The best wireless earbuds for sound
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Motion true wireless headphones ooze style and quality, from the leather case to the sweet, classy sound. They're expensive but justifiable.
The Bang & Olufsen's E8 Motion true wireless headphones are apparently designed for sport and active lifestyles, due to water and sweat resistance.
Unlike the E8 2.0's, the E8 Motion headphones are only available in white, eschewing the obsession with making sporty headphones in color schemes better suited to your sneakers. While this is pleasing, the leather case isn't really suited to being thrown in a gym bag, as even after a few uses it picks up marks and gets grubby.
Slightly inappropriate materials aside, the case is rather special. Open it up and you're greeted by a stylish piece of brushed metal surrounding the perfectly shaped magnetic holes for the earbuds.
While there is a USB-C port to recharge the E8 Motions on the back of the case, it has a more convenient Qi wireless charging system. Pop the case down on a compatible wireless charging pad, and it'll be ready next time you leave the house. The earbuds last for around four hours, and the case's 530mAh battery has power for three charges.
The 7-gram buds themselves are substantial and in keeping with the traditional true wireless look — a small lozenge-shape earpiece that thanks to a special "wing" at the top, fits very securely inside your earlobe. The size does mean they can get uncomfortable to wear after a while, but I found this can be cured by a few twists and turns of the bud itself, as it doesn't like, or need, to be jammed in your ear to stay in place. They never once felt insecure or about to fall out, even when at the gym.
I did have a few connection problems. The left bud would occasionally cut out and leave the right one working, then reconnect itself after a second. It's not terminal, and it doesn't happen all the time, but it's annoying when it does. Pairing isn't as easy as the Galaxy Buds, and requires you to hold the touch panels on the side of both buds for about five seconds.
A B&O app enables special tuning of the sound through an intuitive slider system, which stops you having to change an equalizer or understand frequencies to tailor the sound to your liking.
To control the earbuds you use the touch panel set in each one. Tap the right to play or pause, tap twice to advance a track, and touch and hold to increase the volume. A touch and hold on the left decreases the volume, and a single tap activates the "transparency" mode. This lets you hear the world around you, in a slightly amplified manner. You can hear conversations around you clearly, but it also captures other ambient sounds. It's effective enough to use on a plane or in an office.
Activate transparency on the earbuds and the music cuts out. Use the app and the degree of transparency can be adjusted, mixing the world around you with your music. The bias is definitely towards the outside world here, with the music taking a backseat and becoming almost incidental.
These are B&O headphones, and as you'd expect the sound quality from the 5.7mm electro-dynamic drivers is outstanding. An intimate and immersive soundstage keeps music tight, and masses of volume means you can easily drown out life around you. There's so much life and vibrance to the clean, natural tones, I didn't find one track that sounded less than stellar.
The effective yet subtle processing and a hard, noticeable but not overpowering bass response are the strong points, while an overly bright vocal and high-end tone can get tiring when listening on the iPhone at high volumes. However, for the most part, the B&O E8 Motion headphones are seriously good all-rounders.
Pros: Beautiful case and earbud design, wireless charging, vibrant and natural sound quality
Cons: Expensive, case gets easily marked
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
Battery: Four hours use time, 12 hours from the case, for a total of 16 hours
Charging: Two hours recharge time using USB Type-C or Qi wireless charging
Durability: Splash and water resistance
App: Yes, iOS and Android