Any brand who celebrates their success with flagship stores in exclusive locales should not show any weakness when it comes to their product offering. Let’s see if the Beoplay H4, the latest addition to the Bang & Olufsen family and a Bluetooth variant on an existing model, is flying the brand flag for all the right reasons.
The Danes have always demonstrated good taste when it comes to their products. The B&O Mobile Listening Division upholds this reputation well with the stylish H4 over-ears. These headphones are immediately convincing with their colour and form, while material selection and workmanship are both top notch. Lamb leather ear cushions, fabric lining along the inner side of the stainless steel headband, plus rubberised aluminium ear shells all combine for an unmistakable sense of quality and incredible value for money when you consider the asking price.
The unpacking of a product like this is always a fun experience. We were immediately excited when a boxed device bearing the B&O Play label landed on our desk. After removing a hefty cardboard lid, the Beoplay H4 beams out at you. The charcoal grey model we were sent for testing purposes was nestled safely in a blue mould, with the device removed deftly thanks to two cloth pulls. Two additional box compartments contained the USB charging cable (at 25cm in length), plus a 1.2 metre audio cable with 3.5mm jacks. Additionally, an instruction manual can also be found inside. This manual gives you an outline of the functions and controls of the device, while also also specifying that the H4 is app-friendly, supporting compatibility with both Android and Apple software.
The Beoplay app provides management of the entire operation of this device. The H4 can be personalised by selecting colour/design options, while presets can be created with ease by the user in order to define various preferences, recalling them instantly at any time. Battery charging level is also announced with the use of the app.
There is no EQ in the traditional sense, but a matrix that can be adjusted to Warm, Excited, Relaxed and Bright is available.
As a lover of audio devices of all kinds and a habitual user of them, I naturally prefer the most precise frequency setting possible. However, I’m a supporter of the choice by the manufacturer to opt for the consumer-friendly ‘Simple’ variant found here.
I admit that I’ve been quite thorough in my assessment of the sound capabilities of this model. By profession, I’m more of an analytical listener and, when listening to audio via this headphone model, I found myself yearning for something more with most material. The trend is clearly toward more “warm” listening here. After cycling through our Spotify test playlist, it transpired that the H4 doesn’t apply broad strokes as a general rule. Instead, the warm quality tended to factor heavily only when listening to more bass-heavy pieces. Due to this, I opted for a happy medium between Relaxed and Bright within the matrix app developed for use with these headphones, which quickly established itself as my go-to setting.
Thanks to the enclosed design of these headphones and other factors, the sound is quite tight, yet doesn’t suffer from sounding too condensed and compressed. The stressed bass sounds wide, but never sounds booming. At higher volumes, the H4 does not draw its power from reserves, but handles all styles of music with ease.
All in all, the test went well, with the H4 showing hardly any weaknesses as we cycled through genres The impressive external noise cancellation allowed for the listening of quieter music moments, even when played in very loud environments. The dynamic were particularly convincing when it came to playing classical music, with solo passages of violin concerts leaving a particularly strong impression. Spatial depth and tiny details could be easily identified. Jazz, pop and even hard rock enjoys quality sound handling with the H4. Mids feel as easy as the deepest bass, while highs don’t bite and shriek, yet show presence and shimmer clearly and purely.
The B&O Play H4 is particularly well suited for those looking to retreat into music and enjoy. The high external noise dampening means ambient noise from the outside world is largely locked out, although you’ll want to remain extra vigilant if you’re out and about with these in your ear because of this effectiveness.
Telephoning is easy with this headphone model, with Bluetooth pairing a stress-free and secure affair. The app makes things incredibly easy, allowing you to connect to your device of choice, while also granting enhanced control of your device. Track selection is reserved solely for onboard controls, however. On the right earpiece, there are three accessible buttons that control volume, track skipping, call acceptance and, should you have a compatible device, virtual assistant activation. Unfortunately, there’s no gesture control functionality here.
The runtime of these headphones is extremely generous thanks to a 600 mAh lithium-ion battery, with 19 hours suggested as an average span by the manufacturer. However, these headphones can also be operated via cable as a contingency. It’s a useful amount of battery life for those after a flight-friendly option.
It looks great and sounds beautiful. The Beoplay H4 from B&O is an upscale option for consumers looking for strong sound capabilities and good looks to match.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance19,3 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)97,58 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head527 g
- Weight with cable248 g
- Weight without cable238 g
- Cable length120 cm
- Colors: Charcoal Grey, Sand Grey, Tangerine
- BT version: 4.2
- BT codec: AAC