Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ review: Classy design, even classier sound

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(Pocket-lint) - In a marketplace wherever existent wireless earbuds are a dime a dozen, companies person to find a mode to basal out. For immoderate that mode is to connection high-end features successful an affordable package. But for others it's astir highlighting the desirability of a marque and going premium. 

The second is the attack taken by Bang & Olufsen with each of its products. Its 2021 flagship earbuds, the Beoplay EQ, present a high-end plan and materials, combined with large dependable and progressive noise-cancelling (ANC).

But those high-end features and premium materials travel with an inflated terms tag to match. So is it worthy investing successful the Beoplay EQ?

Design

  • Earbud dimensions: 24 x 22 x 27mm / Weight: 8g (each)
  • 1x Comply foam tips, 4x Silicone tips (XS, S, M, L)
  • IP54 water- and dust-resistance rating

If there's 1 happening that tin beryllium said for Bang & Olufsen's plan of the EQ, it's dissimilar immoderate different earbuds. And, arsenic with everything B&O, the plan looks and feels similar a premium portion of audio kit.

But these 'buds are not small. At 8 grams each, they're not precisely heavy, but they don't consciousness arsenic lightweight and nimble arsenic immoderate cheaper competitors. Despite that, they acceptable comfortably and securely - we didn't erstwhile consciousness that they'd gaffe retired oregon suffer their fit. Given however large the 'buds are, and however acold they look to instrumentality retired of the ears, that's beauteous impressive. 

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The unafraid acceptable is made adjacent much amended erstwhile utilizing the included Comply foam tips. These are among our favourite benignant of tip, and are ever a invited inclusion with immoderate 'buds. The brushed representation foam expands to capable the disposable abstraction astatine the receptor canal entry, ensuring a perfect, comfy fit. There are besides 4 silicone options instead, including other tiny (XS) for those with truly tiny receptor canals.

Each EQ earbuds' exterior is capped with a minimalist, circular metallic sheet emblazoned with B&O's iconic logo. This metallic exterior besides acts arsenic the touch-sensitive power for playing, pausing, and skipping tracks, and switching betwixt ANC and transparency modes. We didn't find it overly delicate to interaction - which makes a alteration from different touch-sensitive panels - and it's casual capable to get utilized to using.

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With IP54 standing against h2o and dust, we ne'er had to interest astir whether these 'buds would get ruined successful the rain, oregon beryllium damaged by sand, particulate oregon lint.

We person thing of a love-hate narration with the lawsuit though. It's a compact and classy-looking metallic one, with a beauteous soft-closing hinge and magnet to springiness the lid a reassuring consciousness of class. Indeed, the full exterior is finished with a soft-feeling anodised finish, making it pleasing to hold. Then, erstwhile you unfastened it, your B&O 'buds are presented, front-on, similar a portion of jewellery.

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There is simply a downside though: this attack is precise overmuch relation implicit signifier due to the fact that - and dissimilar a batch of different existent wireless earbuds - you don't get that reassuring magnetic propulsion successful each of the earbuds' cradles. So we recovered ourselves having to precise deliberately spot the 'buds to align with the interaction points to complaint them. We'd alternatively conscionable beryllium capable to plop them vaguely successful the close spot and person magnets instrumentality attraction of the rest, similar with astir different products specified arsenic this.

When you bash unopen the lid and complaint them, a azygous pill-shaped LED connected the beforehand subtly pulses orangish oregon greenish to fto you cognize the artillery status. All successful all, it's a beauteous design, we conscionable privation it was a spot much convenient erstwhile it comes to snapping the buds into place. 

Features and performance 

  • Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX Adaptive support
  • 6x microphones & beam-forming mics for calls
  • 6.5 hours playback with ANC (7.5 hours without)
    • 20 hours total, including lawsuit charges
  • Wireless charging support

When it comes to axenic show and wireless tech, the Beoplay EQ has it all. There's Bluetooth 5.2 tech, positive aptX Adaptive enactment - offering precocious prime lag-free connections with compatible devices. What's more, it's backwards compatible with some aptX and aptX HD, truthful you should ever person a lag-free transportation and Hi-Res audio erstwhile available. In our mundane investigating it meant a coagulated transportation without immoderate drop-outs. 

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Plus, the earbuds tin beryllium utilized independently - truthful if you region 1 from an receptor portion listening to music, it'll halt playing the euphony successful that earbud, but transportation connected successful the remaining one. It does this utilizing a light/proximity sensor built into the casing. 

Battery show extracurricular the lawsuit is beardown too. With ANC enabled you tin get up to 6.5 hours of playtime. That's surely much than your longest commute lasts. In world it meant we ne'er truly had to interest astir moving retired of juice.

The lone downside from the artillery position is that the lawsuit supports little than 2 afloat further charges. The EQ has a full of 20 hours playtime including the case, which is little than what you get from astir different 'buds - and astir fractional of the full you mightiness get from the longest-lasting connected the market.

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Still, 20 hours is inactive capable to get you done a instrumentality hour-long commute each weekday for a fortnight. Plus, with some USB-C and wireless charging support, they're casual to support topped up whether you person your smartphone cablegram with you oregon you person entree to a wireless charging pad. 

Sound and noise-cancelling

  • Adaptive progressive noise-cancelling (ANC)
  • 6.8mm electro-dynamic driver
  • 20Hz-20kHz frequence range 

When it comes to dependable quality, specifically listening to music, the Beoplay EQ is 1 of the champion sounding pairs of existent wireless earphones connected the market. They dependable superb, arsenic you'd expect fixed the asking price.

It each comes down to balance, clarity and emotion successful the end, and the EQ delivers it each successful buckets. In its default mounting drum kicks tin beryllium felt, portion bass is tightly controlled yet prominent. Listening to the sampled drums and upright bass successful Nas' One Love, we got to feel the bass drum kick's impact, without losing the authentic consciousness of the treble bass. 

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But the champion happening is that the higher-end and different impactful sounds are conscionable arsenic controlled. In Maroon 5's If I Never See Your Face Again there's crispness and tightness to snare drum hits, with cleanable electrical guitar cutting done and ringing clear, portion the vocals don't get muddied. 

Like immoderate bully brace of high-end 'buds, you tin besides intelligibly perceive immoderate of the much subtle elements successful the backing instruments. The subtle plucking oregon strumming of the bushed guitar playing successful 1 channel, oregon strings conscionable playing mildly successful the background. You perceive it all. 

Like immoderate of our favourite headphones, the EQ gave america that tendency of wanting to spell backmost done each of our favourite songs, albums and playlists, due to the fact that they elevate the acquisition that much. It conscionable makes you privation to beryllium connected your own, successful a quiescent room, and soak it up. For the archetypal clip successful a agelong clip that's precisely what we did. Tuned out, stuck our EQ buds in, cranked up the measurement and listened to music, blissfully unaware of thing happening astir us. 

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That's aided by the aforementioned Comply foam tips that bash a large occupation of passively cutting retired ambient noise, further aided by the adaptive ANC that tin set based connected the sound astir you. What we recovered was that the ANC was effectual astatine cutting retired astir changeless noises. Wear them connected a engaged train, adjacent a roadworthy oregon adjacent astatine home, moving with kids connected summertime break, and you'll find they chopped retired the worst of the sound erstwhile euphony is playing. 

The ANC is powered by six microphones (three connected each 'bud) and they besides assistance with calls, utilizing beam-forming exertion to guarantee your dependable is clear. In our tests, we recovered them much than capable for making video and modular dependable calls. 

Verdict

The Beoplay EQ is without uncertainty the champion brace of existent wireless earbuds launched by Bang & Olufsen to date. They connection a comfy and unafraid fit, stunning dependable quality, and effectual progressive noise-cancelling (ANC) for keeping you locked distant successful a satellite of immersive sound. 

There's a interaction of people astir the mode the earphones and the lawsuit are designed, portion IP54 standing ensures they won't get destroyed by regular mishaps. Plus, with dependable prime that's up determination with the champion user 'buds, and agelong playtime from the battery, they're large to usage connected a regular basis. 

It would beryllium bully if the case's cradle enactment was little fiddly and if the lawsuit held much spare artillery too, but connected the full the EQ is simply a brace of earbuds that are different hard to criticise. Well, different than however overmuch currency they'll acceptable you backmost - you'll conscionable person to determine however overmuch that premium plan and dependable is worthy to you. 

Also consider

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose's dependable signature is simply a small much breathy than Bang & Olufsen's, but with a comfy acceptable and market-leading noise-cancelling, there's a batch to emotion astir the QuietComfort Earbuds.

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Sony WF-1000XM4 review

Sony's past mates of earbuds person been among the champion connected the market, particularly erstwhile it comes to noise-cancelling. There's nary aptX support, but the Hi-Res enactment and noise-cancelling are up determination with the best. 

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Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 10 September 2021.

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