B&O Play H8

The Dan­ish de­sign guru takes on the Blue­tooth head­phone mar­ket

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT - Man­u­fac­turer Bang & Olufsen, beo­play.com Fre­quency 20Hz-20KHz Con­nec­tiv­ity Blue­tooth 4.0, 3.5mm ca­ble Weight 255g

Bang & Olufsen has a rich his­tory of designing high-end, lux­u­ri­ous au­dio kit that looks as good as it per­forms. The H8 on-ear head­phones are no dif­fer­ent. An­nounced at CES 2015 and now avail­able, the H8 is B&O’s first set of Blue­tooth cans and the first with ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion.

The un­box­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is pretty ex­cit­ing. The H8s are pre­sented – in all their leather and an­odised alu­minium glory – folded flat. You know th­ese are a pre­mium set of ’phones from the off­set. The leather head­band, lamb­skin earpads and alu­minium, look and feel stunning. And they are hugely com­fort­able. Beats th­ese ain’t.

As well as look­ing good, the H8s have some in­no­va­tive fea­tures. They’re wire­less (although you can plug a ca­ble in – more on this in a bit) and they fea­ture in­tu­itive pres­sure-sen­si­tive con­trols on the right earcup. Tap the mid­dle to play/ pause, ro­tate your fin­ger around the cir­cum­fer­ence to turn vol­ume up and down, swipe left and right to skip tracks and swipe up and down to turn ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion on and off. Af­ter around a day of use, this be­came sec­ond na­ture – it’s ex­tremely good. Noise can­cel­la­tion is also ex­cel­lent. The sound? Highs are re­fined, bass is warm yet not over­pow­er­ing. Think neu­tral with a bit of warmth. Of course, th­ese are aimed squarely at the smart­phone com­muter: they are light, sound great and are in­cred­i­bly por­ta­ble.

The only real dis­ap­point­ment is the qual­ity of the sup­plied ca­ble, for when you don’t want to use the Blue­tooth func­tion­al­ity – it’s sur­pris­ingly poor. There’s also no in­line mic – which would have been a nice ad­di­tion (just give us the ca­ble that’s in­cluded with the H6s!).

If you’re into stylish, great­sound­ing head­phones you can use with­out the in­con­ve­nience of wires, the H8s are a great buy. But you have to have a rel­a­tively large wal­let to af­ford them. Rob Car­ney Tablet de­vices have changed the com­put­ing land­scape. Noth­ing is more in­tu­itive than your own sense of touch and once you get used to in­ter­act­ing with a GUI us­ing just your fin­gers, it’s easy to imag­ine key­boards re­duced to al­most afterthoughts in fu­ture. (Just look at the Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro, for ex­am­ple.)

Maybe you’re okay with­out a key­board, never mind a track­pad. And that’s fine. But ev­ery lap­top key­board serves an aux­il­iary func­tion as a stand, and you don’t get one of those with an iPad – you have to use your hand, and that can be pretty tir­ing.

En­ter Lynk­tec’s alu­minium Grip & Go 360˚ Grip Stand. Its mi­cro­suc­tion tech­nol­ogy-equipped pad grips di­rectly onto the back of any tablet – and even any case, in our ex­pe­ri­ence – with­out the use of messy ad­he­sives. True to its name, the stand of­fers 360˚ of ro­ta­tion thanks to an eight-di­rec­tional swivel head, mak­ing the switch be­tween por­trait and land­scape ori­en­ta­tion a cinch.

The hinge can be in­de­pen­dently ad­justed for just the right view­ing an­gle, and if you need to re­move and re-at­tach the kick­stand later, the pad leaves no residue and loses none of its grip. It’s light and folds neatly too, so leav­ing it on isn’t an is­sue ei­ther.

Stylish, high-end head­phones with the con­ve­nience of Blue­tooth. Add the touch con­trols and you have a win­ner!

We love the fact you move your fin­ger around the can to ad­just the vol­ume.

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