I don't usually do unboxings, but this one... this one is different.
Those who know me know I'm a sucker for bluetooth earphones. I've been using BT earphones almost exclusively with my phones ever since I discovered Sony's BT20NX back in 2007. That one lasted me over 5 years before one of the drivers failed. While I'm no audiophile, I do appreciate a good pair of earphones that provide clear, distortion free sound even when taken to max volume. I've also grown to appreciate the increasing range I get with each new wireless phones I get.
I've always peeked and oogled at Bang & Olufsen products in electronics shops, appreciating their uniquely Danish simple, yet elegant, design. There's something about Scandinavian design that's just so pleasing.
Today, I received an unexpected - yet greatly appreciated - gift from a friend -the same friend I helped get past WannaCry a few weeks ago -in the form of a pair of B&O H5 bluetooth earphones. I can't even begin to describe how pleasing and elegant those tiny things are. Even opening the packaging exudes a sense of occasion. A sense of elegance.
The earphones are coated in this soft-touch material that feels almost like velvet to the touch. The cord connecting the two earpieces is not only tangle-proof, but also feels like silk when holding it. And the small metal cap, adorned with the B&O logo, on each earpiece has a spun texture that drags the fingers to contour with its curve. Even fitting the earbuds is accompanied by a reassuring, if soft, sort of thump to let you know they sat firmly in place.
I've always had a huge respect for Sony. The materials, design, and quality of their audio-visual products is amazing. My current pair, until today that is, is a Sony SBH80, which I've had and used daily for two years, and they never ceased to surprise me with how comfortable they are whether I'm in a T-Shirt or a suit and over-coat. They're intuitive, clear, have a battery that lasts ages, and are splash-proof. But the level of attention to detail in these B&O earphones is on an entirely different level. It's staggering.
Each earphone has a hidden magnet on the opposite end of the driver. When the two get close to each other, they click together forming a sort of B&O necklace. That, on its own, would've been a nice design feature. But these are B&O earphones; obviously there's more! When the earphones detect they are attached to each other, they automatically enter into stand-by mode to save power! That is as good as ergonomic design has ever gotten.
While they don't charge through Micro-USB, they come with a very nice cube-shaped charger, which is also covered in the same velvety soft-touch material as the earphones themselves, and has a rubbery base that helps it stick to the surface it sits on. The cable seems to be made of silicone, and is extremely flexible with absolutely no memory effect.
Remember those two magnetic ends on the earphones from above? They also serve another purpose. When each earphone is brought next to the corresponding side on the charging cube, it soft-clicks beautifully and securely in place. Once the two are docked into the cube, a tiny red LED will flash to indicate the earphones are charging. That same LED will light solid green once they have fully charged.
But we don't buy audio equipment because it looks niceor is made of pleasant to touch materials. So, how do these earphones sound? I'm delighted to report the sound coming out of the two 6.4mm "electro-dynamic" drivers is just as good as the first contact with those earphones would suggest. Sound is distortion free even at maximum volume, rich in bass without overdoing it, and the level of clarity is nothing short of fantastic. They're also quite loud! And goodness gracious are they light (18 grams, to be precise) and comfortable to wear! They're so light that I almost forget I'm wearing them.
All in all, I'm really happy with my new earphones, and I'm really grateful to my friend for this awesome gift. I've also gained a new appreciation for B&O and an understanding to why their products command such a price. Such quality and attention to detail do not come cheap.