True wireless earbud-style headphones are commonplace nowadays, ever since the Apple AirPods were introduced, they grew massively in popularity.
Our favourites at the moment are the Sony WF-1000X, which are similar to AirPods but with excellent sound and effective noise cancellation. The Beoplay E8, too, are like AirPods – but they look and sound much much better.
Bang and Olufsen always hit the mark when it comes to design and the Beoplay E8's are no exception. They’re the smartest-looking true wireless earphones I’ve tested.
Less is more when it comes earbud-style headphones, these are a subtle slim design that mixes plastic with aluminium.
Along with the thoughtful design of the headphones themselves is the case design. It’s a leather-bound pebble-shaped unit, with a braided fabric strap attached. The materials used feel warm and tactile and give a sense of true style.
Place the buds into the charging case, and magnets within ensure they fit with a reassuring snap. This triggers a sensor, and the buds automatically power down, the lid, also, is held shut with magnets.
In the box, there area handful of different-sized ear tips to choose from. I found the process of trying the different tips was a little irritating but, but once I achieved a good fit, the buds felt secure in place.
I ended up choosing the foam ear tips, I found them more flexible and comfortable than the others.
The Beoplay E8 are some of the most advanced true wireless earphones around, which are are also resistant to splashes of water and dust.
The buds use touch-sensitive pads to control music and take calls. Tap the right ear once to pause/play and double-tap to ski a track; double-tap the left to rewind. You hold the right ear to increase volume, and the left to lower it. The touchpad is pretty sensitive and works well; it’s far easier than having to fumble around for a button.
While there’s no noise cancellation, there is a ‘Transparency’ feature, toggled on or off by tapping the left ear once. This enables audio passthrough, so you don’t entirely shut the world out. It’s useful for maintaining awareness of your surroundings – when you’re crossing a busy street for example.
There are three levels of audio passthrough, which you can adjust in the Beoplay app. Once you’ve chosen your setting in the app, the buds stay on that setting unless you want to change it. The app also lets you tweak the EQ and download firmware updates.
The app is not the best I've come across. It’s buggy, connecting to the earphones only around 50% of the time, and it can be slow to react at times. But you’re connected, changing the EQ and transparency settings is easy.
The Beoplay app is optional, to be honest they work perfectly well without it – just hold the touch pads to enable pairing and your phone will take care of the rest.
The battery life gives you four hours usage from a single charge, which is typical of true wireless earphones. A fully charged case holds enough power for a further two full charges, so you’re looking at a total of 12 hours. The case itself is charged via a provided micro-USB cable.
The Beoplay E8 sound is excellent. But getting the right fit is very important so that you can appreciate some of the best-sounding true wireless earphones on the market today. If the seal isn't right you will notice a severe drop in the quality of the sound.
The sound is clean and it’s a transparent listen with plenty of detail and texture across the frequencies.
Tonally it’s a balanced, neutral presentation. That makes for a natural and convincing listen, you might want to experiment with the EQ in the app if you like your music to display a lot of oomph. That said, the Beoplay E8 are not lacking energy or dynamism – there’s plenty of it, but it can vary depending on the type of music you are listening to.
These earphones are nuanced and insightful enough that you can easily differentiate between files of varying quality, something that isn’t possible with lesser headphones.
In my opinion, if you want good sound quality in a pair of true wireless earbud headphones then these should be high on your list.
Bluetooth performance here is solid. Sat in the office or walking around in the house, I rarely experienced dropouts between the Beoplay E8 and my Samsung S8.
If you’re looking for tasteful style and want decent sound quality, then there are plenty of reasons to buy the Beoplay E8.
They are not the cheapest on the market but you are paying for quality. They are a luxurious design, whether it's the headphones or the case you have that reassuring feeling of getting what you pay for.
The Sony WF-1000X do offer better sound quality and also feature noise cancellation.
As far as Apple users go, if you want rock solid connectivity then opt for the Apple AirPods, as for looks and sound quality the Beoplay E8 are quite simply better.