Beoplay E4 review: Active Noise Cancellation with B&O sound
Noise canceling headphones are fantastic for traveling or for when you want to escape the distractions of everyday life. What is not so great about them is that many feature an over the ear design, making them bulky and less portable. Fortunately, not all noise canceling headphones are over the ear. Some come in a much more portable design, such as the Beoplay E4 Active Noise Canceling headphones.
The Beoplay E4 have a clean looking design that offers the simple and modern feel Bang & Olufsen is known for. They come with four different sized ear tips and include a pair of Comply foam tips. This ensures a secure comfortable fit for ears of any size.
I have small ear canals and most of the time even the smallest ear tips aren’t quite small enough. Not so with the Beoplay E4. I was very impressed the smallest ear tips fit my ears better than most other brands. Thanks to this, the headphones were more comfortable and it helped isolate the sound even better.
Perhaps the most noticeable part of the design is the Active Noise Canceling controls and battery located near the 3.5mm connector. The cable itself felt thick and strong, which gave me confidence that the cable could stand the added weight and would last for years to come.
If you are worried about the weight of the ANC box near the end of the cable, don’t be. I soon found out that once it is placed in your pocket you can hardly tell it’s there. Due to being located near the 3.5mm jack all the weight stays at the end of the cable, and doesn’t cause any extra tugging on the earbuds.
One minor disappointment was the use of the micro USB port to charge the ANC box. I’ve always been impressed with the use of USB-C on Beoplay’s Bluetooth speakers and it would have been nice to see that here as well.
Speaking of charging, it takes almost 2.5 hours to fully charge the Beoplay E4 headphones. Once fully charged they offer up to 20 hours of Active Noise Cancellation, making it easy to listen to music for an entire day or a long flight minus the noise. Even if the battery dies you can still enjoy your music, only it will be without the benefits of noise cancellation. The included carrying pouch makes it easier to take them on the go, and the flight adapter will come in handy while traveling.
The in line controls are optimized for iOS but the controls aren’t completely useless if you use an Android device. The center button still provides you with controls to play/pause music and skip tracks, meaning you will only lack volume controls.
I’m so used to being blown away by the sound quality of B&O products that I was a little surprised by the sound of the E4 headphones. Don’t get me wrong, they offer great sound, but they were not exceptionally good like other B&O products I’ve tried. Instead, the sound was comparable to other high-end headphones I’ve listened to in the past.
The bass is present and sounds clean but it’s not as strong as other Beoplay products I’ve used. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of if you really love bass. The high end was there without being piercing and there was still plenty of sound separation, allowing you to hear the layers of instruments while listening to music.
Where the Beoplay E4 headphones did blow me away was the Active Noise Cancellation. Compared to other noise canceling headphones I’ve tried in the past these by far did the best job at canceling noise. Granted I have never tried a pair of Bose QC 35, but it is hard to imagine they could do much better.
I tested these out by putting them up against a lawn mower. I was shocked once I flipped the switch the mower all but disappeared. At first, I thought the mower had been turned off because it got so quiet. I had to toggle off noise cancellation just to check, but nope they were just doing that good of a job. After turning it back on I realized every once in awhile I could hear the mower just slightly running, but almost all of the ambient noise around me had been cut out.
The transparency mode offered by the Beoplay E4 comes is useful for times when you need to hear your surroundings. A quick flick of the switch will turn off the noise cancellation and let outside noise in. When you’re ready another quick flick will switch noise cancellation back on. This provides you a way to hear sounds around you when needed, while also allowing you to get back to your music quickly and easily.
I’ve always been a little underwhelmed by previous experiences with noise canceling headphones, but the Beoplay E4 headphones have changed that. Perhaps it’s the fact the other ones I’ve tried have been over the ear instead of in the ear, or maybe it’s just B&O’s implementation of the technology. Whatever the reason, these are amazing at canceling out noise.
While the ANC box on the headphone cable makes the Beoplay E4 a little more bulky than traditional in ear headphones, they are in no way as bulky as over the ear solutions. Long battery life, good sound quality, and a comfortable fit make these a great pair of headphones. The noise cancellation is fantastic, excelling over noise canceling headphones I’ve tried in the past. These are a great buy for anyone looking for a pair of Active Noise Canceling headphones, especially if you’re keen on portability. If you’d like to pick up a pair check out the Amazon and Beoplay links below.Buy from Amazon Buy from Beoplay