Danish audio company Bang and Olufsen launched B&O Play, its fashionable offshoot unit, in 2012 to appeal to a younger fanbase with more affordable, design-led audio accessories. I reviewed the B&O Play H6, which fit the brand’s criteria aesthetically, though at £239, are still at the steeper end of the market.
The headphones are available in black, brown and natural leather – I tried the natural version, which are very stylish – so much that you might not be completely put off wearing them just as a fashion accessory if, for some reason, you’re caught without a device.
One thing they aren’t is subtle – the buttery hue stood out against my hair and the ear cups, of the same colour, are sizeable. If you’re looking for something less obvious, the black or brown versions are a better choice.
The headphones came in a large box with a grey, velour protective drawstring bag. The only other accessory inside was a 1.2 metre jack-to-jack cable, which has a three-button device remote control attached. Made from “anodized high purity aluminium”, they are very lightweight (230g) with matte aluminium back plates on each ear.
I wore these while commuting around London and on a short-haul flight. As they are a little bulky, I preferred using them on the flight where taking them on and off to interact with people was less of a hassle.
With 40mm custom built drivers, the sound quality of the speakers is rich and balanced, though I found their range was best appreciated the louder you played from them. In doing this, I learned that there was considerable sound leakage – politely pointed out to me by a fellow commuter – though I tend to listen to music loudly anyway, so this might not affect everyone.
The headband is robust, fairly flexible around the head and covered in premium cowhide, while the ear cups are wrapped in supple lambskin. Both ears come with a jack in each ear cup so you can choose which side you want the cord to hang from. Besides this, the second jack also means you can share your music with another user.
While the memory foam around the ear cup cancels out a lot of noise, the pressure from the headband on my upper jaw was a little uncomfortable over long periods. They were sturdy though, and fit snugly – I found there was no risk of them coming off when rushing for trains or being herded through crowds on public transport. The ear cups are also designed to rotate at 90 degrees so they can be packed flat.
A fashionable pair of headphones with good sound quality, though for the price, a few more functions wouldn’t have gone amiss.