The charg­ing case can recharge the ear­buds twice

Android Advisor - - Round-up -

charge in­side this case, so if you keep them there when they’re not in your ears, and then re­mem­ber to charge the case now and then, keeping the AirPods charged isn’t too much of a burden. The case it­self charges via a Light­ning port, so I just try to re­mem­ber to top it off while I’m using the AirPods at my desk.

In my tests, the AirPods eas­ily get Ap­ple’s stated five hours of mu­sic time per charge. I’m at five hours on my stop­watch right now, in fact, and the AirPods have 12 per­cent charge left ac­cord­ing to the Bat­tery wid­get in iOS 10. Ap­ple says the case should have about 24 hours of bat­tery life in it, and just 15 min­utes in the case can power your AirPods for three more hours (it got me from 4- to 79 per­cent). The AirPods make a sad lit­tle sound when they reach 10 per­cent, so you’ll know they’re al­most out of juice.

Con­nect­ing the AirPods to an iPhone for the first time is as easy as open­ing the case. A mes­sage pops up on the iPhone of­fer­ing to con­nect, and when you do, the AirPods also ap­pear in the Blue­tooth menu of any Macs (run­ning macOS Sierra) you use with the same iCloud ac­count. Switching to an iPad and Ap­ple Watch with the same iCloud ac­count is sim­i­larly easy, and you don’t have to trick your iPhone into un­pair­ing with the AirPods to lis­ten to them on a dif­fer­ent de­vice. They’re al­ways paired to ev­ery­thing, and you can just select AirPods on that thing and press play.

The back of the charg­ing case has a round white but­ton that’s barely vis­i­ble. With the AirPods in the open case, you can press and hold that but­ton to turn a tiny LED in the case white. That means they’re in pair­ing mode, and you can pair them to an An­droid phone or another Blue­tooth de­vice, al­though without Siri or the ex­tra fea­tures.

For iPhone and iPad users, you can’t find an bet­ter set of ear­buds for ease of pair­ing. You should know, how­ever, AirPods aren’t as easy to use as other true wire­less ear­buds for con­trol­ling your mu­sic. It also has ter­ri­ble pas­sive sound can­cel­la­tion, so you’ll hear a lot of the world around you when using it.

Best true wire­less head­phones for au­dio­philes B&O’s Beo­play E8 Price: £269 inc VAT from fave.co/2CZOQae

Let’s get this out of the way: The B&O Beo­play E8 true wire­less ear­phones cost £269. Be­ing both a

cheap­skate and a mu­sic afi­cionado, I tried, hard, to con­vince my­self that other less ex­pen­sive true wire­less head­phones that I’ve tested sound just as good, or bet­ter, than the E8s do. But they don’t. If you de­mand the best pos­si­ble sound in a com­pact, wire-free pack­age, these are the head­phones to get.

The E8 ear­phones are con­structed from light­weight poly­mer with alu­minium ac­cents. As each ear­bud weighs about 7g each, most peo­ple won’t find it a burden to have them jammed into their skull for hours at a time – pro­vided they’ll fit. In­stead of using rub­ber fins, or hook­ing into your ears like other in-ear head­phones do, the E8s stay in place by be­ing thrust into the open­ing of your ear canal. That they come with four dif­fer­ent sizes of sil­i­con tips to en­sure a

se­cure fit as well as a set of Com­ply­foam foam tips helps to en­sure a good fit – but you might want to buy them from a shop or on­line store with a solid re­turn pol­icy, just in case.

Avail­able in black or char­coal colour schemes, the E8’s taste­ful style run con­trary to their au­da­cious price. B&O’s Art Deco logo graces the cap of each ear­bud, along with a me­tal­lic ac­cent. That’s it. Sized at 152x152x51mm, they’re nei­ther the small­est nor the largest true wire­less head­phones that we’ve seen. When I in­serted them in my ears, I found that they were no­tice­able, but not awk­wardly so, like the Bose SoundS­port Free.

Then there’s the E8’s leather-bound charg­ing case. Next to the one that comes with Ap­ple’s AirPods, it’s

the small­est, sleek­est charg­ing case that we’ve come across. You should know that the E8 are not in any way weather re­sis­tant. If you’re look­ing for some­thing to wear at the gym, look else­where.

B&O states that when played at a moderate vol­ume, their E8 head­phones should run for four hours be­fore need­ing to be topped up. With the two ad­di­tional charges that the carry case holds, you can ex­pect around 12 hours of to­tal use be­fore the works need to be charged via Mi­cro-USB. I found this bat­tery us­age es­ti­mate to be ac­cu­rate.

Tin­ker­ing with vol­ume, play­ing/paus­ing or chang­ing mu­sic tracks, tak­ing a call, or en­gag­ing au­dio trans­parency (more on that in a se­cond) is all done through the use of tap­ping or hold­ing your fin­ger against a touch panel built into the side of the ear­buds. I found that touch was reg­is­tered by the E8 90 per­cent of the time, with worse re­sults oc­cur­ring when my fin­gers were wet or cold. Through the use of the free B&O app for iOS or An­droid, it’s pos­si­ble to tweak the amount of au­dio trans­parency that the head­phones pro­vide and to mod­ify the sound pro­file with a num­ber of pre­sets or with ones that you come up with your­self.

No mat­ter whether you lis­ten to them using their fac­tory pre­set pro­file or tweak your tunes, you’ll find that the E8s sound very, very good, es­pe­cially for Blue­tooth ear­phones. Each ear­bud con­tains a 5.7mm elec­tro-dy­namic driver, and of­fer a fre­quency range of 20- to 20,000Hz. Using their de­fault au­dio pro­file, they of­fer a stun­ning wide sound­stage, with slightly for­ward bass, that was warm and punchy, but never

over­whelm­ing. The warm mids and clear highs that the head­phones pro­duced made ev­ery­thing I lis­ten to, from Ac­quiraga Drom to Ży­wio­lak, sound amaz­ing.

But, the price. At £269, they’re one of the most ex­pen­sive pairs of true wire­less head­phones we’ve re­viewed, so far. Over the course of using the E8s, I re­peat­edly asked my­self whether they were worth the price. My an­swer: if you can af­ford to splurge on a lux­ury item like this, ab­so­lutely.

While they rate among the most ex­pen­sive true wire­less head­phones we’ve tested, the B&O Beo­play E8 are without a doubt, the best sound­ing and most lux­u­ri­ous-feel­ing head­phones that we’ve tested. If you can af­ford them, you’ll most likely be very pleased with your pur­chase.

A lit­tle LED in­side the case glows green when the AirPods are mostly charged, orange when they need charge. A more ac­cu­rate me­ter is on the iPhone

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