B&O Play Earset wireless earphones review

Unusual by design

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Our Verdict

The B&O Play Earset wireless earphones sound great with over-ear hooks holding them up nicely in your ears. That's much needed as the plugs are rather large and sometimes uncomfortable in your ears.

For

  • Great sound
  • USB-C charging
  • Piston holds them up nicely

Against

  • Somewhat large and uncomfortable
  • Controls on the cord are hard to reach
  • Not truly wireless

Bang & Olufsen is no stranger to in-ear headphones - we've already reviewed the completely wireless Beoplay E8 a few months back. The B&O Play Earset that we're looking at today is also positioned as wireless, but it  has a cord running between the two earbuds which is a design similar to Google's Pixel Buds.

It's difficult to create an in-ear product that fits all ears and the Earset is no different. However, the piston and earhooks will keep them in place for almost everyone, despite causing a slightly unweildly listening experience.

Price and availability

Like every other B&O product we've looked at, the Earset is pricey at AED 1,199 (US$ 325), but you get a product that is made with premium materials and has a beautiful finish. 

They're already on sale across the UAE and you can pick them up in Bang & Olufsen stores and at Virgin Megastore, Harvey Nichols, Jumbo Electronics, Dubai Duty Free, iStyle and selected Etisalat premium lounges.

Design

The B&O Earset is a pair of wireless earphones connected with a cord between them. Each side has a 360 degree rotating piston made of aluminium, and has ear hooks that can be curved to fit just about any human ear.

The packaging is classy as one would expect from B&O and other that the earphones, you'll find a USB cable for charging as well as a few ear pads that are not very easy to equip. 

Bang & Olufsen is making them available in two colors - White and Graphite Brown. We received the white ones for review but we must say that, at least in press shots, the Graphite Brown look nicer.

Each ear piece is held by a shiny piece of aluminium piston that also extends as a ear hook. In order to keep the material comfortable behind your ears, B&O has covered the ear hook with a soft material. 

However, this is B&O we're talking about and that soft material is split into three pieces with silver metal rings between them to add a dash of style. The extremely minimal styling does have a slight drawback - there is no marking for the left or right pieces and you'll need to learn that the one with the charging port is the left one.

Like all newer Beoplay products, the charging port is of the Type-C variety which makes it convenient to charge the Earset with the same cable as your Android phone (there's a charging cable included, should you need it).

Located close to the left ear piece is the control bar with three buttons that can control volume levels, play/pause, skip tracks or launch the voice assistant. Getting to these buttons is a bit tricky though. They're easy to reach of you have the cord hanging below your neck but that makes the Earset look a bit messy.

Moving the cord behind your neck gives the Earset a much cleaner look but then the buttons also move behind your ears which makes it a hassle to reach them. 

Performance

The Earset makes use of a 14.2mm speaker unit and neodymium magnet for each earphone. Acoustic vents around the enclosure and a bass port deliver a rich sound, with digital equalisers in the Bluetooth chipset aiming to reduce a quality drop when receiving audio.

Interestingly, the earbuds are designed to sit just within your outer ear, rather than sitting in the ear canal which is what you're used to with traditional earphones. In order to do so, the size of each tip is intentionally kept large so you don't shove it inside.

That feels a bit weird because you're used to inserting earphones into your ear canal, but the Earset intentionally doesn't do this with the reason that the sound is perceived as clearer and allows you to hear your surrounding as well. While this may be the case, you might not realize your co-worker is talking to you if volume levels are turned up.

The Bluetooth range of the Earset is quite wide. We tested it in our office with multiple wireless radios present, and the Earset managed to keep the connection continuous with our Pixel 2 XL a good twenty feet away.

B&O claims a battery life of five hours on the Earset which we think holds true in our tests. Recharging is fast, and the Type-C connection makes it convenient to use the same cable as your phone charger, especially when travelling.

There's no mention of the Earset being waterproof so we wouldn't take them close to the pool or the gym.

Final verdict

The B&O Earset are an interesting take on the earphones market. They're well constructed and look good, and with the help of ear hooks stay on your ears no matter what type of activity you're involved in.

Sound quality is also very impressive and the five our battery life, while not the best in class, keep the earphones working for a decent amount of time. We especially like the USB Type-C charger.

The unusual fit of the earphones resting in your ears wasn't the most comfortable experience, especially because the larger tips that, by design, stop them from going into your ear canal. We're also not big fans on the controls placement on the cord.

At AED 1,199, the product is expensive as well, but that is something that comes along with the B&O's brand. We highly recommend trying them in-store to see how you feel about their comfort before splashing out on them.