the same time, the anodized aluminum remote control has been redesigned to be more intuitive. Only a button and LED are housed on the remote control/battery unit. The LED indicates the ANC’s activation with white color, while blue is used to display transparency mode. To change between ANC and transparency mode, one has to hold the button for a few seconds.
Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay E4 headphones are the successors to the H3. This is an in-ear model with an active noise cancellation system, which, unlike its predecessor, can reduce the ambient noise level by 15 dB.
We can confidently say that Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay E4 filters out sounds a little better than its predecessor. B&O uses the same technology as the flagship BeoPlay H9 headphones that sell for $500 on the official website. Two microphones pick up incoming ambient noise; through the process of noise-canceling, the processor generates a reverse wave pattern and plays it back in your ear in addition to the music, and it’s quite successful at reducing the annoying noises.
Unlike BeoPlay H3, BeoPlay E4 features a transparency mode, which can also be activated using the small slider on the battery box. You can hear your surroundings with complete awareness without having to take your headphones out of your ear. However, there’s a catch. It mutes the music without pausing the playback, which is counterintuitive. Why would you need a “transparency mode” if you have the stop button? Because of the way it functions, the transparency mode is pointless.
The H3 was already impressed with its clean and unadulterated sound. Its heir, BeoPlay E4 in-ear headphones, from the premium brand B&O are also impressive, equipped with 10.8 mm electrodynamic drivers capable of reproducing frequencies between 20 Hz and 16,000 Hz. The sound is balanced with clean and clear highs. The basses are detailed but could also have a bit more presence.
Of most earphones, Beoplay E4 has really impressed us in terms of sound. The crystal-clear sound delivered in the treble area, warm mids, and well-defined but not too intrusive basses portrays a beautiful audio reproduction.
The B&O Beoplay E4s are fantastic-sounding noise-canceling earphones, and if it weren’t for the powerful active noise cancellation system within the rather bulky battery box, some significant aspects that we found worth criticizing are the transparency mode, which mutes the music, and issues in the physical control keys for audio management when the earphones are connected to an Android phone.
If you’re an Android user, it’s important to note that the headset remote control is optimized for iOS and did not perform certain actions properly with some Android-based smartphones, such as adjusting the volume. Unless your interest doesn’t lean towards AirPods Pro or AirPods 2, B&O BeoPlay E4s are fantastic earphones for an Apple user.
When it comes to sound, the Beoplay E4 is ahead of its competitors, making it a great contender with worthy noise-canceling capabilities, just not for Android users.