Comfortable noise-canceling headphones are a luxury that many home workers and again more and more commuters are reluctant to pass up. The B&O Beoplay HX tries to convince with its ‘look’ and battery life.
The Beoplay HX are the latest ‘over-the-ear’ headphones from Bang & Olufsen. Equipped with Bluetooth and noise reduction, this device is a follow-up to the H9, the main difference being that it carries slightly less weight. At 285 grams, it is even one of the lighter headphones in this class.
And you also feel that lower weight. The device is very comfortable, with flexible ear cups that do not press on your head too quickly. The shells themselves are made of aluminum and are available in three soft colors, from gray to brown. The cushions are made of soft leather, and the strap at the top of textile and leather. The whole feels very pleasant, even for longer periods.
We are also won over by the view, which we would rather call classic and already classy. Although you may expect that in this segment. With a price tag of about 500 euros, this device is among the more expensive ‘noise canceling’ headsets in its genre, and for the higher middle segment it may already look and feel a bit more luxurious.
But does it sound like that? Honestly, we weren’t immediately blown away by the sound quality. The technology for noise canceling has meanwhile come so far that you can go to multiple devices for good sound and noise suppression in different positions.
The noise reduction of the HX works with four digital microphones that are supposed to filter out the ambient noise. In addition, software must provide Adaptive ANC or ‘active noise canceling’ that adapts to your environment. That works neatly, but you should not expect ultimate silence here. Due to its somewhat thinner, lighter ear cups, some sound will always seep through.
Regardless of the noise reduction, the Beoplay HX sounds good, but not spectacular. Technically, all the boxes are checked otherwise. With 40mm drivers in the ear cups, you arrive at a frequency of 20 to 22,000 Hz. The HX also works with Bluetooth 5.1 and the latest codecs for a good sound connection. If you really want to get the most out of it, you can also connect the device to your music player via an audio jack.
The sound is nicely balanced and certainly good enough for everyday use, both for music and voice (from podcasts and phone calls). A device like this seems to us to be especially good for working from home and commuters who want to work in peace and listen to music. However, for the music connoisseur who wants to play large FLAC files and hear every nuance in them, even on a full train to Brussels, the headphones seem a bit too light.
During our test, we flawlessly linked the device to our smartphone. If you want to further adjust your sound experience yourself, you can download an app for Android and iOS. For example, you get listening modes such as Clear, Relaxed, Warm and Energetic. You can also add your own sound profiles. You can also control the noise suppression with this, although there is just a button on the device itself that switches between active noise canceling and a more transparent mode with which you can still hear cars coming when you walk on the street.
The app is therefore not really necessary to get the thing to work. In addition to the ANC button, you can also adjust volume directly on the headphones. This is done via swipe movements on the earcup, although we must immediately add that they were not always properly registered. You can pause the music or take calls again by tapping the ear cup with your finger. That works better, but also requires a certain amount of practice.
Finally, for a device like this, we should definitely talk about battery life. That is one of the best on this market. With ANC enabled you can count on about 35 hours of playing time. Without noise reduction, the gadget will play for up to forty hours without having to charge it.
Overall, these are very good headphones. The Beoplay HX stands above the pack in wearing comfort, style (if that’s your thing) and battery life. The sound quality and ANC are both very decent, but not exceptional.