The Bang and Olufsen are one of the best sounding and looking sports earphones on the market. The only downside is that, despite having wing tips, they’re still a little on the chunky side and will dislodge during more animated activities.
- Solid audio quality
- Pretty design
- Decent battery
- Fit not suitable for animated workouts
- No ANC
- Review Price: £300
- Four built-in microphones
- 7hours listening, 30hours battery with case
- Wireless charging
- Beosonic app support
- IP57, waterproof down to one meter for 30 minutes
- Bluetooth 5.1, aptX
The Beoplay E8 Sport are the latest set of true wireless earbuds from the iconic, and uber-expensive Danish audio brand behind some of the world’s most “premium” speakers.
They offer users the same core audio experience as the regular E8 3rd Generation earbuds, but with a more sporty, gym-ready design. And after a full fortnight with the earbuds, I can confirm that, outside of the Nuraloops, they are one of the best sounding sets of wireless sports headphones available.
The only downside is that, despite offering a solid enough fit for most cardio exercises, the E8 Sport’s design is significantly larger than many competitors, making them prone to dislodging during more heated workouts, like working a bag or HIIT (High-intensity interval training).
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Beoplay E8 Sport are designed for runners
The E8 Sport are the prettiest sports headphones you’ll find at the moment. They feature a distinctly art deco design with grooved plastic sides and a silver B&O logo on top. This makes them look more like a powder case from a character in The Great Gatsby than a pair of gym-ready headphones.
The buds share a similar design to the regular E8 3rd Gen featuring a spherical chassis and capacitive touch controls. The only big difference is that they now come with wing tip options, grooved edges along their side, and a more rugged IP57 sweat and water resistance rating. The latter means they are waterproof to depths of one meter for up to 30 minutes.
The buds come with four silicone bud (XS, S, M L) and three fin (wing) options, plus one set of comply tips. The variety makes it quick and easy to get a solid fit and seal for casual activities. Using them as my primary set of running headphones I never had any issue with the fit, with the E8 Sport remaining firmly lodged in place through exercise bike and jogging sessions.
However, the buds large spherical body and heavier than average weight means they can shake loose during more animated workouts. Working a bag and the seal regularly broke, and on more than one occasion I had to resit the buds during home HIIT sessions.
I’m also not completely sold on the idea of capacitive controls on any sport set. The touch inputs work great during normal use, with a single tap playing and pausing music and a double skipping tracks. But during particularly sweaty workout sessions some discrepancies creep in. Trying to skip tracks mid-run with sweaty hands and the buds would occasionally struggle to accept attempts to change the volume in particular.
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I much prefer the physical controls seen on more affordable gym sets like the Jaybird Vista, which also offer a more solid seal and fit. The trade off is that they aren’t anywhere near as attractive.
Outside of this the buds tick all the right boxes. Bang and Olufsen quotes battery life as seven hours worth of music listening with the case holding enough juice for 3.5 charges. During testing I found I generally got at least a week’s use out of them. This entailed using them during my morning 30 minute workout each day, sporadic (roughly two hours) listening during the work day and for my three weekly 5km runs.
They also support wireless charging, making it quick and easy to top up their battery if you have a compatible Qi charging plate.
The four mic setup also does a decent job when taking and making calls on the E8 Sport. Using the headphones to take calls during the workday the people on the other end of the line never had any issue hearing me. The only time they struggled was during particularly windy outdoor conditions, but this is often an issue with any set.
B&O Beoplay E8 Sport offer solid sound but still no ANC
Sound quality is an area Bang and Olufsen generally deliver on, and that remains the case with the E8 Sport. Outside of the Nuraloop, which features a fairly old school less appealing band design, the E8 Sport are one of, if not the best sounding sports sets I’ve recently tested.
The buds come with 5.7mm electrodynamic drivers, the same as on the regular E8 3rd Gen. Sound quality is excellent as a result.
Tonal balance is a cut above what you’d find on pretty much every other gym set, with the low double basses, mid-heavy cellos and high violins all holding a distinct, audible place in complex classical arrangements that turn can into atonal dirges on cheaper sets. Jazz piano from Bill Evans sparkled, and had a wonderful dynamism and level of detail that’s often lost in many of the sports headphones I test.
Post rock crescendos have a wonderful swoop, and I’m yet to find a sports set that can match the E8 Sport’s punch during punk and rock breakdowns without ruining the overall sound or by producing acidic mids, or flabby low end creep in.
The low-end is also much better handled than most sports sets, which tend to push bass parts too hard, resulting in a flabby and imprecise sound. By comparison, the E8 Sport offer a wonderfully controlled low end to the point some users may feel it’s underpowered. Rumbling walking bass lines have a pleasing precision, with each thump hitting without drowning out the wider sound.
The only downside is that, like the regular E8 3rd Gen, they don’t come with any form of ANC (active noise cancellation), a common feature seen on true wireless sets at this price. If you generally exercise outside this isn’t a problem, as if you’re running or cycling you really should be aware of your surroundings. But for gym goers, where blocking out external distractions is useful, it’s a bit of a shame, especially given the E8 Sport’s price tag.
Connection quality is solid, but not best in class. The buds feature Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and in most conditions the E8 Sport provide a solid connection. However, on more than one occasion they’ve struggled when switching between sources. Attempting to switch the audio source from my phone to the Forerunner 745 ahead of a run and the buds regularly gave up the ghost and required a reset before they’d connect. I also haven’t had a chance to test how they perform in particularly busy signal areas, like my standard test ground, Waterloo Station, due to the current UK lockdown.
Should you buy the Beoplay E8 Sport?
With a £300 RRP, the Beoplay E8 Sport are an expensive luxury, especially considering their target market. There are a number of stellar sets available that cost considerably less, like the Jaybird Vista and Jabra Elite Active 75T. But, if you’re after a top notch neutral sound they are one of the only options.
Make no mistake, the E8 Sport are currently one of the best sounding gym and running true wireless earbuds on the market and a worthy investment for any health conscious, serious music fan.