The gorgeous Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport are very close to the total package. The sound is fantastic, and the fit is comfortable and secure. The buds feel premium (as they should at this price), and the battery life is excellent. However, the lack of active noise cancellation is a letdown at this price.
Audio quality is impressive
Excellent battery life
No active noise cancellation
Touch controls are too sensitive
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Many would say that the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sports are the company's first set of premium workout headphones. Bang & Olufsen (B&O) is well-known for its high-end sound and premium design. But exercise earbuds? Not so much.
That's why these headphones are such a welcome surprise. Other high-end audio brands have tried to make a pair of the best workout earbuds, but the results haven't always been worth the money like the Edifier Neobuds Pro.
Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that here; the Beoplay E8 Sports were comfortable to wear for extended periods, stayed in during exercise, and my music sounded great. Plus, they come with water and sweat resistance — handy for intense workouts.
While exercising outside, I appreciated the earbuds' Transparency mode, which lets you hear what's happening around you. But it did highlight the most significant omission here; noise cancellation, which is a disappointment at this price.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: price and features
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport retail for $350/£300, which is a substantial investment, especially since they were released in July 2020. This makes them more expensive than the latest generation of the Apple AirPods Pro and top exercise earbuds like the Jabra Elite 7 Active.
You can often pick them up on a deal, but the headline figure doesn't vary much. It's not surprising given that B&O is a premium audio brand and always prices its products as such, but if you're looking for a set you can throw around during exercise, it's a big ask.
For your money, you do get a fairly feature-packed set of buds with IP57 water resistance, customizable audio with the B&O smartphone app, and touch-sensitive controls on each earbud, although I found these a bit sensitive at times, and I ended up accidentally changing the track.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: sound quality
The standout feature of any Bang & Olufsen product is the sound quality. So, I was interested in trying the Beoplay E8 Sport and seeing if the company had sacrificed audio quality for sports-focused design. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.
Once I pressed play, it didn't feel like every detail is the song was thrown at you all at once. Instead, the track sounds like a well-balanced whole, even when I was out jogging at a fairly reasonable pace. After using them for a while, they quickly became my go-to wireless earbuds.
While running, I also tried the Transparency mode, which uses microphones to play external sounds into your ears so you can hear traffic and other important environmental noises. Generally, this was a helpful experience, but not always.
There are three modes; high, medium, and low. I found low offered the best mix of noises and music so that I could hear traffic and loud noises but little else. In contrast, the high setting meant that the wind noise overpowered my music.
This isn't helped by the lack of active noise cancellation (ANC). This is a standard feature on workout earbuds at this price; you can even find ANC on budget-friendly, sub-$100 options like the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite, so it is disappointing B&O left it out.
There is excellent noise isolation, though, aided by the solid fit. Only a little gets through when the Transparency mode is off. However, should you need more insulation from gym music, B&O includes several swappable foam tips you can use to improve the fit.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: design and comfort
Unsurprisingly for a brand focused on premium design, the Beoplay E8 Sport look fantastic. The buds are made of aluminum and plastic and weigh just 6.4g each, so they are lightweight and comfortable in your ears, even over extended periods.
Thanks to the silicon buds and winged tips, they fit nicely and snugly in the ear without feeling like they're going to drop out. I could run at full pace without risking the buds falling out. This is critical when running the trails, especially if you're paying $350 for them.
The outer bud, featuring the B&O branding, doubles as a touch-sensitive pad for controlling the buds without delving into the app or music player. Different sequences control things like volume, skipping tracks, and pausing music, as well as the buds' Transparency mode and ability to handle phone calls.
I have mixed feelings about the touch controls. They can be great, but it's not always easy to be precise when you're running at pace. I often activated the controls accidentally when attempting to twist the buds back to a tight fit.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: battery life
Battery life is always a worry, especially if you're heading out for a longer run or extended gym session. Thankfully, I didn't feel there was any risk of these buds suddenly dying on you — the battery lasts around seven hours and can be topped up with the charging case.
The case offers three full recharges, promising around 30 hours of playback from a single charge. When you finally need to plug into a USB-C charger, a 20-minute charge gets you another 90 minutes of use. And the front-facing LEDs flash green once you're good to go.
Helpfully, the B&O mobile app lets you know how much charge you're carrying at any time, with measurements for both earbuds. That's important because you can use one bud if you want to keep the other ear free for chatting with a friend.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: user reviews
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport currently hold a rating of 3.8 out of five on Amazon from over 1,500 reviews. The general consensus is that the wireless buds sound great, fit well, and have great battery life, but there are a few common problems.
Many users report difficulties connecting the headphones to the smartphone, while the fit didn't convince others. And some were disappointed the buds didn't come with a great selection of tips. However, for most, these were the top earbuds they'd tried.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport review: verdict
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport easily live up to the company's reputation for high-quality audio; the sound is well-balanced, the fit is comfortable, and there are exercise-friendly features like water resistance and secure tips.
Where they come undone is the price — it's hard to justify spending $300 on a set of workout earbuds that could fall out on a run or accidentally have a weight fall on them. And it's disappointing that they miss out on key features like noise cancellation but cost more than the competition.
Jabra Elite 7 Active
The Jabra Elite 7 Active are an alternative set of lightweight workout earbuds. The ShakeGrip design means you don't need multiple tips or wings to keep them in place, and they sound great too. Importantly, they do come with noise cancellation and are half the price.
Honor Earbuds 2 Lite
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite have an AirPods-inspired design, with an all-white body and stem-based design. The budget-friendly buds have a transparency mode, noise cancellation, and last 10 hours out of the case. And you could buy five sets for the price of the Beoplay E8 Sport.
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Chris is a freelance contributor to Fit&Well. He's from Shropshire, England originally, but currently lives in the United States near Miami, FL. Chris has written about health and fitness technology for a decade, including as an in-depth feature writer and product reviewer for Wareable.com, tackling emerging wearable tech trends in the sports and fitness industries. When not on the beat for Fit&Well, Chris writes about technology for Trusted Reviews and WIRED, sports for The Guardian and just about everything else for Shortlist, Pellicle, Digital Spy and a selection of other publications. He also pens books on technology use for Flametree Publishing.
Chris stays fit through hot yoga (studio not always necessary in the Florida humidity) and hopes to complete teacher training in 2021. He enjoys cycling, tennis, running and, ever-more-infrequently, playing football (or soccer, to his American friends). Those old injuries he 'ran off' as a teenager have finally caught up.
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