Bang&Olufsen’s premium mid-range Bluetooth headphones focus as much on the aesthetics as they do on the sound.
For more information, click on each category.
- Classy design, excellent build
- Good noise cancellation performance
- Good battery life
- Very good mic quality
- Relaxing sound without any harshness
- Low volume on certain devices
- Lacking in dynamics and end-to-end extension
- Narrow staging, average imaging
- The app could have better EQ controls
Where to Buy
Unboxing and First Impression
Bang&Olufsen (shortened to B&O from hereon) is well known for unique industrial designs that stand out amidst a sea of “me too” products. The focus on design does not detract from functionality, and I have come to expect a certain elevated level of quality from the Danish brand’s offerings.
Unfortunately, exceptional design and solid performance do not come cheap, and B&O’s flagship H95 are a testament to that. The newer Beoplay HX are an attempt at cutting down the (absurd) cost of the H95 while offering much of the same functionality and keeping the design language intact.
On the surface level, B&O has achieved many of those targets. The HX are noticeably cheaper (albeit still expensive), the build materials are largely the same, and the lifestyle features like Adaptive ANC are here to stay.
Paper specs mean little, though, so let’s delve deeper.
The Beoplay HX packaging is rather straightforward. You slide up the box, and that’s about it.
In the box
- B&O Beoplay HX headphones
- USB-A to type-C charging cable
- Carry case
- 3.5mm analog input cable
The carry case offers adequate protection and has a nifty, hidden compartment to store the charging and analog cables.
- Battery Life: 35 hrs (with ANC on)
- Charge Time (15 mins): up to 240 mins playback time
At around 35hrs (with ANC on) and 40hrs (without ANC), the battery life of the Beoplay HX is good but not the best, given the competition is pushing 80 hours of playback. I need to charge the headphones once every week, with moderate usage.
15 mins of charge can get up to 4 hours of playback, provided you use a suitable fast-charging cable.
The quick charge function is handy but not class-leading. The headphones will turn off after 15 minutes of “unpaired” state.
- Control Mechanism: Mechanical + Touch
- Touch Accuracy: Inconsistent
- Control Symmetry on both ear-cups: No
- A proximity sensor in each earcup for wear-detection
The top button on the right earcup powers on the B&O Beoplay HX. Above the button is an LED that blinks in pairing mode, whereas the LED underneath the type-C port indicates charging status. Finally, there is a 3.5mm analog input.
The left earcup hosts the ANC button that cycles through various ANC modes. Finally, the “multi-button” can trigger the voice assistant when pressed and held for a moment. It can also mute the mic if you are on a call.
The circular aluminum area on the right earcup also acts as a touch panel.
There are a few gestures that you can perform here. Sadly, they are neither customizable nor very extensive. Moreover, the touch panel is awkward to use, and touches are often not registered properly.
A short rundown of the available controls are:
- Tap the B&O logo: Play/pause music, answer/end call
- Swipe forward: Skip forward
- Swipe backward: Skip backward
- Swipe up: Volume up
- Swipe down: Volume down
- Profile: Over-ear
- Material: Plastic, aluminum, leather
- Fit and Comfort: Outstanding
B&O Beoplay HX are built exceptionally well.
The construction is mostly metal, with a stitched leather headband. The feel in hand is excellent and alludes to the premium pricing.
The headband has soft memory foam underneath that cushions against the weight of these headphones when worn.
The adjustment mechanism is smooth, so it is tough to dial in the level of extension you require precisely. The hinge also rotates smoothly, and the entire mechanism is very sturdy.
The earpads can be detached easily via “unscrewing” them from the earcups. It’s a nifty feature and a better implementation than the Airpods Max’s magnetically mounted cups.
The earpads are made out of lambskin leather and have memory foam underneath. Comfort is excellent as a result, even though these pads will make you sweat on hot and humid summer days.
Also, the pads could be “roomier,” with the circular shape not ideal for large ears.
The clamp can be a bit on the stronger side, but the pressure distribution is good enough to keep things manageable. Overall, excellent build quality that lives up to the lofty expectations that come with such a high price tag.
- Noise Cancellation: No noise
- Voice Pick-up: Excellent voice pickup
B&O utilizes eight microphones in total to aid in voice pickup and noise cancellation on the Beoplay HX. This results in a microphone performance that competes with the best in class.
My voice does not break up or lose clarity, even in the subway or windy conditions.
Background noise is suppressed really well, though certain high-frequency noises can pop up from time to time. For the most part, it’s a non-issue.
- Driver: 40mm
- Sound Signature: Warm
- Bass: Good
- Mids: Good
- Treble: Average
- Soundstage: Average
- Imaging: Average
- Dynamics: Average
The B&O Beoplay HX have a warm tuning with some unevenness in the treble region and average technicalities.
The bass has an emphasis in the sub and mid-bass region, but nothing that goes overboard.
Bass texture and speed are fairly good, with fast basslines not being completely blurred. The likes of Stax Spirit S3 do better in this regard, but they are a different beast altogether. The sub-bass rumble and the mid-bass slam are muted on the Beoplay HX.
Good bass given the product category, but nothing spectacular.
The lower midrange sounds fairly linear, but the upper-mids are too restrained at times. Due to a dip between 2 – 3kHz, this muted upper-midrange results in a lack of “openness” in soaring vocals.
On the plus side, such tuning avoids shout and shrillness altogether, albeit at the expense of vocal articulation.
There are noticeable peaks around 5.5kHz and between 7-8kHz for me, but the upper-treble extension is lacking. Treble sounds strangely subdued in terms of decay, and the initial hit of cymbals and hi-hats are also lacking in definition.
Macrodynamic punch (sudden changes in volumes) has a muted delivery, while the microdynamics (subtle shifts in volume) are not very noticeable.
In tracks like Counting Crow’s Miami, the vocals and the instrument have a continuously varying volume level, which the Beoplay HX do not faithfully replicate.
On the other side of the spectrum, sudden bass drops lack gusto and immediacy. This issue plagues many Bluetooth headphones and IEMs out there, and the Beoplay HX are no exception.
The soundstage feels wide due to the recessed midrange, but stage depth is lacking.
Imaging is nothing to write home about, with the instruments mostly placed left and right. Instruments lose the sense of ordinal orientation, resulting in merely average spatial cues.
Active noise cancellation
With the ANC turned on, the sound signature of the Beoplay HX does not change noticeably.
I recommend keeping ANC on in most cases, as that’s the feature you are paying for.
ANC performance is very good, falling slightly behind class leaders Sony WH-1000XM5 in terms of high-frequency noise attenuation.
The app has granular control of transparency mode where you can dial in the exact amount of sound “leakage” you want.
- Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, AptX Adaptive
- Bluetooth Version: 5.1
- Auto-connect when: Put close to paired devices.
- Average drop-outs in an hour: 0 – 2 times
- Multi-point connection: Yes
The connection is rock-solid, and pairing is pretty simple once the headphones are put in pairing mode (pressing the power button for a few seconds).
Multipoint support works seamlessly for two devices. Overall, the B&O Beoplay HX have nailed the connectivity features, and even the “perks” are well implemented.
- IP Rating: IP53
The Beoplay HX are IP53 rated, which means they are “protected from limited dust ingress, protected from water spray less than 60 degrees from vertical.”
- Granular ANC control, including Adaptive ANC.
- Wind noise reduction.
- No remapping of controls or buttons.
- Auto Pause: Yes.
- Mobile apps
The Beoplay HX app looks clean and offers some meaningful customization options. The “Beosonic” feature is a glorified EQ preset builder, and frankly, I’d much prefer the old-school graphic equalizer.
One strange omission is the lack of control customization, so you are essentially stuck with the factory presets.
B&O Beoplay HX look and feel phenomenal. The comfort is excellent for the most part, and battery life, microphone quality, and ANC performance are nearly class-leading. Very few boxes remain unchecked, which is good news for the high asking price.
Sadly, sound quality falls short of expectations in the sense that the HX do not sound spectacular. There are no glaring flaws in the sound that make them unlistenable, but the absence of a standout sonic attribute leaves me wanting.
In the end, the Beoplay HX are more of a lifestyle product – a fashion statement that gets many of the basics right. They won’t impress seasoned audiophiles, but that is not the target audience either, for better or for worse.