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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones

8
£349.00

VERDICT:

8
10
The best sounding earbuds for turbo training, if not recommended for riding outside
Amazing sound
Comfortable
Great for indoor training
Transparency mode can't cope with wind noise
Connectivity not as good as others
Weight: 
66g

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The Beoplay EQs are undoubtedly the best sounding earphones I have ever used. The bass is deep, vocals are clear whether I am listening to music on the train, wandering around the park, or sitting on my turbo trainer dripping sweat. Their only noticeable downside is that they are not great if you want to hear what's going on around you with Transparency mode when you're outside on the bike, as opposed to on the turbo.

Transparency mode pics up ambient sounds via six microphones and mixes them into what you're listening to, and on the turbo it's great. What it can't handle on the roads, though, is wind noise. For real riding, you're forced to switch it off.

It's difficult to criticise earphones for blocking out traffic noise because there's a simple solution: don't wear them. Plus, the person who sent them to me from B&O stipulated very clearly that they don't recommend these outside bike use, but that they work well on a static bike. However, I do want to mention this because it is only fair when the other earphones I have looked at have been judged on this criterion.

If you're happy being totally isolated from the outside world as you ride outdoors, these earphones are great and, as I mentioned, the sound quality is awesome. Tech ed Mat uses them in this way a lot for non-urban rides (you don't approve? He's happy with that) and loves the performance.

2022 Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones 2.jpg

When you're riding indoors, the transparency mode (adjustable via B&O's app) works very well. I can clearly hear everything that's around me when I'm riding. The noise cancelling also works fantastically well, almost entirely drowning out the sound of my turbo trainer.

Connectivity

Firstly the Bluetooth connection holds well, and I never had it drop on either my phone or my laptop even using it for hours at a time. Unlike some though, there's no automatic pause when you remove one or both earphones, and I found it unpredictable whether they would connect automatically or need manually adding.

This isn't exactly the end of the world, but compared to something like the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite 75T, the connectivity is not quite as good.

The controls

There are touch panels on either earbud, with the right one controlling playback and volume, and the left cycling through the various audio setups. I found them fairly easy to use once I'd got used to them, but there were several times where I accidentally turned the volume up when I meant to pause, and vice versa.

2022 Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones 1.jpg

Your options are Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Transparency, and Neutral. ANC listens to what is around you and actively counteracts it so you can only hear what is playing; Transparency listens to what is around you and plays it through the earphones; and Neutral just has them working normally.

2022 Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones - boxed.jpg

Each works well, and I found the ANC works particularly well, blocking out pretty much everything you can reasonably expect. For instance, I could ride on a turbo without hearing the constant whirring, but it wouldn't be able to keep out a police car coming past me (not that many cars drive through my house).

> 14 of the best home trainers for 2021 – get fit indoors

Bang & Olufsen offer a simple but effective app with basic controls, such as switching the EQ between five presets (or to one of your own creation), and settings for calls and standby mode. It doesn't offer a huge amount of customisation, but in my opinion it's got what's needed without making it overly complex.

The Beoplays are relatively big and heavy at 8g per bud, and sit quite far out of the ear. It took me a couple of experiments to find the most comfortable tips from the five options provided, but once I did I had no issue with stability.

These are not sports headphones but offer IP54 water and dust proofing, which is more than enough for most workouts – even very sweaty indoor turbo sessions. I also had no issues with them in heavy rain.

Battery life

Detailed battery life percentages (left, right and the case) are shown in the app, while the aluminium case uses a three-stage LED (green, orange or red) for a quick readout. You can expect between 6-7 hours per charge, and the case can fully recharge them twice before it, too, needs recharging. That means around 20 hours of use before you have to find a wall socket.

2022 Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones - charging case open 2.jpg

On the mains, the USB C charging cable takes you to full charge in under one hour. You can charge them on wireless chargers too, but those vary in speed.

The case doesn't scratch easily and feels premium – even the sound of it shutting feels high quality.

Value

RRP on these is £349, which is steep for earbuds, but are about what I would expect for a set that sound this good. You could compare them to the AirPods Pro earbuds I tested recently, and at £239 those have superior connectivity and sports-specific functions. Despite sounding impressive though, they are not as impressive as these.

I also tested £179.99 Jabra Elite Active 75t earphones and, although they are better on a moving bike, once again the sound quality is not as good.

Overall

For turbo use, these are brilliant. Transparency mode works well when there's no wind noise to spoil things, the noise cancellation can even rid you of the turbo's whirring, and frankly these are some of the most beautiful-sounding earbuds I've used. They're also simple to operate.

If you're looking for earphones for indoor use on the turbo – or anywhere else besides on the road – you will be hard pressed to find any that sound better.

Verdict

The best sounding earbuds for turbo training, if not recommended for riding outside

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ earphones

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

B&O says: "Tuned by acclaimed sound engineers, true noise cancelling earphones delivering Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound. Enjoy powerful, authentic audio delivered by a 6.88 mm electro-dynamic new driver. The powerful audio performance is enhanced by a customisable fit for passive noise reduction."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Noise Isolation

Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation

Driver Type

Electro-dynamic, 6.8mm diameter

Driver Sensitivity

107dB +/- 3dB, 1kHz @-3 dBFS (max volume) with Bluetooth playback

Frequency Range

20 - 20,000 Hz

Impedance

17 Ohm +/-2.55 @ 1KHz

Customizable Sound EQ

Presets available and fully customisable through Bang & Olufsen App

Designer

Thomas Bentzen

Fit

True Wireless In ear

EarGels

4 pairs of silicone tips (XS, S,M,L)

COMPLY Isolation ear tips series 200 (Size M)

Materials

Hard anodised Aluminium in space craft grade quality

Polymer

Silicone

Dust and Waterproof Rating

IP54 (dust and splash/sweat resistant)

Dimensions (mm)

Earphones: 24 W x 22 H x 27 D

Charging case: 77 W x 40 H x 26 D

Weight

Earphones:

Right: 8g

Left: 8g

Charging case: 50 g (without earbuds)

Battery Life

Up to 6.5 hours with ANC

Up to 7.5 hours without ANC

Up to 20 hours with charging case at moderate volume

Charging Time

Earphones: approx. 1.5 h

Charging Case (USB-C): 1.40 h

Charging Case (Qi Wireless): 1.50 h

Charging for 20 minutes gives approximately 2 hours playback.

Battery Size

Earphones:

Right (Primary) 85 mAh

Left (Secondary) 85 mAh

Charging Case: 340 mAh

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5.2

Sound Codecs

SBC, AAC codec, aptX Adaptive

Microphone

6 x MEMS, omni-directional (beam directional for speech)

Inputs and Outputs

0.50 m USB-A to USB-C cable for Charging Qi Wireless Charging

- 5V DC / 500mA USB-C or 400mA Qi charged

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Well machined and sturdy case and premium-feeling earbuds.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Brilliant on a turbo; they excel in pretty much every other (indoor) situation. On the road wind noise is excessive in Transparency mode, but they're not designed for that. If you're happy using them like 'regular' headphones and blocking external sounds though, they're great.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Well made and feel like they will last.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Once I had got the ear tips right, they were very comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Inside on the turbo these work fantastically, and if you're happy to block external noise they're great on the road too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The sound quality - it is the best I have heard from wireless earbuds.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Transparency mode can't cope with wind noise over 10mph.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The AirPods Pro at £239 have superior connectivity and sports-specific functions, but despite impressive sound, the quality can't match these. I also tested the much cheaper (£179.99) Jabra Elite Active 75t and, although they are better on a moving bike, again the sound quality is not as good.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The sound quality of these is exceptional, and the noise cancelling mode is genuinely useful for indoor training. They are expensive though, and not well suited to on-road bike use. While they're not intended to be for sports, there are cheaper rivals that can do more... though the others can't match the sheer quality of the B&O's sound. As an overall prospect though, they're very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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