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Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX review

Verdict

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Trusted Reviews Recommended

The Beoplay EX are true wireless earbuds that look stunning, feel secure and lightweight in the ears and deliver a crisp and balanced sound. You can get more powerful noise cancellation for less with rival earbuds, but then, if you want something affordable, Bang and Olufsen isn’t for you.

Pros

  • Stunning glass touch panels
  • Crisp call quality
  • Balanced and customisable sound

Cons

  • Expensive
  • ANC could be stronger
  • No voice assistant button

Availability

  • UKRRP: £349
  • USARRP: $399
  • EuropeRRP: €399

Key Features

  • B&O’s first stem style earbudsFeaturing tempered glass touch panels
  • Active noise cancellationAdaptive ANC and a transparency mode
  • Bang and Olufsen appWith five listening mode presets and customisable EQ
  • 20 hours total battery life6 hours with ANC on or 8 hours with ANC off

Introduction

Premium Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen brings forth its latest true wireless creation in the Beoplay EX. 

Don’t be fooled by the EX in its name, B&O’s latest earphones aren’t to be left behind in the past like a bad relationship, they’re a step in a different direction where design is concerned, with one of the main differences between it and the Beoplay EQ is the lightweight, stem-shaped design and tempered glass touch panels. 

The Beoplay EX also pack larger drivers and a higher water resistance rating, coming in at an ever-so-slightly lower price than the EQ. 

Design

  • The earbuds feature a stem design with a reflective touch panel 
  • The ear tips offer a comfortable and secure fit 
  • They’re water and dust resistant up to IP57 

The Beoplay EX visually stand out from the Beoplay EQ and the Beoplay E8 Sport due to their Apple AirPod imitating stem design. I personally prefer the appearance of round or oval-shaped earbuds, but its hard to deny that the Beoplay EX look stunning. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX angle

The matte tail on each earbud contrasts with a brushed aluminium ring that circles a tempered glass touch pad. Within each touch pad is a mirrored “B&O” panel that seems to shift in colour when light beams onto it. The glass is prone to picking up fingerprints, but smudges are tough to spot on the highly reflective panel unless you’re up close and looking for them. 

The earbuds come in three finishes: Gold Tone, Black Anthracite and Anthracite Oxygen, the blue shade seen in this review.

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX ear tips

The EX come with five pairs of ear tips in sizes XS, S, M and L, along with B&O’s Comply tips, which are designed to sit tight in the ears when you work out. I used the standard ear tips and found them very comfortable and secure in the ears, no matter now much I moved around.

The earbuds also have a dust and water resistance rating of IP57, meaning they can be immersed in up to one metre of water for up to 30 minutes. This means you’ll get the same protection against sweat and rain as the fitness-focussed Beoplay E8 Sport. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX case

The wireless charging case feels just as premium as the earbuds. It has a reassuring amount of weight to it at 53g, but its still pocket-sized and has a matte finish that feels cool to the touch and doesn’t pick up smudges.

Features 

  • ANC is decent but not 100% effective 
  • You can move between presets and adjust EQ in the B&O app 
  • The earbuds offer 6 to 8 hours of battery life, depending on whether ANC is switched on 

The Beoplay EX take advantage of both active noise cancellation and a transparency mode, allowing them to limit and boost environmental noise as needed. 

I put the earbuds to the test on my morning commute and found the ANC did an decent job of suppressing the hum of the air conditioning and the chatter of passengers. I could still make out the low rumble of the tube and the announcements overhead were distinct enough to make out, which is to say the noise cancellation didn’t suppress everything. A pair of over-ears would be more effective, but the Beoplay EX did a solid job of reducing distractions. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX with case

The transparency mode made train announcements and traffic significantly clearer, along with the adaptive ANC toggle in the B&O app. This feature is designed to monitor and adapt to ambient sound as needed. While I found it did a decent job the majority of the time, it was slow to react to loud noises and I found it frequently let in ambient sounds that the standard ANC setting would block out. 

Along with allowing you to adjust the ANC and transparency mode settings on your phone, the Bang and Olufsen app also lets you monitor battery life, control playback, adjust your call settings and toggle between five listening modes: Optimal (default), Sport, Commute, Clear and Podcast. 

Bang and Olufsen EX app

There’s also the Beosonic feature, which allows you to adjust the EQ by leaning toward different characteristics depending on your personal preferences. These include Bright, Energetic, Warm and Relaxed, along with varying degrees of bass and treble. 

Calls sound incredibly crisp through the Beoplay EX, and there are three mics squeezed into each earbud to ensure your voice is clear on the other side of the line, too. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX on case

The touch controls are intuitive, allowing you to cycle through the ANC settings, control playback, adjust the volume and pick up calls with the tap or hold of a finger. However, there’s no shortcut to wake up your phone’s voice assistant and you can’t customise these controls in the app. 

Bang & Olufsen claims the battery is capable of lasting up to six hours with ANC switched on and up to eight without noise cancelling. This adds up to a total of 20 hours with the charging case included.

I found the battery hit the 50% mark around three hours in and the battery lasted five hours and 45 minutes in total with ANC activated, meaning the battery lasted about as long as expected, if a little short of B&O’s claim. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX one earbud

Five to six hours is fairly standard for a pair of true wireless earbuds, though cheaper noise cancellers like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, the Jabra Elite 85t and even Apple’s AirPods Pro carry larger batteries in their cases, offering 25 hours of playback and more.

The Beoplay EX also support wireless charging with any Qi charging pad, along with fast charging support that’ll allow you to get one hour and 45 minutes of listening from a quick 20 minute charge.

Sound quality

  • Feature large 9.2mm drivers 
  • Crisp, balanced and dynamic sound at higher volumes 
  • You can personalise the sound further in the app 

The Beoplay EX’s sound is driven by a 9.2mm driver in each earbud. That’s bigger than the 6.8mm ones in the Beoplay EQ and much larger than the 5.7mm drivers in the E8 Sport, making them the largest yet. 

The result is a sound that is both clear and balanced, and can be customised further with the B&O app. 

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX earbuds

PS5 by Salem Ilese is impressively crisp and the vocals are packed with detail and nuance. The tonal balance between the highs and lows sounds incredibly natural, and the stereo image paints a clear sense of location for each instrument. 

The sound is dynamic too, though you’ll need to push the volume past midway to get a truly punchy effect. However, the soundstage can feel cramped – something that is particularly noticeable when all the parts layer up in the bridge. 

I found the bass leaned toward the warmer side in the default Optimal listening mode, as can be heard in Rapstar by Polo G, though you can adjust this to your liking in the B&O app. 

Like PS5, the hip hop track is crisp and dynamic from the guitar solo in the intro to the drums that jump in during the first verse. Vocals sound particularly refined through these earbuds and the overall presentation is balanced and sophisticated, if a bit reserved at more middling volumes.

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Should you buy it?

You want a premium pair of all-rounders The Beoplay EX combine a high-end design, with customisable audio and decent ANC.

You want an affordable pair of noise cancellers You don’t need to splash out to get a good pair of earbuds. Bose, Sony and even Urbanista all sell true wireless noise cancellers for less than this – and that isn’t even going into the sub-£100 pairs that offer the feature.

Final Thoughts

The Beoplay EX offer a subtle step up for Bang and Olufsen’s true wireless line, with their bigger drivers, improved IP rating and new design. 

The audio is crisp and balanced, the call quality is crystal clear and the customisable features in the app are useful. The ANC and transparency mode do a solid job of reducing ambient noise and letting it in as needed, but the noise cancelling effect isn’t as strong as other pairs. 

The earbuds are also very expensive. If you’re looking for a premium pair that sound great and block out most annoyances, these earbuds will be right up your alley. If you want more, however, you can get stronger ANC for less.

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How we test

We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested for two weeks

Measured how long the battery life lasts at a medium volume

Listened with streaming services

FAQs

Do the Beoplay EX have noise cancelling?

The Beoplay EX feature adaptive ANC and a transparency mode.

How long is the battery life on the Beoplay EX?

The Beoplay EX have a battery life of 6 hours with ANC on, 8 hours with it off and up to 20 hours with the charging case included.

What colours are the Beoplay EX available in?

The Beoplay EX are available in Anthracite Oxygen (blue), Gold Tone (gold) and Black Anthracite (black).

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Battery Hours
Wirless charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Connectivity
Colours
Frequency Range
Headphone Type

Sustainability

TrustedReviews’ holds the fact that global warming is not a myth as a core value and will continuously endeavor to help protect our planet from harm in its business practices.

As part of this mission, whenever we review a product we send the company a series of questions to help us gauge and make transparent the impact the device has on the environment.

You can see a breakdown of the company’s answers to these questions below. You can also see a general guide to Bang and Olufsen’s sustainability efforts as a wider company in the attached guide.

Materials used

The purpose of this section is specific to the product being reviewed. The goal is to ascertain what measures have been taken to use sustainably sourced, recycled materials in the product. There are no perfect answers, the goal is to show what has been done.

What proportion of the materials used have been responsibly sourced? (Please include as detailed stats as possible for plastic, metal etc and address the below points).

What proportion of the metal used was recycled?

  • None

What proportion of the plastics used were recycled?

  • None

What proportion of the materials were responsibly sourced?

  • All materials used are virgin materials

Is the product made from renewable resources?

  • No

What percentage of the materials used are biodegradable?

  • No materials are biodegradable

Is the packaging biodegradable?

  • No

Is the product’s packaging responsibly sourced?

  • No

Repairability

Trusted Reviews believes tech shouldn’t be thrown away the moment something goes wrong. Products should be easily repairable and receive company support for as long as possible. This section of the questions focusses on what guarantees are being made to ensure this on the specific product being reviewed. You do not have to answer yes to every question to receive a badge, the goal is transparency.

How long will the product be officially supported with software and security updates?

  • Products are supported with software updates on an as-needed basis when widely used by our customers. We are constantly monitoring customer feedback to improve the product experience and fix bugs.

How long is it guaranteed to be covered by an official repair policy?

  • Beoplay EX is covered by Bang & Olufsen’s limited warranty. The standard warranty is active 24 months after purchase in EU and 12 months outside of EU. As an offer to all customers, B&O will extend the limited warranty period to 3 years for all products that have been registered in the Bang & Olufsen app. Defects claimed under the Warranty are rectified by replacing the Beoplay EX product with a new Beoplay EX or a product equivalent in performance and reliability to Beoplay EX.

Can all parts of the device be replaced or upgraded using publicly available tools?

  • No

Are replacement parts readily available to the general public?

  • Replacement earbuds, charging case and ear tips are available as accessories for Beoplay EX through Bang-Olufsen.com and official Bang & Olufsen partners. Earbuds are sold individually as left or right.

Does home repair void the product’s warranty?

  • Yes

Recyclability

  • The purpose of this section is to establish what efforts have been made to ensure the product can be safely and sustainably disposed of. Don’t be afraid to not have perfect answers we want to flag what positive work is being done and will always factor in forward looking statements where possible.

How many of the components/what materials used can be fully recycled?

  • Material such as the aluminium and other metal and plastic in the charging case can be speared and recycled. PCB board, battery and other components that specific require special treatment has to be safely disposed. Components that can’t be speared can be disposed for energy recovery.

Are any components or parts permanently attached/unremovable to the point they cannot be recycled?

  • N/A

Do you have an official recycling programme customers can use to ethically dispose of the product?

  • No

Does your company offer incentives (cash on a new device etc) for people to recycle their old device?

  • For EX, we do not currently have a program.

Is the packaging recyclable?

  • Yes, the packaging is recyclable. It is composed mostly of cardboard and paper elements that can easily be sorted in the paper or cardboard cycling. The protecting plastic film is POF and can recycled. The internal black component of the main box in the top part must be separated from the cardboard in order to be recycled. This foam is made from EVA foam. This material is recyclable.

Supply chain

  • We know a lot of these questions will be hard to get answers for, but remember the purpose of this this process is to help us educate readers about what work is being done and to help boost sustainability in consumer tech. Just getting people in businesses and on the high street to start thinking about these things is also a welcome side benefit, so feel free to include statements even if you can’t give definitive answers. We’ll always report accurately what is being said.

Have you undertaken a carbon foot-printing exercise for the product?

  • No

To the best of your knowledge, was it manufactured using ethically sourced labour

  • Yes. Our supplier is audited ever 2nd year by an independent 3rd party company (UL).
  • At Bang & Olufsen, we are committed to a framework of principles and policies which includes respect for universally recognized standards for protection of human rights, labour conditions, zero tolerance towards child or forced labour, and anti-corruption, as outlined in the 10 principles of UN Global Compact. As a result, we engage with our supply chain and partners to ensure certain minimum standards according to the UN Global Compact and other relevant standards and norms, as well as, to drive continuous improvements to ensure that all our suppliers operate in compliance with the requirements. These requirements and ambitions are captured in our Supplier Code of Conduct, which is available on our website here.
  • Suppliers who are deemed to be at a high risk of deviation from the Code of Conduct requirements are audited through on-site audits by independent third parties at least once every two years. In the past two years we have audited high risk product related suppliers that account for 98.6% of our product related spend. These audits include assessment of employee working conditions and practices. It is our view that if there was a concern around labour conditions, it would have been uncovered during these audits.
  • For more information on our approach to being a responsible partner, please read pages 22 and 23 of our CSR & Sustainability Report 2020/21, which is available here.

Does the product use any hazardous chemicals or materials that cannot be recycled or need specialist disposal? If so, what are they?

  • Yes, PCB boards and batteries require special treatment have to be safely disposed.
  • Beoplay EX is in compliance with market regulations in all countries where the product is available, including RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and REACH 2 Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) for EU.

How much electrical and chemical waste is produced manufacturing the product?

  • No report available

Jargon buster

ANC

ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) uses an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming at the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any unwanted external noises.

Qi Wireless Charging

 

The most common format for wireless charging and the one supported by the majority of devices. Charge speeds vary a lot by the phone. 

IP rating

An abbreviation for ‘Ingress Protection Code’, which lets you know to what extent a device might be waterproof or dustproof.

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