The quest to find the perfect Bluetooth wireless headphones continues. Actually, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless are just about the best you can get. However, like the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, the Bluetooth connection is inconsistent. There is also no active noise cancellation, but that feature doesn’t always help in the first place.
This weekend, I tested out the BeoPlay H8 Wireless and used them for several hours. I have to admit not being aware of these headphones until I saw them at the Apple Store in Northridge. I read some reviews and decided they would be worth a test spin. Well, they were definitely worth the test spin, but not the $500 price tag.
First off, it’s important to note how gorgeous these headphones are. The metal and leather headband helps guarantee a sturdy fit. The on-ear design on the H8 Wireless is just about as comfortable as any over-the-ear I have ever tested. And the gold finish on the headphones was beautiful. Wearing these was one of the only times I actually enjoyed looking at myself in the mirror.
But what about the sound? Like the Beats Studio Wireless headphones, the bass goes deep. Unfortunately, the mid ranges are too recessed, especially when turning the noise cancellation on. It’s quite strange that these headphones sound noticeably better without the noise cancellation. However, if you are using the noise cancellation without the music (for studying, sleeping, etc.), it works very well. It’s not incorrect to say that it works just as well as it does on the Bose QC25 headphones, which are known to have the best noise cancellation features of any audio product.
As good as the headphones sound, it’s also easy to tell they are Bluetooth headphones. The upper ranges provide that hollow “hiss” at the end of consonants that Bluetooth headphones are known for. But the real deal breaker for the BeoPlay H8 is the phone call quality, which is the worst I have ever heard from a pair of headphones, let alone ones that cost $500. Users on the other end said I sounded like a robot having a stroke (not the nicest thing to say, but the description is very accurate).
Even when you take the price tag away, the BeoPlay’s overall quality falls behind cheaper Bluetooth headphones such as the Bose SoundLink On-Ear, which sells for $250. The phone call quality, even in loud situations, is fantastic on the Bose set, as they realize consumers want to be able to make or take phone calls with their wireless headphones as well. Perhaps BeoPlay can learn a lot from Bose and develop headphones that are decently priced, useful, and have a great balance of sound.