The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i headphones were created with no compromises in mind. These aren't simply high-end on-ear headphones; they're also a high-end product with a high-end price tag. The question is whether they can live up to the high expectations that come with such a hefty price tag.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i Review

High-end materials are used in the design

The sheer quality of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i's build was my first impression. These headphones are made to last, as seen by the real leather headband and earcups, as well as the metal frame. The size adjustment and rotation of the earcups are both smooth, and the earcups fit to your head. The Beoplay H8i's little amount of plastic is of excellent quality, and the controls are all extremely firm. The ability to see the stitching on the leather was extremely appealing to me.

The Beoplay H8i's quality design sets them apart from other wireless headphones we've tested, yet their look isn't for everyone. They are available in three colours: natural, black, and pink (I tested the natural version).

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i has the disadvantage of not being as portable as other on-ear headphones because it does not collapse into itself and so takes up more room. Also, instead of the cushioned cotton bag that came with these headphones, I would have liked a hardshell carrying case. They are, however, light enough at 215 grammes and come with an audio wire as well as a USB-C charging cable.

The setup process is rather complicated

Normally, headphones require minimal setup, but the Beoplay H8i appears to be an exception. One of my phones (a Samsung Galaxy Note 9) refused to link with the H8i several times. They refused to cooperate even after I loaded the companion app and registered an account. My phone detected the Beoplay H8i, but pairing attempts were immediately cancelled. However, after a half-hour of struggle, it finally linked with my phone.

A cloud of soft leather provides comfort

These are the headphones to get if you want to wear them all day. The headband sits almost invisibly on the top of the head, and the enormous comfortable leather earpads nestle up to your ears like small leather clouds. This doesn't mean they're flimsy; they're quite secure and adapt to fit a variety of head sizes.

Audio quality is excellent

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i sounds as nice as it feels, with particularly strong mid- and high-frequency performance. The bass end isn't bad, but it doesn't have a lot of punch. When I listened to the 2Cellos cover of Thunderstruck, which I use as a baseline song to test and compare the capabilities of headphones, this became clear. The H8i's superiority in the mids and highs compensates for the modest bass deficiency.

I listened to A Heady Tale by The Fratellis, which has fewer tones in the bottom range, with this in mind. This proved that the Beoplay H8i's greatest performance is in the mid-to-high range. However, I moved on to Jack White's Lazaretto, which includes deep pulsating bass instrumentals and functioned admirably. This informs me that the aforementioned tiny bass flaw isn't worth nitpicking over.

I kept going with another Jack White song, Temporary Ground, which has a rural feel to it despite its rock beginnings. The high voices and instruments, as well as the low bass, were beautifully portrayed by the Beoplay H8i.

In Billy Talent's Swallowed Up by the Ocean, where a wide range of instrumentals and vocals were well separated and replicated, I really liked how the sorrowful piano cut through the violent buzz of the electric guitar.

The call quality was generally good, with folks on the other end stating that my voice was crystal clear and that there was no background noise. However, on a few occasions, my speech was muffled and unintelligible. I wasn't able to reproduce this consistently, but I believe it's due to a bug in the ambient noise-canceling software.

Even in extremely noisy locations, noise-canceling headphones are more than enough. The active noise cancellation was able to almost eliminate annoying sounds, and it's simple to turn it off or switch to the hear-through mode via the app or via a toggle switch on the headphones themselves. The only major issue I have with the audio is the startlingly loud beeps that occur when the headphones are turned on or off, or when the noise cancellation settings are altered. These noises need to be greatly reduced since I'm concerned that their bleating is causing me ear harm.

Longevity of the battery

I found the H8i's promised thirty-hour battery life to be quite accurate, and I was able to listen to them for many days without needing to recharge them. The current USB-C charging connector is also a plus.

Wireless Range and Capability

The Beoplay H8i is rated for a range of 100 feet, but I was only able to achieve about a third of that before the audio began to drop out. This is a very common Bluetooth headphone selection. It's adequate for around the house use, but falls short of the claimed capabilities.

Applicable software

The volume, media control, ANC, and other controls are properly labelled and simple to use on the Bang & Olufsen app. You also have the option of customising the sound.

Listening modes are included

The Beoplay H8i's listening experience may be fine-tuned either through a variety of presets or manually using a sleek UI. You may easily select your preferred tone balance here. Personally, I favour high treble, but this is a personal opinion, and there are many customising possibilities. When you take them off or put them on, the H8i detects this and pauses or plays music appropriately. This works rather well, however I've noticed that it's not completely reliable.

Luxury comes at a price

There's no denying that the Beoplay H8i is expensive. With an MSRP of $400, these noise-canceling headphones are more expensive than most other noise-canceling headphones. However, if you can afford it, the hefty price is justified given the high quality of the materials used in their construction and the outstanding sound and noise-canceling they provide.

Despite a few flaws, the Bang & Olufsen H8i is an excellent travel companion for audiophiles, but only if they have significant pockets. The excellent build quality of these headphones is what really sets them apart from the competition.