The fantastic sound quality is the stand-out feature on the B&O Beoplay E8 Sport, and they also have a reliable fit, but it’s still hard to justify the high price.
- Excellent sound quality
- Secure fit
- Can be uncomfortable
- Very expensive
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On your quest for the best workout headphones, if you’re looking for the very best sound quality, then truly wireless in-ear buds are unlikely to feature at the top of your list. Because of the form of these earphones, it’s all but impossible for them to match on- and over-ear cans.
However, the benefits of wireless buds, especially for sports, are hard to ignore – it only takes a few runs or gym sessions free from wires for the tech to claim another convert. That means when a set of truly wireless headphones does manage to offer excellent sound quality – plus a waterproof design, long battery life and a rock solid fit even during energetic workouts – you might be tempted to whip out a “shut up and take my money” meme right then and there.
The B&O Beoplay E8 Sport buds do offer all those qualities. However, it’ll take someone from the 1% not to pause, because it’s a lot of money being taken – £300, in fact, which puts even the £249 Apple AirPods Pro in the shade.
Are they worth it, then? Well, purely in terms of delivering on what they promise, the Beoplay E8 Sport headphones are indeed worth it. They’re excellent. The best running headphones, in fact the best all-round sports headphones I’ve used, and they’re elevated above the competition by the sound quality in particular.
The bigger question is probably whether any sports headphones can actually be worth £300, because you can get very good truly wireless pairs for £190, such as the Jabra Elite Active 75t. The AirPods Pro are also fantastic and come with active noise cancellation for £50 less than the Beoplay buds.
It’s a harder question and one I don’t have the answer to. I’ll leave that up to you, and explain why the Beoplay E8 Sport buds are so good.
Let’s start with the fit. In the box you get four sizes of silicone tips, plus one set of memory foam tips and three sizes of fin. The latter are essential for getting the most secure fit possible, especially when running. I opted for the biggest fins to ensure the most reliable fit, but found they caused a little discomfort. I also ran with the medium fin without the headphones coming loose or causing any discomfort – I just prefer the fit of the bigger fin as someone who struggles with in-ear buds squirming free on runs. I tended to use the headphones without the fins at work, then slip them on when I went for a run.
Out of the box the sound quality of the headphones is exceptional, with every individual instrument and voice coming through clearly and powerfully. In the partner app you can tweak the sound to suit your preferences by moving a dot around four points – bright, energetic, warm and relaxed. As you move the dot, how your changes will affect the bass and treble are displayed – move towards warm to beef up the bass, while bright highlights the treble.
The headphones respond immediately to your changes in the app so it’s easy to adjust to your preferences, and you can significantly change the sound profile of your music using it, though even when you slide all the way towards the bassy side of the circle it’s still not knock-you-down powerful. Warm is exactly the right word for it, a lovely warming undercurrent of bass that suits me perfectly; it might not satisfy big bass fans, though they can increase it further by opting for the memory foam ear tips.
While there is no active noise cancellation on the headphones, the in-ear design blocks out external noise passively. You can activate a transparency mode to be more aware of your surroundings, and set the level of transparency you want in the app – at the highest setting your music will also turn off.
The transparency mode is activated by touching the left bud once, which means it’s quite easy to do without meaning it, to the point that I was starting to get annoyed that the max volume on the headphones wasn’t loud enough until I realised I had transparency on. That’s a common problem with touch controls, especially on sports headphones that you’re trying to adjust while exercising.
The Beoplay E8 Sport buds have all the usual controls available, including turning the volume up/down by holding your finger on the right/left bud. This is not that easy to do when running hard, and the sensitivity of the controls mean you can easily tap them once when just nudging them into place during a workout. But I’m yet to come across a perfect control system on sports headphones and the Beoplay E8 Sport’s touch controls work just fine overall.
Another strong suit of the E8 Sport buds is the battery life. You get seven hours on one charge, which is massive for such small truly wireless headphones, plus another 23 hours of juice in the carry case. The quick charge feature delivers 90 minutes of playback from 20 minutes of charging, and it takes about two hours in the case to fully charge the buds.
I didn’t have any connectivity problems when using the headphones once they were set up, and I was able to switch between my laptop and my phone painlessly once both had been linked to the E8 Sport buds once.
The headphones have an IP57 waterproofing rating, which means they can withstand immersion in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes – more than enough to ensure sweat and rain will do no damage to them.
The Beoplay E8 Sport headphones come in two standard designs – black and oxygen blue (which is light blue, if you’re wondering) – and a special edition released in collaboration with the running shoe and apparel brand On. These happen to be the nicest colour (in my opinion) and have “the sound of unstoppable” printed on the headphones, which is… something. The On Beoplay E8 Sport headphones are a limited-edition release, though, so move fast if you like the design.
I don’t think the Beoplay E8 Sport headphones will disappoint anyone who picks them up, especially when it comes to sound quality and fit. They’re the best sports headphones I’ve used, ahead of brilliant options from Apple, Jaybird, Beats and Jabra. But there is always going to be that eye-watering price to consider.
Buy from Bang & Olufsen | £300
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport - True Wireless Sports Earphones, Black
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.