Let’s get this out of the way: The B&O Beoplay E8 true wireless earphones cost $299. Being both a cheapskate and a music aficionado, I tried, hard, to convince myself that other less expensive true wireless headphones that I’ve tested sound just as good, or better, than the E8s do. But they don’t. If you demand the best possible sound in a compact, wire-free package, these are the headphones to get.
The E8 earphones are constructed from lightweight polymer with aluminum accents. As each earbud weighs about a quarter-ounce each, most people won’t find it a burden to have them jammed into their skull for hours at a time—provided they’ll fit. Instead of using rubber fins, or hooking into your ears like other in-ear headphones do, the E8s stay in place by being thrust into the opening of your ear canal. That they come with four different sizes of silicon tips to ensure a secure fit as well as a set of Complyfoam foam tips helps to ensure a good fit—but you might want to buy them from a shop or online store with a solid return policy, just in case.
Available in black or charcoal color schemes, the E8’s tasteful style run contrary to their audacious price. B&O’s Art Deco logo graces the cap of each earbud, along with a metallic accent. That’s it. Sized at 0.91 by 0.79 by 0.98-inches, they’re neither the smallest nor the largest true wireless headphones that we’ve seen. When I inserted them in my ears, I found that they were noticeable, but not awkwardly so, like the Bose SoundSport Free.
Then there’s the E8’s leather-bound charging case. Next to the one that comes with Apple’s AirPods, it’s the smallest, sleekest charging case that we’ve come across. You should know that the E8 are not in any way weather resistant. If you’re looking for something to wear at the gym, look elsewhere.
B&O states that when played at a moderate volume, their E8 headphones should run for four hours before needing to be topped up. With the two additional charges that the carry case holds, you can expect around 12 hours of total use before the works need to be charged via Micro USB. I found this battery usage estimate to be accurate.
Tinkering with volume, playing/pausing or changing music tracks, taking a call, or engaging audio transparency (more on that in a second) is all done through the use of tapping or holding your finger against a touch panel built into the side of the earbuds. I found that touch was registered by the E8 90-percent of the time, with worse results occurring when my fingers were wet or cold. Through the use of the free B&O app for iOS or Android, it’s possible to tweak the amount of audio transparency that the headphones provide and to modify the sound profile with a number of presets or with ones that you come up with yourself.
No matter whether you listen to them using their factory preset profile or tweak your tunes, you’ll find that the E8s sound very, very good, especially for Bluetooth earphones. Each earbud contains a 5.7mm electro-dynamic driver, and offer a frequency range of 20 to20,000 Hz. Using their default audio profile, they offer a stunning wide soundstage, with slightly forward bass, that was warm and punchy, but never overwhelming. The warm mids and clear highs that the headphones produced made everything I listen to, from Acquiraga Drom to to Żywiolak, sound amazing.
But oy, the price.
At $299, they’re one of the most expensive pairs of true wireless headphones that we’ve reviewed, so far. You could argue that they’re only $50 more than Bose’s excellent SoundSport Free. True. But for the cost of one pair of E8s, you could almost buy two sets of Apple’s AirPods. Over the course of using the E8s, I repeatedly asked myself whether they were worth the price. My answer: If you can afford to splurge on a luxury item like this, absolutely.
The bottom line
While they rate amongst the most expensive true wireless headphones we’ve tested, the B&O Beoplay E8 are without a doubt, the best sounding and most luxurious-feeling headphones that we’ve tested. If you can afford them, you’ll most likely be very pleased with your purchase.