Australian Review: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H5 - Almost all class
Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay H5 is easily the slickest pair of wireless in-ear headphones on the market. While most competing alternatives have large protruding buds or a clunky plastic neckband, the Beoplay H5 is a far a subtler option. The buds are still bigger than your typical pair of wired in-ear headphones, but the difference is day and night when compared to wireless in-ear alternatives from the likes of Bose and Beats. It just looks like you're wearing headphones, which in my opinion, is a good thing.
Weighing in at 18g, is a reasonably light option when it comes to wireless in-ear buds. The issue is, the svelte braided cord is quite heavy for what it is. As such, it can easily catch on the back of your neck or on collar, and given enough time, dislodge the buds. No matter which size tips I was wearing (you get a great range of options in the box), I couldn't get the H5 to stay put for more than 15 or so minutes at a time when wearing them on the move. Even a brisk walk was enough to slowly work one of the buds out. This gets far worse if you wear the H5 while at the gym or on a run. If you're looking for sports headphones, you should look elsewhere.
That being said, the H5 does sound great, at least, when buds aren't falling out. The headphones offer crisp, clear sound with plenty of depth. The buds don't stray too far from Bang & Olufsen's bright, signature sound, placing greater emphasis on treble. Despite this, you still get a healthy helping of bass; more than enough to give your music a bit of drive. If you're not quite happy with how Bang & Olfusen has balanced the H5, a companion app gives you a reasonable amount of freedom when it comes to tweaking the sound, whether it's dialling in a bit more bass, or giving the headphones more of a sparkle. These custom tunings are saved directly to the H5.
One of the H5's most innovative features is a magnetic charging dock. Simply place the headphones onto the dock, and plug the dock into a USB port or power outlet. While the slick solution means you'll have one extra charger to worry about, it's much cleaner than trying to connect a micro USB cord to a small pair of headphones (and also results in a more elegant design). On a related note, the H5 lasts about four to five hours per charge, which is fairly typical for wireless in-ear headphones.
I did run into some slight issues with Bluetooth connectivity. While the H5 instantly paired with my device most of the time, there were two or three times where I had to manually disconnect and reconnect the headphones.
The Beoplay H5 looks fantastic, sounds great, costs a pretty penny (AUD$389), and falls out of your ears a little too easily. While I love the buds' sound and aesthetic, usability issues coupled with a high price tag makes them a much more circumstantial buy. If you just want a classy pair of wireless in-ear headphones for your commute, the Beoplay H5 could still work for you (provided your budget can stretch), but I wouldn't really recommend them for those with active lifestyles. Considering the svelte subtle design, I was really hoping I'd fall in love with the Beoplay H5, bit it's hard to love headphones that don't always stay in your ears.
Cybershack Score -
|Great sound quality||Can fall out of ears a little too easily|
|Clever charging solution||Occasional Bluetooth issues|