Bang & Olufsen is at it again. Just recently we reviewed the high-quality and much-loved B&O Beoplay H9 wireless headphones, and now we’re taking a look at some slightly more affordable cans: the new $299 B&O Beoplay H4’s.
Even at $299, however, these are still some pricey headphones. Are they worth the cash? Turns out that if you’re in the market for a new pair of wireless headphones and have a $300 budget, you may not be able to do much better.
The B&O Beoplay H4 headphones are undeniably built by B&O. They feature a very similar design to other headphones made by the company, including the same circular anodized aluminum earcup plate with a simple B&O logo, as well as the classy lambskin leather-covered pads. The mix of grays is also very similar to other B&O headphones, and sets these cans apart from other manufacturers, who often stick with black or white for their designs. Another interesting design point is the shoelace-style exposed wires, which give the headphones somewhat of a rustic yet classy tone.
Of course, there’s an undeniable comparison to be made with these: Beats. These days, headphones are as much a fashion accessory as a way to listen to music, and thankfully the B&O Beoplay H4 headphones won’t disappoint.
On the bottom of the right earcup, you’ll find the controls, which include a multi-use button and two volume buttons. It may take a few tries to get used to the placement of the controls. The first few times we put the headphones on, we tried to turn them on by pressing the wrong button. Still, you will get used to it, which is good if you plan on making these your daily pair of headphones. You’ll also find the microUSB charging port and a 3.5mm jack on the bottom of the left earcup.
In the box, you’ll find the headphones themselves, a charging cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable. Notably absent is a carrying case — which is really a serious omission. Wireless headphones are built to be portable — there’s no use destroying that potential for portability by not even including a carry bag.
In general the headphones look great, but the lack of carry case is frustrating. In addition, the lambskin leather feels like it could rip easily, so you’ll want to be careful while using these.
The B&O Beoplay H4 headphones don’t just look great — they feel pretty great too. Under that lambskin leather you’ll find a generous portion of memory foam, which helps keep the H4’s comfy for longer periods of listening time.
There isn’t the same amount of padding on the headband, and if you have problems with the comfort level of the headphones, it will likely be due to that headband — although thanks to the fact that the H4’s are quite light, even that discomfort is almost totally ignorable.
In general, the B&O Beoplay H4 headphones are extremely comfortable. Sure, nothing’s perfect, but at this price point the H4’s get close.
Of course, while design and comfort are important enough, sound is arguably the deciding factor in whether or not you should buy a pair of headphones. The comparisons with Beats don’t stop at design, though. That’s to say, you won’t buy the B&O Beoplay H4’s as a pair of reference headphones — but that doesn’t mean they sound bad. In fact, they sound great.
Let’s start with the bass, which is very present. These headphones are built to offer a lot of bass, meaning they’ll be perfect for the hip-hop fans among us — or just those that like a lot of bass. Thankfully, that big bass boost doesn’t cause the headphones to get too muddy or overpowered — it just adds some of that depth that many people look for in a good pair of headphones.
The midrange is a bit more subdued, which is to be expected in a pair of headphones like this. The higher mids are especially subdued, which are the frequencies you might associate with an AM radio — and which don’t always sound good.
Thankfully, the high end brings back some of that crispness that you would want in a vocal and some of that bite you need in a guitar. You’ll find plenty of detail in most tracks, which is necessary for a pair of consumer headphones.
Of course, it’s important to note that these are not noise canceling headphones, and you won’t be able to pretend they are either. They’ll let in plenty of outside noise, so if your intent is to use these on loud subways or buses, you may want to look elsewhere.
The B&O Beoplay H4 headphones perform decently well, but they’re not going to break any records. The headphones use Bluetooth 4.2, which will offer an operating range of around 10m, or 33ft — pretty standard stuff. The battery sits in at 19 hours of playback time, which is a good amount of time, but again, not enough to break any records.
The B&O Beoplay H4 headphones are an excellent pair of cans, but they’re missing some key features, like a carry case and noise cancellation. Still, if you’re looking for a pair of over-ear wireless headphones with a $300 budget, these could be your best bet. In particular, these are a great pair of headphones for using around the house — they’re comfortable, sound great, and look awesome.
|20Hz – 20kHz
|Active noise cancellation
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
|Charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable