You’ve probably never heard of them and even if you have you probably chose to do better things with your money. Anyways, they are a Danish company that specializes in sound and never have the Europeans let us down when it comes to quality. The pair you see here are the Bang and Olufsen (B&O) beoplay H7’s. While everyone opted for fancy Apple watches for Christmas, I chose to explore the high end market of the headphone industry. These were obviously not cheap but, somebody has to buy them. The latest and greatest start at a microscopic €499. Your next question is, ‘is it worth it?’ (Watch the video). If you’re the kind of person that appreciates small detail then, definitely. Special attention to detail really makes them so much more than ‘regular’ headphones. The ear cups are from regular. They are first class seat in terms of build quality and high end materials. They come in two or three colors of your choice (don’t quote me on this). The ear cups are made of memory foam which makes them shape around your ears a bit better.
After unboxing the H7’s and connecting them to my phone, I was prompted to download the beoplay app where you can manage pre-made sound profiles as well as creating your own sound profiles. I couldn’t use the headphones yet because they needed a software update. I’m telling you this because I’m shocked at how sophisticated a pair of headphones can be. If you don’t want the extra app on your phone the default sound profile is flat via bluetooth and headphone jack connection. The overall sound quality is incredible and you can manipulate it to however you feel fit. It’s not over saturated in bass like some other headphones that shall not be named. Bare in mind you can only adjust sound profiles when you’re connected via bluetooth on the beoplay app. You can’t delete the app once you have your custom sound profile because the profile isn’t actually stored on the headphones themselves. That sucks especially when you connect your headphones to so many different devices like I do. There is good news though, I reached out to B&O and asked them if they could make it possible to save sound profiles on the actual headphones instead and the response was quite promising. (I think they have implemented this on the H9’s however when I used them it was only for pre-made sound profiles. I’m not sure if you can save custom sound profiles on there as yet).
After using the H7’s for a few months there are a few things that don’t make sense, like the charging cable which is probably the length of my index finger (I’m exaggerating but, it is very short). Maybe in Denmark the plugs are higher up on the wall and it’s the rest of the world that got it wrong but anyhow there’s not much wrong after that really. The downside is you do have to be quite flexible to put down this kind of money on what many would consider a luxury item. The battery life is advertised as 20 hours on wireless playback but I manage to get a solid week of usage. There’s a touch sensitive surface on the right ear cup for play/pause, skip/rewind, volume control and I think a microphone for phone calls because I did manage to use the H7’s with ease when I received calls. The whole touch surface is gesture based so if you want to skip a song you just swipe forward with one finger across the touch surface. What I love most is the case. It can be seen as a security feature because the the sack the headphones come with isn’t branded. That’s valuable to me because I do a lot of traveling. It’s high quality and very soft so it won’t scratch my iPad screen while its in my backpack.
The H7, H8 and H9 dilemma:
I could have gotten the H9’s if I waited for them but truth be told I don’t care about active noise cancellation which are both in the H8’s and H9’s. The H8’s were available but, the H8’s are on-ear headphones and not over-ear headphones like the H7’s and H9’s. The only difference between the H7’s and the H9’s is that the H9’s have active noise cancellation. After the H9’s launched, I went back to the store where I bought the H7’s and I must say the customer experience was incredible. No one knew the H9’s had arrived and B&O themselves weren’t advertising them at all at this point. As I was a pre-existing customer they got a pair of H9’s from the back and allowed me to test them before anyone knew they were even out. The company as a whole gives a satisfying experience and I would definitely recommend them as my company of choice when it comes to sound in general. I do intend on upgrading the the H9’s or possibly the H10’s (if they exist). What I would like to do is check out a more consumer targeted products such as the H4’s which just came out and possibly some in ear products as well.