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B&O Play BeoPlay H7 by Bang & Olufsen review: B&O Play's first around-ear Bluetooth headphone is well-built, stylish and sounds quite good, too

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The Good The Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H7 has a sleek, sturdy design, with a metal and leather headband and plush earcups, not to mention excellent sound for Bluetooth. It also features touch controls in the right earcup and a replaceable rechargeable battery that delivers 20 hours of battery life.

The Bad It's fairly expensive, and we'd like to see a better case and dual microphones (for cell-phone calls) at this price point.

The Bottom Line Apart from some small flaws, the BeoPlay is an excellent wireless headphone that's very comfortable, well built, looks good on your head, and matches up well versus the competition.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

No doubt about it, the B&O Play BeoPlay H7 by Bang & Olufsen is a swanky wireless Bluetooth headphone. Its headband is crafted out of anodized aluminum, and the plush, memory foam earcups are covered with lambskin leather. It looks expensive and it is: B&O's first full-size, over-ear wireless model lists for $450, although it can be had for $400, £330 or AU$750 online in two color options.

I found it a pleasure to wear. It weighs in at 9.9 ounces or 280 grams, which puts it somewhere between lightweight and heavy. By comparison Bose's SoundLink Around-ear Wireless Headphones II weighs 5.27 ounces, or 149 grams. However, that headphone doesn't have a metal headband. Master & Dynamic's $550 MW60 wireless headphone, which does feature metal parts, comes in at 12.2 ounces or 345 grams. That tank of a headphone feels heavy, while the BeoPlay H7 doesn't.

The headphone comes in two colors and has touch controls on the right earcup.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The earcups sealed out a good amount of ambient noise without clamping down on my head too much. Your ears will still get steamy wearing this headphone on hot days, but that's par for the course for full-size, around-ear headphones. Overall, the H7 is very comfortable.

B&O makes an on-ear wireless model, the BeoPlay H8, which adds active noise canceling, a feature this model leaves off. However, this H7 -- based on the wired BeoPlay H6's chassis -- does have similar touch controls to the H8. They're on the right earcup, and they allow you to switch tracks forward and back with a swipe, as well as adjust volume and answer calls. Occasionally, I found myself accidentally touching the earcup and pausing my music, which is why some people don't like touch controls on headphones. But I'm mostly a fan of them.

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like other Bluetooth headphones, this one has a built-in microphone for making calls. It works well, but there are better microphone systems out there. At this price point (or less), some wireless headphones, such as the Beats Studio Wireless, Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and Plantronics BackBeat Pro, include dual microphones and a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice inside the headphones when you talk.

One of the nice pluses of the headphone is that the rechargeable 770mAh battery is removable and replaceable. That also means you can buy an extra battery and carry it along with you as a backup (battery life is rated at 20 hours, which is very good). Alas, there's no slot for stowing that extra battery in the included carrying case, because it's made out of fabric. It's nice fabric, but at this price point I'd like to see a hard case.

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