Audio

Slick with stellar sound but poor ergonomics

The BeoPlay H5 comes with a cable made of a robust and waterproof braided nylon material.
The BeoPlay H5 comes with a cable made of a robust and waterproof braided nylon material.PHOTO: BANG & OLUFSEN

Bang & Olufsen's first wireless earphones, the BeoPlay H5, is very slickly designed, with a cable made of a robust and waterproof braided nylon material, and earbuds that display the B&O branding prominently.

These earphones are magnetised, so they stick together when you place the earbuds side by side.

Doing so also turns it off and lets you hang the earphones like a necklace around your neck, reducing the chance of your dropping them than if you had just left them dangling.

The lack of an earphone fin to keep the earbuds in place makes it difficult to use the H5 for intense workouts. The only thing keeping the earbuds in my ears was that I had pushed them deep in, which got rather uncomfortable after half an hour of use.

The left earbud, in particular, vexed me no end, as no matter which earbud size or type I swopped to, the earbud kept slipping out. I was constantly adjusting it and never found a perfect fit - the first time something like this has happened to me, and only in one ear.

The poor ergonomics are a pity, considering that the H5 is stellar in the sound department.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $379

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 6.4mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 18g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

Sound reproduction is loud and clear, although the trebles are slightly too enriched for my liking. Cymbal clashes and high notes are noticeably piercing, but the mids and bass are rich and detailed without being recessed.

However, users can adjust the EQ settings of the earphones to their likingby downloading the Beoplay app on either Android or iOS.

Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, with almost no skips while on the go. I was able to leave my iPod a good 10m away before encountering any connectivity issues.

The H5 comes in two colours - black and a dark pink Dusty Rose. You also get a set of three Comply eartips, which are foam tips that are supposed to be more comfortable. I preferred the silicone tips.

It comes with the cutest charging dock - a small cube with two recessed sides for you to magnetically fit the earbuds into.

The drawback is that it is another item to carry with you while travelling, as opposed to just a cable that plugs directly into the earphones.

Battery life is good for 5hr, which is one of the shortest among current models of wireless earphones.

•Verdict: The BeoPlay H5 has great sound quality and looks but tricky ergonomics make the earphones unsuitable for intense activity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Slick with stellar sound but poor ergonomics'. Print Edition | Subscribe