By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
Whether on the go or kicking back, wireless Beoplay E8 earphones stay charged
Beoplay E8 “true wireless” in-ear headphones sound as great as they look. They’re part of the big new trend in earphones unconnected to any audio cable but rather linked wirelessly. That means they’re unobtrusive enough to be worn comfortably with few people even noticing you’re plugged in to the ether.
Apple, Sony and Jabra have all gone “true wireless” with earphone sets, and now B&O, part of Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen Group of high-priced sonic gear, is firmly on the bandwagon.
The tiny E8 set in a gorgeous shade called Charcoal Sand has a touch-sensitive panel on each ear-piece for controlling music playback and other functions like taking phone calls.
The housing – with an anodised-metal ring bearing the laser-etched B&O logo – is textured, highly durable rubber and polymer that resists moisture as well as wear and tear.
The earplugs are comfortably worn for hours, just 23x20x25mm. The right bud weighs seven grams, the left six.
The charging case is also small – 73x47x33mm and 45g – easily carried in a trouser pocket or handbag. Use it to give the earbuds two additional charges, extending playback time from four hours to 12. You charge up the charging case via a micro USB port and a provided 1.2-metre USBA to micro-USB cord.
A Digital Signal Processor allows for tuning with equalisation and gain and, once the buds are properly fitted in your ears, the bass will wobble you. Precise fit is ensured by a choice of five ear tips in different sizes.
Each bud uses a 5.7mm electro-dynamic driver that deliver frequency responses from 20 to 20,000Hz.
You have Bluetooth 4.2 to connect to your smartphone, which has to be done at less than 20cm between left and right earphones. You touch them together and hold for five seconds to initiate the Bluetooth pairing.
Then switch on Bluetooth on your device and select “Beoplay E8”. An indicator turns solid blue when pairing is successful.
So now you have a Bluetooth headset, handily controlled with the touch-sensitive panels at the back of the buds. Turn on the E8 with a touch to the back of right earpad, the master control.
Touch the right side again to pause and play music. Touch it twice to skip a track. Touch the left earpad – the “slave” – twice to go back to the previous track. Touch and hold the right pad to increase volume. Touch and hold the left pad to decrease.
When you get a phone call, touch either earpad to take it, touch and hold to reject, touch twice to end the call.
It might all be a little confusing at first, but the gestures soon become second nature.
While I was testing the E8, using the omni-directional MEMS microphone, my phone conversations were quite audible back and forth.
There’s no risk of inadvertently walking into traffic while wearing the E8 on the street fully engaged in your music. B&O Play provides a “transparency” mode.
Customise this mode using the Beoplay App on a connected phone. There are three choices – Ambient, Social and Commuting.
Ambient turns off the music so you can hear the sounds surrounding you without having to remove the earpads. Social mode lowers the volume so you can hear people talking to you. Commuting lowers the volume sufficiently to hear announcements on the train, for example.
All of these functions toggle on and off with a touch to the left earpad.
Beoplay App is very handy. It displays the level of battery of E8 and it gives you full control over the characteristics of your sound. Four presents of equalisers are provided as Commute, Clear, Workout and Podcast.
Now you get to customise the sound. Drag the white spot around the screen into the desired kind of sound. Shown in four sections on the screen are Warm, Excited, Relaxed and Bright. Find the one you like, give it a unique name, and save it in memory.
“Warm” gives you heavier bass, “Bright” more mid-tones and highs.
I mainly kept the equaliser turned off so I could hear the authentic sounds as tuned by the B&O engineers. They obviously know a lot about music clarity and solid bass, and it was good enough for me.
RTB Technology distributes the Beoplay E8 for Bt13,000. Find it at iStudio, King Power, Munkong Gadget, Soundproofbros, Digital Lab Siam Discovery, Power Mall, Power Buy, Be Trend, BKK Audio and Jaymart and online at Lazada, 11street, 24shopping, Mercular, Wemall and Gadgetthai.net.
Beoplay E8: KEY SPECS
– Drivers: 5.7mm electro-dynamic
– Frequency response: 2020,000Hz
– Bluetooth: 4.2, AAC codec
– Microphone: MEMS, omni-directional
– Provided eartips: four pairs, XS, X, M, L, silicone, and one pair M with foam tips
– Battery: Rechargeable lithiumi-on with four hours’ playback. Charging case provides two more charges
– Dimensions: Buds 23x20x25mm, charging case 73x47x33mm
– Weight: Right bud 7g, left bud 6g, charging case 45g