Bang & Olufsen is not only a brand synonymous with luxury, but with excellent audio products. The company has been around for nearly a century and continues to put out stellar releases across multiple categories, including home speakers, headphones, and more recently, true wireless earbuds. The original Beoplay E8 was not well received, but the third-gen version was a triumphant improvement that placed the series back on many critics’ radars. Now, B&O wants to leave its imprint on the wireless sport earbuds market with the Beoplay E8 Sport.
Built on the same architecture as the latest E8 model and with sportier aesthetics, this version of the brand’s flagship buds blends first-class sound and user-friendly features into a sleek and sturdy package. On top of that, it has some of the best touch controls and reliable battery life to ensure optimal performance during workouts. However, such lauded performance comes at a cost — $350 to be exact.
Is the Beoplay E8 Sport worth the investment? Let’s find out.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Price and availability
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport is available for $350 at major online retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy, or directly from Bang & Olufsen. Amazon is currently selling the Beoplay E8 Sport for as low as $320.99, while supplies last. You can purchase these buds in three colors: Black, Oxygen Blue, and a limited-edition Fernando Alonso version, which is a combination of the two standard models with an all-black design and light blue accents.
Fun fact: The company offers a 30-day free trial should you want to try the buds first before committing to purchase.
What’s in the box?
Bundled with the Beoplay E8 Sport is a wireless charging case, USB-C charging cable, one pair of Comply foam tips, four pairs of ear tips, two sets of wings, and a quick start guide.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Design
Those familiar with B&O know they are getting some of the best-performing, most beautifully constructed audio products ever made. To expect anything different from the Beoplay E8 Sport would be preposterous. These workout buds fall in line with some of the company’s other luxury offerings, made from top-notch materials and packaged in a sleek, clean design that screams extravagance.
The original E8 was already a stunner, though its sportier sibling takes on a more utilitarian appearance with a sturdier design that gives off ruggedly handsome vibes. The hard-plastic casing is IP57-rated, making the buds dust- and sweat-resistant, plus waterproof up to 1 meter in water. Despite their clean look, the buds have niche details that make them stand out in a sea of wireless earbuds, including the signature B&O branding on the touch sensors and ridged rings encircled around the buds to easily grip them.
Premium build quality often creates heft. Even though these buds are weightier (0.44 ounces) than most other models in the category, they aren’t cumbersome to wear. Honestly, they felt as light as the AirPods Pro when taking them out on runs.
As far as comfort and fit go, the Beoplay E8 Sport fits like a glove once you twist and lock each bud into your ear. The elongated sound port slips easily into the canal. I wore the buds for about 2 hours daily, splitting that time between casual listening and workouts, and never experienced fatigue. Though I will say, keeping them in your ears past that time frame without a break causes discomfort. On-ear stability was amazing, as the silicone tips created a tight seal, while the tiny wings remained put when performing lateral-heavy exercises. The foam tips also provided some breathability to prevent moisture buildup.
The charging case is even more eye-grabbing, laced in leather wrapping that resembles vinyl, with the B&O logo engraved on the top for instant recognition. Considering how durable it feels, I was surprised by how light it felt in hand and pocket: 1.9 ounces (without the buds). The ridged design has a smooth finish and holds up well under stress, staving off scuffs and scratches far better than the AirPods case.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Touch controls
The Beoplay E8 Sport is completely button-less, opting for a responsive touch interface on each bud that accepts a combination of tap gestures. A few models in the category have gone this same route, but only a handful have executed it properly. B&O is one of them, placing a ton of functionality and intelligibility at the tip of your fingers.
Each bud hosts a variety of different commands that can be enabled through single, double or triple taps. The left is reserved for turning on Transparency Mode (one tap) or playing a previous track (double tap), while the right takes on play/pause (one tap), next track (double track) and the voice assistant (triple tap). Accepting, rejecting or ending calls can be executed on either bud. There is even the option to control volume by laying your finger on either earbud to lower (left) or raise (right) sound. Each tap and long press are registered accurately for instantaneous results.
Google Assistant and Siri are supported on the Beoplay E8 Sport as well, allowing for hands-free engagement with your devices. The buds demonstrated great speech recognition and picked up every syllable that came out of my mouth. I also enjoyed how quickly both AI bots registered and performed voice commands; pulling up calendar invites and Spotify playlists was a breeze.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Sound quality
B&O set out to create wireless sport earbuds that reproduce sound the way artists (and athletes) were meant to hear it. Mission accomplished. The Beoplay E8 Sport’s soundstage delivers great acoustics that bring vocals to life, along with accurate frequency response that you won’t find on any other sport model in the category.
It’s amazing how striking and well-balanced the lows sound, particularly on songs with monstrous bass levels. Pull up Eazy-E’s “Boyz-N-The-Hood” to hear what I’m talking about. The snares knock hard and the midi synth segues ride smoothly over the thumping production. Normally, fitness earbuds reach ridiculously high volumes, but the Beoplay E8 Sport brings it down a few notches and maintains an impactful presence without pummeling on your eardrums.
Hard rock classics like AC/DC’s “Black in Black” provide the right dose of adrenaline. The legendary guitar riff and screeching vocals were reproduced to perfection; other models like the Jabra Elite Active 75t and AirPods Pro fail to do both sonic variables justice. What I appreciated most was the reverberation, which you get an amazing feel for on Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” Every instrument played is distinctive and given plenty of room to shine, from the saxes to the shaker.
It’s worth noting that the buds don’t offer the greatest noise isolation. I still managed to hear common distractions like neighborly chatter or car horns when running around the neighborhood. Increasing the volume helped to block out these noises, and, thankfully, B&O did a fantastic job of programming the volume levels. You can also use foam tips, which are noticeably better for isolation.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: App and special features
The Beoplay E8 Sport does have a companion app that is serviceable for enhancing the listening experience. You just have to get past the lengthy setup process, which requires creating an account in order to access the app. Once completed, you’ll discover some useful goodies worth playing with, especially on the audio end.
Leading the charge is the adjustable EQ, which is cleverly programmed as a sound wheel with four different sections – Bright, Energetic, Relaxed, and Warm – and streamlined for setting a personalized sonic preference. All you do is drag the cursor over the color-coded wheel to make the sound brighter or softer. This makes it much simpler for users with little audio knowledge to learn the difference in performance between treble and bass.
You also have the option to choose from a handful of well-engineered presets. Optimal and Clear are ideal for casual listening, while Sport and Commute increase the bass levels for dynamic sound. Podcast is pretty straightforward, placing more prominence on vocals to hear speakers clearly. They all work very well.
B&O developed a Transparency Mode as well to allow for ambient listening. Three levels are selectable directly on the app to control the amount of environmental sound entering the soundstage. Low (25 percent) and Medium (50 percent) kept music audible, while also allowing me to hear common distractions like keyboard clatter and my mother-in-law rummaging through the fridge late at night. High (95 percent) nearly muted playback to provide full awareness of my surroundings during workouts. The feature does work best for outdoor exercising, as you’ll be able to hear the traffic (both on-foot and vehicular) much better.
The B&O app has a number of other unique functions, such as a volume adjuster, automatic standby (aka sleep mode), remote support if you’re dealing with technical issues, and an uncomplicated product guide that informs you how to work the controls. Some of these are cool, though I would have preferred something more standard like a Find My Buds function.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Battery life and charging case
Rated at 7 hours on a single charge, the Beoplay E8 Sport is on the higher end of the battery life spectrum for wireless earbuds. It surpasses the AirPods Pro’s paltry 4.5 hours and isn’t too far off from competitors, like the Beats Powerbeats Pro (9 hours). Keep in mind that high volume and listening modes do lessen overall playtime by about 30 minutes; I got 6.5 hours, which equated to about 4 days of listening.
Quick charging grants listeners 1.5 hours on a 20-minute charge, which isn’t the fastest or most powerful that I’ve tested, but isn’t anywhere near the wait time of standard noise-cancelling headphones.
The charging case holds an additional 23 hours, which results in 30 hours of total listening time, a higher number than the AirPods Pro (24 hours) and other sporty competitors like the Jabra Elite Active 75t (28 hours). And considering the high price tag, it’s great to see the case support wireless charging. Those who own a Qi-enabled charging pad can toss the case right on the charging surface and power up cable-free.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Call quality and connectivity
I was impressed with the call quality on these buds. Chatting with a handful of clients over Skype, several praised how loud and clear I sounded, even with a few background distractions (e.g. cat meows, loud TV) coming into the picture. My wife also found it to be one of the better-calling headsets, stating how well the buds block out ambient noise; she didn’t even notice I was chatting with her from the backyard. Performance should be credited to the new two beam-forming mic array that was integrated into each bud, which points towards the mouth to boost vocal clarity and minimize background sounds.
The Beoplay E8 Sport isn’t perfect, though. I heard some crackling noises during chats. In addition, the buds can only be used in mono mode, so you can only use one bud during calls.
Despite the Beoplay E8 Sport operating on Bluetooth 5.0, which offers many wireless benefits, from longer wireless range to reduced power usage, the buds experienced its fair share of connection issues. They would randomly unpair from my MacBook Pro, and oftentimes, only pair to the right earbud. This wasn’t an issue with my Google Pixel 3XL, but audio would occasionally stutter when stepping a few feet away from the device.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport: Verdict
Bang & Olufsen’s approach to audio products has always been distinct. Not only can you see it in the Beoplay E8 Sport, but you will also hear it. Sound is authentic, giving music recordings a lively presence with superbly balanced frequencies while bringing attention to subtle nuances you would likely miss on any other pair of wireless earbuds. The design is impeccable, as shown by the buds’ chic look and durably refined aesthetics. Even less noticeable features, like the personalized sound settings and wireless charging, make the Beoplay E8 Sport a standout.
My only major complaint is connectivity, as the buds don’t provide the lengthiest range for wireless listening and struggle to stay paired with devices. But its biggest drawback is easily the price point.
What it really comes down to is whether the Beoplay E8 Sport meets your budget. If you have the $350 to spend, then know that you’re getting excellent sports earbuds with the sound and design to match the high MSRP. For those who don’t have it or want something cheaper and just as good, I recommend looking at the $200 Jabra Elite Active 75t.