Design and fit are crucial factors for the best wireless earbuds and Bang & Olufsen appears to have recognized that with its new Beoplay EX.
The stem-heavy form is something of a departure from the company's existing range of Beoplay EQ earbuds and brings to mind the Apple AirPods Pro — albeit in three colors rather than purely white. But the design change is about more than just aesthetics, with B&O claiming the stem makes it possible to shrink the earbud body so that it fits more comfortably in the ear, while also offering better audio quality.
That latter factor is down to there being space for a ¼-inch speaker driver, which enables the Beoplay EX to deliver greater dynamic power. A total of six microphones work with B&O’s Adaptive ANC tech for uninterrupted listening, while improved beamforming technology improves quality and intelligibility on voice calls.
Battery life claims to achieve up to 6 hours of playback time with ANC turned on, and this climbs to 20 hours in total with top-ups from the supplied charging case.
Throw in Bluetooth 5.2 technology and multipoint connectivity (allowing the EX to connect to two devices at the same time), plus IP57-certification for sweat and dust resistance, and the EX looks set to give the AirPods Pro a run for its money.
As a brand that has traditionally followed its own path in the design direction of its audio products, we didn’t anticipate that Bang & Olufsen would join the throng of earbuds in our best fake AirPods buying guide.
As we would expect from the Danish brand, though, luxury build and styling look to be a strong part of the EX design, which mixes statement materials such as a mirror-like glass plate at the base of the earbud emblazoned with the B&O motif. The brushed aluminum ring surround looks like a neat accent, too.
And unlike the AirPods, the EX is available in three slick color options: black anthracite, gold tone or striking anthracite oxygen, although only the latter one will be available at launch. Whichever hue you go for, though, the EX earbuds come supplied in a matching pocket-sized, brushed aluminum charging case.
All this luxury doesn't come cheap, though. The Beoplay EX will cost $399 / £349 when it goes on sale on May 5, which is some $150 more than the AirPods Pro. We'll have to wait until we've tested it to judge whether or not it justifies that high price.