Bang & Olufsen is taking its excellent track record for delivering maximum quality, natural-sounding audio and wrapping it in a sports-oriented package with the Beoplay E8 Sport ($350). These totally wireless earbuds come with a long list of great features, including IP57 water resistance, 30 total hours of battery life including up to seven hours on a single charge, and transparency mode for external audio pass-through.

The basics

The E8 Sport is a new version of the three-generation E8 totally wireless earphone that Bang & Olufsen has produced for a while now. It’s the first in the series to feature sport-specific water and sweat-resistance. That’s not to say you couldn’t probably get away with using the existing E8 headphones for exercise (I definitely have), but the the E8 Sport’s IP57 rating, you can be confident they’ll stand up to a run in the rain or any amount of sweat, since they’re technically able to be fully submerged in shallow water for as long as 30 minutes.

These aren’t for swimming, however; that water resistance gets you durability, as well as the option to quickly run them under water to clean them off if you so desire. It’s basically a peace-of-mind feature, but a welcome one.

The E8 Sport also includes a new more rubberized exterior finish, a charge case that offers just slightly less reserve power (only by around 30 minutes) but that provides USB-C and wireless charging as well as 23 hours of backup battery life on top of the seven contiained in the earbuds themselves.

You’ll also get four different sizes of silicone earbuds, as well as one set of Medium Comply memory foam tips, and there are three sets of different sized silicone fins that provide a bit more anchor stability in your ear for when you’re using these while running or doing other vigour exercise. The Beoplay E8 Sport is available in two basic colors, including a pastel turquoise called ‘oxygen blue’ and black. There’s also a new special edition created with partner On, the Swiss running brand, which features a contrast color grand and gray design.

Inside, Bang & Olufsen has used mostly the same internals as you’ll find in the standard, non-sport E8 – which means you can expect the same great sound that B&O is known for.

Design and performance

The E8 Sport is a new approach to design for Bang & Olufsen, featuring a more rugged, rubberized exterior vs. the smooth finish of the E8. The case of the E8 is also finished in leather, but the E8 Sport is likewise rubberized plastic. Both feature narrow ridges in their construction as well, which helps with grip, especially when there’s sweat involved.

Unlike a lot of other sport-specific products, the Beoplay Sport E8 still manages to feel mostly understated and refined, however. The buds themselves are pretty low profile when in the ear, and the black version especially will definitely fly under the radar. The ‘oxygen blue’ version has a little more flare, but still presents softer rather than bold or bright.

Inlaid on the face of each bud is an aluminum ring, along with the B&O logo overprinted on the touch-sensitive button faces. The overall look definitely distinguishes them from the standard E8, but doesn’t venture so far afield that you’re left wondering whether they were actually made by the same company.

Performance-wise, the E8 Sport lives up to all its promises, providing long-lasting battery life, excellent passive sound isolation, remarkably clarity and sound separation and a super secure fit. I used them in a variety of different situations, including during 30-minute plus runs, and they offered great connection quality and sound throughout. Especially for a set of sport buds, I was really impressed by the sound quality – normally, I find that in this category manufacturers sacrifice quality for muddy bass, but not so with the E8 Sport.

That’s what really makes these great: They’re all-around earbuds that you can use for exercise, in all weather conditions, and for quiet enjoyment at home, too, thanks to their supreme audio quality. If you want one set of wireless earphones that can do it all, without compromises, these are it.

The B&O app allows you to fine-tune the sound profile to your preferences, as well, and you can easily control playback and access the built-in transparency features using the touch-sensitive earbud control surfaces. All of this works whether you’re in the middle of a run or a conference call, and the call quality is excellent, too. In my testing, people I spoke on the phone with said it was a vast improvement over even using the handset held up to my face, and even approached the sound quality of my podcast (where I use pro audio equipment).

Bottom line

The wireless earbud market is very crowded and getting busier all the time, with plenty of options at a variety of price points. Bang & Olufsen has already delivered what I consider to be the best audio quality on the market with their current third-generation E8, and the new E8 Sport provides all that great sound along with awesome durability, too.

Source link