Bang & Olufsen has just announced its newest true wireless earbuds: the Beoplay EX. They come in a stick design reminiscent of the likes of AirPods Pro, but with some serious audio chops and other spec delights, as you'd expect from B&O.
At the centre of it all is a 9.2mm audio driver, which is pretty big for small headphones – it's the biggest B&O has ever used, certainly. Bigger speaker drivers can move higher volumes of air, which potentially means a bigger and fuller range of sound. A bigger driver doesn't automatically mean higher-quality audio, since there are lots of other factors involved, but B&O isn't exactly known for skipping over elements like detail and dynamic response in favour of big bass, so it's safe to assume these will deliver there as well.
On top of the driver is active noise cancellation and a six-hour battery life, but what's really impressive is that all this tech fits into buds that weigh just 6g each, and aren't ridiculously large. So many of the best noise cancelling earbuds are bulbous, bulky beasts – but not these.
That's a big part of why I'm making the AirPods Pro comparison with the B&O EX: a key factor in AirPods Pro's success that people don't talk about enough is that they're tiny and light compared to the competition, meaning they're more comfortable to wear and stay in the ear more securely.
It looks like B&O wants to achieve the same thing, but while cranking up the technology. The sound quality will no doubt be better than AirPods Pro, and you get about 30% more battery life in the buds per charge. You also get about two more charges of the buds from the battery case, bringing the total playing time up to 20 hours, according to B&O.
The active noise cancellation is driven by six mics in total, with additional beam-forming tech for voice calls.
You've got Bluetooth 5.2 for rock solid connectivity, and there's aptX Adaptive higher-quality audio support, so you can really make the most of hi-res music sourced on the big drivers.
They come in three colours, which will be released on different days: Anthracite Oxygen (grey with blue detail) are out on May 5th 2022, Gold Tone (ivory with gold detail) are out on May 27th 2022, and Black Anthracite (grey with black detail) are out in June 2022.
As you're probably expecting from everything I've said here, they won't be cheap. At £349/$399, they're right at the top end of true wireless earbuds, above what you'll pay for even the likes of the mighty Bowers & Wilkins PI7. But price didn't stop those getting five stars, and if these deliver just as rich sound quality in a smaller and lighter package, these could really be the deluxe earbuds of choice for those wanting an audio tier higher than what AirPods Pro deliver.