B&O Beoplay H5 Wireless In Ear Headphones Review
Bang & Olufsen are back with their latest high spec in ears – the Beoplay H5 Wireless. We loved the overall experience with the full size Beoplay H9 a few weeks ago, let’s see if these new in ears live up to the hype.
Let’s get straight to the point, these Beoplay H5’s are flipping amazing to look at – every bit of high end design has been thrown at these & to our eye they look & feel absolutely stunning. If you are looking for the hands down prettiest wireless in ears on the market right now, stop reading right now as you’ve just found them… nothing else comes close.
The tech specs of the Beoplay H5 are impressive, featuring bluetooth 4.2, aptX for improved sound quality & less compression, the rarely seen aptX Low Latency which gives you perfectly synced audio when watching TV, 5 hour battery life.
You get everything you need in the box, 3 sets of foam Comply ear tips plus 4 sets of soft silicone ear tips, a few small cable management clips, a soft carry pouch, and the stylish magnetic charge station.
Opening the box reveals a real ‘thing of beauty’, the construction of the Beoplay H5 is really a ‘best of’ collection of premium materials & design. Make no mistake, a big chunk of that sticker price is all to do with look & feel – but if you care for that – you will be getting a great experience here from B&O.
The earpieces themselves are slightly textured & soft touch, the connecting cord is noticeably thicker than standard & nicely fabric braided, and the obligatory control pod that hangs from the left ear piece is super smooth & svelte. When paying a higher than average price for headphones we really need to feel like we are getting something special for the money – and this is certainly the case here with the Beoplay H5.
I’m gushing a bit – quick summary – they look & feel superb! I guess the nearest competitor with anything like this kind of look & design approach would be the Sennheiser Momentum In Ear Wireless which we recently saw. I think from a look & feel / quality of overall construction standpoint the Beoplay H5 are right up there with the best.
Everything in the spec is awesome for a high end pair of wireless in ears – but that battery life is going to be an issue for some. The Beoplay H5 come complete with a really nice magnetic charging cube, and go from empty to 100% in about 2 hours – but a 5 hour life means you are probably going to have to carry that charge cube in your bag if doing any serious traveling, or for commuting use, make sure you are happy to have the Beoplay H5 join your phone in the nightly charging ritual.
In practice we didn’t see any problems with the battery life, and 5 hours is probably enough for most people too (unless being used maybe for long distance travel). The main issue with the battery life is just that you will have to be organized with charging them up more regularly than some of the competition.
The Beoplay H5 do have a magnet in each earbud, so you can clip them together & wear like a necklace to keep them safely in place whilst not in use, which we like. They auto detect being clipped together & switch off automatically to preserve a bit of that precious battery juice too. We’ve seen that feature on other headphones like the Beats X, but no other headphones have been quite as clever as the H5’s at cutting the power.
Getting the fit just right was a little trickier than usual, but luckily there are plenty of ear tips provided. We settled on one size larger in the left ear bud to the right ear bud & that gave a nice secure fit. The Beoplay H5 are marketed for sports & exercise use & the earbuds are rated as sweat & dust proof – but in our view they are not an ideal workout partner. Once the correct size ear tips are set up they felt pretty secure, but for really active use we think you will find better suited ear buds elsewhere as the Beoplay H5 always felt at risk of being knocked or falling out in the gym.
Around the house, or for travel & commuting, they felt great & we never had an issue – we just wouldn’t trust them for that epic gym session or 10k run. But I guess that’s not the point of the H5’s either. The sound delivery & premium build is all about ‘typical users’ and not maximum sonic attack for gym users or runners…. it all makes sense.
B&O Beoplay H5 wireless in ears – Sound quality & Performance
So – on to the main event for the Beoplay H5 review – how do they sound?
The sound delivery from the Beoplay H5 is also a little special – not just because you get every high tech audio enhancing protocol (aptX, aptX low latency, and AAC), but because B&O have set the default sound profile aiming towards accuracy rather than bass boosted madness.
Listening at the default settings gives a finely balanced & delicate rendition of music, with finely controlled bass that doesn’t threaten to overpower the warm & full midrange. High end response is full of crispness & clarity, with female vocals coming through exceptionally well. It’s a great, well rounded sound delivery that feels like it has been set up to be inoffensive right out of the box.
We’ve heard comments that the bass is lacking, but in truth we think that is mainly due to comparison with other more fashion oriented headphones that come as default with a major bass boost. Don’t fret, if a bit more excitement & punch is what you are looking for then a quick tweak with the B&O app (available on iPhone & Android devices) will get that for you in spades.
The B&O app can be used to quickly & easily tweak the sound output to your own preference, to be honest we would recommend everyone to use it & get the most from the delicious H5’s – they really need that little tweak to sound ‘just right’ and without it can come across less than their best.
It’s easy to gain that extra energy from the Beoplay H5 to suit your listening tastes & yet still maintain that separation & clarity throughout the frequency range. A harder trick is to do it the other way round with a strongly boosted pair of headphones. So for pulling off that trick with style we applaud this approach from B&O.
Also worth noting is that the Beoplay H5 have the aptX low latency protocol, so can serve double duty & be used when watching TV or video & avoid the lip sync lag of models without the special low latency setup. It’s very unusual to see wireless in ears with this low latency protocol, and it makes a huge difference when watching video’s on the laptop whilst travelling. You might need a dongle on your laptop to enable the feature, but these are available for little money on Amazon / eBay.
If you are an iPhone 7 user & have been hunting around for something better than airpods, these would be a decent choice.
- Feature Set 91%
- Build Quality 94%
- Sound Quality 92%
- Value for Money 81%
- Overall Rating 88%
B&O Beoplay H5 Review – Final Thoughts
Superb design & build quality, with a special quality that is a delight to behold. The Beoplay H5 in ear wireless headphones deliver a top notch sound in a beautiful package that will delight many.
The 5 hour battery life & slightly tricky fit will be an issue for some, but for a lot of people the specialness will win the day & we think they will be very happy. It’s all about the specialness – and the Beoplay H5 are definitely a very special pair of in ears!
Price at time of review: UK £199 / US $249
Beoplay H5 Wireless In Ears – Spec Breakdown
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
Connection Bluetooth 4.2, AAC, apt-X, apt-X Low Latency
Battery 2x Rechargeable Lithium Ion (2x 50mAh)
Recharge Time approx 2hrs
Battery Runtime 5hrs
Frequency Response 20Hz – 20,000Hz
Sound Pressure Level N/A
Total Harmonic Distortion N/A
Active Noise Cancellation N/A