Last year when Bang & Olufsen launched the Beoplay H3 in Singapore, I took it for a spin and posted a review. When the new Beoplay H3 ANC is launched, B&O once again invited me to review this latest headset.
Out of the Box
The new Beoplay H3 ANC packaging is more premium-looking than the see-through box of last year’s H3. As you open up the hard box, the pair of H3 ANC earbuds greets you without any other accessory present, so that you can have your undivided attention on these fine-made tips created from a single aluminum block with carefully detailed ventilation holes.
The rest of the cables, together with the ANC unit, rest below the plastic housing, wrapped in rice paper. All the accessories – cloth pouch, USB cable, airplane adapter, eartips, manual – are stored beneath the black cardboard flap.
The new H3 ANC differs from the original H3 in a few ways. First, there are 3 additional holes below the circular ones, which I believe are mics for active noise-canceling. Second, the cable is much stiffer and less malleable than the former, so I have to roll the cable in circles instead of folding them. Finally, there is a round ANC control unit that is thinly coated with silicone to give a matt rubbery look and feel.
What’s unchanged is the in-line control, which still feels cheap and the buttons do not have the firm click response. Note that the volume control only works with Apple devices (iPhone, iPad), while only the play/answer button works on Android.
The heavy cables and the ANC control unit do add some weight to the earphones and slight cable rub sounds are heard.
The H3 ANC comes with T-200 Comply foam tips that are pre-fitted. There are 4 other silicone ear tips, including an extra-small size that I have never encountered before. When testing the earphones with the standard ear tips, I experienced similar audio signature as the original H3, which I had described as flat, unexciting, with poor mid-high delivery.
However, all changed for the better when I fitted a double-flange silicone tip. I get to enjoy a bit more bass feel and the unpleasant mid-high ring is magically gone. The treble is slightly more prominent though still not too sparkling. The mids are tamed with good instrumental layering. I love this “new” sound that the double-flange silicone tip brings.
I would describe the H3 ANC as neutral, where the non-aggressive bass is balanced with an equally eased yet sufficiently clear treble, while the mids add just the right amount of fullness.
Active Noise Canceling
The ANC is activated by sliding the power and holding it for a second. The small white LED light appears, signifying the power is on. The ANC is not as aggressive as Bose QC20, but it does remove the low ambient noise to give a cleaner audio sound.
In addition to actively canceling the noise, the ANC boosts the volume level slightly to give a bit more drive. It takes just over 2 hours to fully charge the ANC unit and lasts 20 hours.
The Beoplay H3 ANC is an all-rounder earphones suited for listeners who prefer a balanced audio experience. There are no exaggerated sound staging, no brightened treble, or overweight bass. The sound is smooth, slightly warm, and the lightweight earbuds are excellent for extended listening.
While the original Beoplay H3 did not impress me due to its lacklustre delivery, and though the new H3 ANC has similar sound signature, a change in the eartips offered me a new listening perspective, exposing the potentials of this premium in-ear headphones.
Headphone Type: In-Ear
Dimensions (W x H x D): 20 mm X 26 mm X 23 mm
Weight: 40 g
▪ Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
▪ 350 mAh battery capacity
▪ Up to 20 hours of ANC Playtime
▪ Approx. 2.5 hours charging time
▪ Earphones function without battery
Colour: Gunmetal Grey
Driver Type : Electro-dynamic
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Frequency Range: 20 – 16,000 Hz
Microphone: MicroElectrical-Mechanical System (MEMS)
Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW @ 1kHz
▪ 1.35m cord with 3.5mm mini jack
▪ USB to Micro USB cable for charging
▪ 3 control buttons & microphone
▪ 1 On/Off button for ANC control
▪ 29 air vents are drilled into housing of headphone for improved comfort and acoustics
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) System:
▪ Based on feed-forward technology, a small microphone placed inside the housing measures ambient noise. The microphone signal is transferred to an ANC circuit, which turns the microphone signal into “anti-noise” and used to reduce ambient noise to a comfortable level for the user
Available at: Apple Premium Resellers (EpiCentre, Nubox, iStudio, Best Denki, Polaris), Challenger, Digital Style, Newstead, Sprint-Cass, Stereo, AV One, ConnectIT, Tangs
Official product website: http://www.beoplay.com/products/beoplayh3anc