Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX earbuds review

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX earbuds review: premium true wireless

There’s always a trade-off when it comes to true wireless headphones like the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX. Sure, they’re the most convenient form factor, but many pairs just can’t hold a candle to a half-decent pair of over-ear cans and the way they’re constructed means they have an expiration date sooner than larger, repairable (and recyclable) devices.

However, the Beoplay EX is a pair of true wireless headphones designed to be better than most, and after spending a few months with them, I think I’m in love.

First Impressions: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

Taking the Beoplay EX out of the box, the first thing I noticed is that there are Comply foam tips included. Comply foam is made out of a similar material to those squidgy ear plugs you get to cut out external noise, and all but guarantee a perfect fit and good noise isolation. I don’t know why they’re not included with more headphones because they are truly wonderful and will give most people the best seal. There are also regular rubber tips in XS, S, M and L, which should cover most ears if you prefer to go the silicone route.

The headphones themselves are beautiful. It’s been interesting watching the evolution of the aesthetic of true wireless: from chunky pebbles back to in-ears with the cord cut off. Presumably, the little tail on the EX is where the microphones live, but they also give a good counterbalance so they sit a bit more comfortably. They’re a touch long for my taste, but they’re still pretty good. I love the metallic blue-on-black of my Anthracite Oxygen pair.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX Next Gen IP57 ANC Earbuds, Anthracite Oxygen
  • Lose yourself in the music: With adaptive active noise cancellation, you can tune out of your surroundings
  • Soul–stirring sound: Finely tuned acoustics for music that moves you
  • Clear calls: Be heard, with beamforming microphones that cut out background noise
  • Precision craftsmanship: Clean lines and premium materials crafted by Bang & Olufsen engineers
  • Waterproof earbuds: Workout, explore off road or take a stroll in the rain with IP57 rated waterproof earphones

The case itself is beautiful, but a bit chunky. It’s nice and light, but it’s larger than most of the true wireless pairs I have, which might make it a bit too bulky for some smaller pockets.

They’re also, and I cannot stress this enough, very expensive for true wireless buds. They are not the most expensive I’ve tried, but they sit right at the top of the market. This is partially because they are a more premium product, and partially because they come from a premium brand.


Audio detailsAdaptive Active Noise Cancellation
9.2mm Neodymium drivers
20 – 20,000 Hz frequency range
BatteryEarbuds: 70 mAh each
Charging case: 380 mAh
Up to 20 hours combined battery life
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2
Dust and waterproof ratingIP57
Price (RRP)$650
WarrantyUp to 24 months
Australian websiteBang & Olufsen

Setup experience

You want the setup experience of a premium product to be wonderful and stress-free. In that case, for the love of all that is good, only pair the Beoplay EX through the app. Do not just connect them to your phone using Bluetooth and then try and open the app later. This will only cause pain and sadness.

Who can say why the designers and developers did it this way? Maybe a phone bit them as a child. Either way, it was deeply, deeply frustrating to try and pair them with the app.

Once paired with the app, it was easy going from there. But unpairing them from my phone and then spending over an hour trying to coax the app into recognising the headphones as a Bluetooth device was painful.

The app itself is pretty easy to use and largely gets out of your way once it’s all set up.

Beoplay EX sound quality

This is really the only thing that matters. Once the headphones are paired with your phone, you probably won’t have to do it again until you get a new phone. But listening is kinda the whole point.

I’m always sceptical about whether a pair of true wireless headphones will sound good. But the 9mm drivers B&O managed to fit in these things give an extremely impressive performance. It’s easy to just get lost in the music and forget that I’m trying to hear small details for a review, which is always the mark of a great pair of headphones.

Testing it on “Tattoo” by Loreen, there’s a lot more space and movement than I’d expect from stereo headphones. The bass is strong and present, but her voice still has room to soar and breathe. The tuning is excellent, and these headphones seem made for electronic music.

In “Break a Broken Heart”, Andrew Lambrou shows off some seriously impressive falsetto, which rings clear and true. In the beginning, I did detect a bit more distortion on the low bass than I’d like. But, on “Promise” by Voyager the EX handles the jump from melodic keyboards to metal-style bass drums like a champ.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX earbuds and charging case

However, it’s when I listen to “A Concert Six Months From Now” by Finneas that the issue I have with these headphones becomes clear: there is a very slight, almost imperceptible fuzz. It doesn’t get in the way of the music much, and I don’t think most people would notice unless they were looking for it, but in some ways, it’s kind of like trying to look at the details through a mildly dusty window. I feel separated from the music a little more than I’d like, and more than I usually am with headphones at this price point.

The headphones are great at reproducing details and frequency ranges that are rare to hear in true wireless earphones, but that fuzz is a bit annoying. It’s not there on every song (it’s less present on “Maybe You Saved Me” by Bad Suns and Pvris), but it’s there on enough songs that it’s annoying. Interestingly, this fuzz only became apparent after a recent software update, so hopefully the next update will fix it. Before the update, things sounded much clearer.

Noise cancelling, transparency, and battery life

There has not yet been a pair of headphones that’s gotten close to the transparency mode of the Apple AirPods Pro (Gen 2). Apple made a blood pact with the devil and it really worked out for them this time. Wearing AirPods Pro on transparency mode somehow sounds like you’re not wearing headphones.

That said, the Beoplay EX transparency mode is pretty good. It sounds like the world’s amplified into your ears through microphones, which is how transparency mode works, so it makes sense. It’s fine.

The noise cancelling is also pretty good. Not “I put them in my ears and the world went away” good, but “I put them in my ears on a flight and the really annoying guy explaining cryptocurrency two rows behind me became quiet enough that I could quell the urge to point out that he was wrong about literally everything he said” good, and sometimes that’s enough.

As for the battery life, I would have liked a bigger battery and thus better battery life. Given how large the buds and box are, not to mention the price, there’s room to shove a bit more battery in there. However, I haven’t had a problem with them. They lasted me a full work trip to Sydney (from Melbourne) and I didn’t have to charge them until I got home. At 5-6 hours with noise cancelling on, and an extra 2.5-ish recharges in the box, it’s at the industry standard and will suit most people. At $650, every part of these headphones should be better than standard, but they prioritise audio quality, which is the most important thing from my perspective.

Who is the Beoplay EX for?

The Beoplay EX is for people with a high budget, who want to get true wireless headphones with the best sound quality possible. Are they $200 better than AirPods Pro Gen 2 or Technics EAH-AZ60? Probably not. But the EX earbuds do sound better than both of them and you’re paying for the Bang & Olufsen name as much as you’re paying for the technology.

I would still go AirPods Pro Gen 2 for Apple users looking for the best transparency mode and good noise cancelling, if those are your priorities, given the price difference. But that richness in the audio is hard to go past, and I’ve found that the Beoplay EX is the pair I habitually pick up when I go out now, whereas before I would reach for AirPods for casual commuting listening.

These are the true wireless headphones you get when you don’t want to compromise on audio quality but still want that convenient form factor.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX earbuds
Tiny headphones that don’t compromise on audio quality.
Value for money
Ease of use
They sound amazing
Comfortable to wear
Good range of ear tips included
Stems are a bit long
Battery life is merely average, which is disappointing at this price point