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Bang and Olufsen Beoplay EX review

Verdict

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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

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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