We’re lastly beginning to see some wire-free earphones which might be definitely worth the hype. The Beoplay E8 from B&O Play joins the Bose SoundSport Free and JLab Epic Air in advancing the nascent class past its early pitfalls. At $299, nevertheless, the Beoplay E8 is among the most costly pairs we have seen. Audio high quality is kind of good, and the app permits you to sculpt it to your preferences. However the value nonetheless feels excessive in contrast with different main fashions within the class.
Obtainable in black or grey fashions, the E8’s earpieces look fairly much like most of the true wi-fi pairs we have examined. Aside from the B&O emblem on the surface panel, there’s little to distinguish them from a number of different choices we have examined, although they’re barely smaller. The in-ear match is exceptionally safe and light-weight—B&O Play consists of 4 pairs of eartips in varied sizes, and one pair of froth suggestions. After they must be saved or charged, the earpieces snap in to the included charging case magnetically.
By way of battery life, the E8 is fairly customary for a real wi-fi pair, which is to say, fairly mediocre. All wire-free pairs out now have restricted battery life—B&O Play says the E8 final for 4 hours hours on a full cost. The charging case carries two full further expenses, or an additional eight hours of battery life, when absolutely charged. That is strong, however we’ve seen higher stats from Bose and JLab not too long ago.
The E8’s charging case is just not solely one of many classier designs we have seen to date, it is also notably small. The black case has a leather-based patina and a built-in fabric lanyard loop. Two standing LEDs on the again panel let you know while you what number of full expenses the case is holding—subsequent to those LEDs, there is a port for the micro USB-to-USB charging cable, which is refreshingly longer than most of the quick cables that ship with Bluetooth earphones. On the entrance of the case, the place the shell pops open, there’s an LED to point out that it is charging.
Pairing the E8 with an iPhone 6s was exceptionally straightforward in testing. You merely have to energy up (by touching the capacitive contact panel on the precise earpiece), go into pairing mode (maintain a finger on each earpieces outer panels for a couple of seconds), and choose the E8 out of your machine’s bluetooth menu. Putting the earpieces within the case routinely kills the Bluetooth connection and begins the charging course of. After the preliminary pairing, powering them up will routinely pair them along with your machine, assuming it is in vary.
General, the sensitivity of the contact panels on the earpieces is strong. The best earpiece is the primary one when it comes to fundamental controls. Play/Pause is managed by tapping on the precise earpiece, however after this, B&O Play goes a really totally different route than many of the competitors. As an example, to skip ahead a monitor, you faucet twice on the precise earpiece—to skip backward, you faucet twice on the left. Quantity up and down can be divided between the 2 earpieces—you contact and maintain for this management, which works together with your cellular machine’s grasp ranges. We like this division for probably the most half.
Three faucets on the precise earpiece summons voice controls, however three faucets on the left earpiece does nothing. A single faucet on the precise controls playback, however on the left, it locations the earphones in transparency mode—during which the mics frivolously amplify your environment. In the event you go into transparency mode, then attempt to resume playback by tapping on the precise earpiece, issues can get a bit of complicated. It is because by default, transparency mode does not pause the music, however mutes it. Adjusting the quantity whereas in transparency mode to a better quantity will repair this subject, however till you do (within the app), tapping the precise earpiece to renew play will take the earphones out of transparency mode.
The Beoplay app makes it straightforward to toggle these changes. You may select between the default Ambient mode described above; or Social, which performs music at a low degree; or Commuting, which performs music at a better degree however permits you to hear bulletins, close by dialog, and the like.
The app additionally permits you to modify the EQ. You drag a dot round on a graph moderately than adjusting a number of bands, however the outcomes are related—you rapidly determine how one can increase each bass and treble, or just one. There are additionally presets for podcasts, exercises, and two marked Clear Commute. The app is not required for the earphones to correctly perform, and you may most likely discover no use for it after initially setting the transparency mode ranges and maybe tweaking the EQ.
The built-in mic presents glorious intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we have been capable of perceive each phrase recorded, and the recording was crisp and clear with only a few audio artifacts sometimes related to wi-fi earphone mics.
For our assessments, we left the EQ off, however it’s attainable to drastically change the E8’s sound signature, together with creating extra thump within the sub-bass realm. With the EQ off, the earphones can nonetheless ship fairly a bass punch, nevertheless. On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the lows are delivered with energy, and by no means distort at prime (unwise) listening ranges. At reasonable ranges, the bass nonetheless feels sturdy.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a monitor with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the E8’s normal sound signature. The drums on this monitor get some added bass heft, for sure—they do not sound unnatural, however they’ve a rounder, fuller high quality than they usually do. Callahan’s vocals get some added low-mid richness and high-mid treble edge in equal measure. The result’s a crisp however full sound signature that may be described as bass ahead, but additionally clear within the highs.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop will get sufficient high-mid presence to retain the sharpness of its assault, although we have heard it sound snappier and sharper, with extra high-mids, on different pairs. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat listed below are delivered with energy and gusto, whereas the vocals keep strong readability and by no means really feel like they’re doing battle with the extra boosted lows. That is, even with the EQ off, a really sculpted sound signature—boosted sub-bass, distinguished lows and low-mids, boosted high-mids and highs, with some dips and cuts right here and there. We might most likely want barely extra definition within the high-mids, however then once more, the EQ makes it attainable to get nearly no matter you are in search of.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel In response to the Different Mary, get some added bass depth, pushing the decrease register instrumentation ahead within the combine, however the highlight nonetheless belongs to the upper register brass, strings, and vocals. This is not a sound signature for purists, it is protected to say, however you’ll be able to at all times dial again the bass and brighten the highs a tad.
Sonically, the Beoplay E8 is able to many sound signatures, however its baseline will please loads of listeners. Functionally, the design suits securely and is straightforward to make use of. Typically talking, it is a superb pair of earphones, however there’s the difficulty of value to think about. Is that this pair $50 higher than our Editors’ Alternative, the Bose SoundSport Free? It might be onerous to make that argument convincingly, as $50 is quite a bit to ask when the Bose mannequin is already fairly dear. We’re additionally followers of the aforementioned JLab Epic Air, and the Jaybird Run is one other strong choice. B&O Play’s Beoplay E8 is unlikely to disappoint, however the value is a bit too excessive.