Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay E8 Are Pricey Wireless Earphones With Style
Even though you’ve probably not done your commute for months, you’ll remember what a pair of wireless earphones look like. They’re either thin white strips that hang out of your ears – à la Apple’s AirPods and their many imitators – or they’re charmless breeze-blocks to be plugged into your lugs. And that’s before we even mention Microsoft’s USS Enterprise-shaped Surface Earbuds.
Basically, it’s hard to find a pair of earphones with genuine charm and personality. That’s not so with Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay E8 3.0 buds. The third generation of wireless B&O earphones, they fix up a few quibbles from their former incarnations while retaining the charm that made them stand out in the first place. That is to say they carry the same sense of Scandi cool seen in the audio specialist's other speakers and headphones.
In the case of the B&O E8 3.0, this means a reasonably slim profile of bud that sits comfortably in your ear without giving the impression that you’re an extra in Spaceballs. Their case is also lovely too, with a fake leather finish and metal rim that exudes class and quality. Between them, the earbuds and case promise an ample 35 hours of battery life, so you’re less likely to be caught without charge at short notice.
The buds also now feature IP54 water-resistance to protect against sweat when you’re out running with them. Although they do offer a snug fit, we wouldn’t recommend an extended jaunt around town with them in toe. You’re better off with a more exercise-minded pair, such as Beats Powerbeats Pro or Sennheiser CX Sport.
As much as there’s a bunch to like about the B&O E8 3.0, their $375 asking price and lack of noise-cancelling skills does gets in the way of a more fulsome recommendation on our part – especially when you consider that excellent alternatives such as Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 2 both offer more and cost less. Why is active noise-cancellation so important? When the world returns to normal, it’s the thing that’ll dim the hubbub of public service announcements, blaring traffic and that bloke who insists on reevaluating his relationship over the phone on the 6.30pm from Clapham Junction.
In relative solace, Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay E8 3.0 buds sound pretty good, although they lack the sonic weight and all-round ooph of their more exceptional peers. The rasping brass of The 1975’s “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” acts as a suitably triumphant come-on. Porridge Radio’s “Sweet” ricochets ably between quiet solace and an anxious frenzy and the dissonant chords of Hayley Williams’ “Cinnamon” are clear and distinct in your headspace. Essentially, they’re a solid pair of earphones that cost a bit too much right now.
Now, here at GQ, we’re never going to knock you for prioritising style above all else. When there are a good few other wireless buds that combine a strong aesthetic and more substance in their sound, that’s not a sacrifice you have to make right now.
$375 At amazon