Always wanted a pair of wireless B&Os but couldn’t afford the premium price? The new Beoplay H4 Wireless Headphones (S$399) are more affordable yet retaining much of the premium build of its more costly siblings (shoutout to the H7 and H9). Will it live up to the prestige while keeping to the bare essentials? Read on to find out!
Build Quality and Design
It may be 235 grams light, but the H4s feel a lot more expensive than anything at its price point. I’m not just talking about its stainless steel headband and gleaming aluminium faceplates. That’s superficial. I’m also referring to its genuine lambskin leather cushions. It feels much more substantial to the touch compared to fake leather, but softer in most cases. Couple that with memory foam and you get a pair that forms to the shape of your head. It felt like wearing a pair of pillows!
To keep the weight (and cost) down, the ear cups are built from high density polycarbonates that feel almost as solid as the stainless steel headband. Somehow I wish they had (at least) included a case with the H4s because the ear cups fold flat but does not articulate inwards for easy storage.
In keeping to the bare minimum, B&O has done away with a lot here. No swipe controls or NFC. No noise-cancelling too. So we’ll talk about what it does have.
Performance and Features
In the right ear cup you have three buttons that handle your music controls, volume and pairing controls. With the multi-function button, you can also activate Siri and Google Now.
The H4 works with the Beoplay App where you can change its screen name and adjust its tonality. Although it does music and volume controls too, I find that to be pretty redundant.
The H4 will connect to your device through Bluetooth 4.2 for high-quality music streams over AAC. In practical use, I found that the H4s connected reliably up to a 10m radius with no signal drops. Very nice. When taking calls with the H4s call quality was pretty loud and clear.
I had tested previous Beoplay products with grossly exaggerated on-paper battery ratings but the H4 blew me away! It has a stated battery of up to 19 hours. But in testing, I got out an impressive 30 hours of juice! (I got these results by playing a looping album through them at 50% volume, or higher if that’s not loud enough to enjoy.)
When battery dies, you can charge it up with its Micro-USB cable or continue listening with the (included) audio cord.
At its price bracket, the H4’s audio chops rival any of its major competitors. I like how it sounded spot-on with most of my tunes. The treble was smooth enough to avoid granular artefacts altogether. Mid-range movement sounded dynamic and full while being complemented, not dominated, by the highs. Putting on ‘I Love Paris’ by Terry Snyder and the All Stars (1959) its demonstrated the H4’s speed and dynamic range, with bass that quickly changes from a gentle caress into gripping gravitas and verve, then decaying into a soft afterglow.
Though the H4s do provide enough left and right imaging to satisfy most aficionados, it’s a short sprint away from perfection. Its imaging prowess was far from photographic, and I could only detect a slight hint of layering – no doubt a byproduct of its closed-back design. Despite that, most listeners will be happy with the H4s at its price point.
A B&O Over-Ear for S$399? That’s a very reasonable price! They do make great value for money but I still hope they had included a case with it.
These cans are priced directly against the Bose SoundLink Around Ear II ‘phones which sound just as good and about just as comfy. And though the Bose comes with a case, they do feel less substantial than the H4s. Hence the Beoplay H4s are pretty reasonable value for money.
Premium build, genuine lambskin pillows and pristine sound for its price, what’s there to hate? The Beoplay H4 Wireless Headphones are a reliable, pocket-friendly way to experience what B&O has to offer.
So here’s the final tally:
Build Quality and Design
- Pros: Clean, lightweight design that feels expensive. Sturdy injection-moulded polycarbonate ear cups. Genuine lambskin leather cushions that are super comfy. Folds flat so that it slips better into your briefcase or drapes over your collar easily.
- Cons: Does not fold inwards for easy storage. No case.
Score: 4/6 (22.2%)
Performance and Features
- Pros: Great battery life of 19-hours. (Tested 30 hours) Simple three-button controls for music, volume and pairing. Multifunction-button also activates Siri/Google Now. You can tweak the audio through the Beoplay App, change its pairing name and perform in-app music controls. Reliable Bluetooth conenction up to 10m. Great phone call quality. Clear, smooth and rich sound quality that rivals any wireless competitor at its price. Great dynamic range and speed that won’t disappoint most listeners.
- Cons: Soundstage and imaging is not as precise as I hoped.
Score: 8/9 (29.6%)
Score: 3/5 (19.98%)