Review of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ: Elegant appearance, even more elegant sound
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The Review of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ: Elegant appearance, even more elegant sound
These in-ears are without a doubt the best pair of true wireless ‘earbuds’ launched by Bang & Olufsen to date. They offer a comfortable and secure fit, stunning sound quality and effective active noise cancellation (ANC) to keep you locked in a world of fantastically immersive sound. Read in full verdict
(Pocket Ribbon) – In a market where true wireless earbuds are a dozen, companies need to find a way to stand out. For some, that’s the way to offer high-end features in an affordable package. But for others, it’s about emphasizing a brand’s desirability and going premium.
The latter is the approach that Bang & Olufsen uses with all its products. Its 2021 flagship earbuds, the Beoplay EQ, deliver premium design and materials, combined with great sound and active noise cancellation (ANC).
But the high end features and premium materials come with a high price tag. So is it worth investing in the Beoplay EQ?
Earbud design 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 If one thing can be said about Bang & Olufsen’s EQ design, it’s unlike any other earbud. And, as with everything from B&O, the design looks and feels like a premium audio kit.
But these ‘buttons are not small. At eight grams each, they aren’t exactly heavy, but they don’t feel as light and agile as some of the cheaper competitors. Nevertheless, they are comfortable and secure – we never felt like they would slip out or lose their fit. Considering how big the buds are and how far they seem to stick out of the ears, that’s pretty impressive.
POCKET RIBBON The secure fit is made even better when using the included Comply foam tips. These are among our favorite strains tip, and are always a welcome addition to any ‘tops’. The soft memory foam expands to fill the space available at the entrance to the ear canal and provides a perfect, comfortable fit. There are also four silicone options instead, including extra small (XS) for those with very small ear canals.
The exterior of each EQ earbuds is capped with a minimalistic, circular metal panel adorned with the iconic B&O logo. This metal exterior doubles as a touch-sensitive control for playing, pausing, and skipping tracks, and switching between ANC and transparency modes. We didn’t find it overly sensitive to touch – which makes a difference to other touch sensitive panels – and it’s easy enough to get used to.
With an IP54 rating against water and dust, we never had to worry about whether these ‘buttons would spoil in the rain, or be damaged by sand, dust or lint.
However, we kind of have a love-hate relationship with the case. It is a compact and stylish looking metal piece, with a nice soft closing hinge and magnet to give the lid a reassuring feeling of class. Indeed, the entire exterior is finished with a soft-touch anodized finish, which makes it pleasant to hold. Then when you open it, your B&O’ buttons are presented, front-on, like a jewel.
POCKET RIBBON There’s a downside, though: this approach is much more function than form because – and unlike many other true wireless earbuds – you don’t get that reassuring magnetic pull in each of the earbud holders. So we found that we had to very deliberately place the ‘buttons’ to align with the contact points to charge them. We’d rather just vaguely pop them in the right place and let magnets do the rest, like most other products like this one.
When you close the lid and charge them, a single pill-shaped LED on the front subtly pulses amber or green to let you know the battery status. All in all it’s a nice design, we only wish it was a little more convenient when it comes to snapping the buttons.
Features and performance Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX Adaptive support 6x microphones & beamforming microphones for calls 6.5 hours playback with ANC (7.5 hours without) 20 hours total, including case cost Wireless charging support When it comes to pure performance and wireless technology, the Beoplay EQ has it all. There’s Bluetooth 5.2 technology, plus aptX Adaptive support – for high-quality lag-free connections to compatible devices. Plus, it’s backwards compatible with both aptX and aptX HD, so you should always have a lag-free connection and Hi-Res audio when available. In our daily tests, it meant a solid connection with no dropouts.
POCKET-LINT Plus, the earbuds can be used independently – so if you take one out of one ear while listening to music, it will stop playing the music in that earbud, but continue in the other. It does this using a light/proximity sensor built into the housing.
The battery performance outside the case is also strong. With ANC enabled you can up up to 6.5 hours of playtime. That’s definitely more than your longest commute. In reality, this meant we never really had to worry about running out of juice.
The only downside from a battery perspective is that the case can support less than two full additional charges. The EQ has a total of 20 hours of playtime including the case, which is less than what you get from most other earbuds – and about half the total you could get from the longest running on the market.
POCKET RIBBON Yet 20 hours is still enough to commute an hour every weekday for fourteen days. And with support for both USB-C and wireless charging, they’re easy to keep up with up whether you have your smartphone cable with you or have access to a wireless charging pad.
Sound and noise cancellation Adaptive Active Noise Canceling (ANC) 6.8mm electrodynamic driver 20Hz-20kHz frequency response When it comes to sound quality, especially listening to music, the Beoplay EQ is one of the best sounding pairs of true wireless earphones on the market. They sound fantastic, as you would expect given the asking price.
It all comes down to balance, clarity and emotion in the end, and the EQ delivers it all in buckets. In the default setting, drum kicks are palpable, while the bass is tightly controlled yet prominent. Listening to the sampled drums and double bass in Nas’ One Love, we were able to feel the impact of the bass drum kick, without losing the authentic feel of the double bass.
POCKET RIBBON Best of all, the high-end and other impactful sounds are just as controlled. In Maroon 5’s If I Never See Your Face Again, there is sharpness and tightness in snare drum hits, with clean electric guitar cutting through and sounding clear, while the vocals don’t get muddy.
Wrap up Review of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ: Elegant appearance, even more elegant sound
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