Bang And Olufsen H8i Review - They Sound Great! But They Are On-Ear Headphones That Cost More Than Most OVER Ear Headphones

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The Bang and Olufsen H9i’s are a pair of beautifully designed premium head phones that also perform pretty well. But they also have a little brother, the Bang and Olufsen H8i on ear headphones. These two headphones have a lot in common, but they also have some major differences. So lets see what the $100 price difference between these two headphones gets you. 

For this review I’m going to be focusing exclusively on the Bang and Olufsen H8i headphones, if you want to learn more about the H9i’s then click on the I icon above. The Bang and Olufsen H8i come in two color ways, you can get the two tone color way like I have here or you can get them in all black like the H9i’s. And personally I prefer the all black color way over the natural color way. The Bang and Olufsen H8i headphones retails for $399, thats the same as the Bowers and Wilkins PX which are over ear headphones, $100 less then the H9i’s and $50 more than the Sony 1000XM2 which are the top dog right now when it comes to noise cancelation technology. If you want to pick these headphones up I’ll have links in the description below, and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. 

Alright, if you watched my B&O H9i video then you’re going to have a little bit of Dejavu here. The H8i’s come with a USB C to USB A cable for charging cause it has a USB C port and it also comes with a 3.5 millimeter audio cable for wired listening. And yes they can be used passively. And they also come with an airplane adaptor. And the H8i’s also come with the same fleece carrying pouch that comes with the H9i’s. And like I said before, even though this pouch does feel like its good quality, when I’m paying $400 or $500 for a pair of headphones Im kind of expecting a hard shell carrying case. 

Ok, now lets get to the headphones… Just like the H9i’s the H8i’s have cow hide leather on its headband which looks very nice and it also has lamb skin leather on its ear pads. And the leather on the ear pads on both the H8i and H9i feels much more luxurious than the synthetic leather you would find on the say the Sony 1000XM2. And just like the padding on the H9i’s the padding on the H8i’s don’t over heat too much after extended listening sessions. And just like the H9i’s the H8i also has a brushed aluminum frame and fabric and padding underneath the headband. But surprisingly, the H8i’s have more padding underneath its headband than the H9i’s. And personally I wouldn’t mind a little more padding under the headband of the H9i’s. Regarding comfort, well keep in mind these are on ear headphones, and as on ear headphones go these feel pretty good. They have a little bit more clamping force than the H9i but they do a very good job of not shifting around when you’re walking. The range of motion on these ear cups is pretty good so they’ll be able to conform to most head shapes. So they don’t apply any unnecessary pressure. Unlike the like Beats Solo 3 who’s ear cups have very little range of motion and do apply pressure on your jaw. These headphones weigh in at 215 grams and even though they are fairly comfortable, I do have a bias towards over ear head phones. If you’re a guy with a smaller head or a lady, these should fit you just fine… but if you’re a guy with a bigger head like me then over ear is the way to go.

As mentioned before, just like the H9i’s the H8i also has a USB c port for charging and a 3.5 millimeter audio jack for wired listening. But the first big major difference between the H9i and the H8i are the controls. The H9i’s have a touch pad on the right ear cup to control your music playback and other settings. And for the most part it works very well. But the H8i has a switch on its left ear cup which powers on the device, and toggles both noise cancelation and transparency mode on and off. And I’ll demonstrate those in a minute. And on the right ear cup you have your traditional volume up and volume down buttons and a multipurpose button. Now these buttons have a good amount of tactile feed back, but since I touch these buttons on a regular basis I wish they were made out of metal, not plastic. Cause remember, these are $400 headphones.

The H8i are also using Bluetooth 4.2… and as a side note why don’t more headphones have bluetooth 5.0? Comment down below if you know. Any ways, the H8i have a range of 40 feet and very little latency. Watching videos with these headphones is ok but there is a little bit of latency which might bother some people like myself. But these headphones can be connected to 2 devices at the same time so switching for your phone to your computer on a regular basis like I do I much easier. 

Just like the H9i, the H8i also has proximity sensors built in. And they perform just as well as the H9i. When you take the headphones off, they’ll automatically pause your music and when you put them back on they’ll automatically start playing again. Even though this feature works well I typically keep this feature off because I don’t want my headphones to just start blaring music at max volume every time I put them on. 

Now battery life is the main thing the H8i has over the H9i, with ANC and bluetooth turned on the H9i typically average 20 hours of playback time with volume set at 50%. Under the same conditions, the H8i lasted up to 32 hours of playback time, and with ANC turned off these little guys lasted 47 hours. Thats a huge difference

The H8i is a rocking a 1110 milliamp hour battery while the H9i is rocking a 770 milliamp hour battery. But the battery on the H9i is removable, so if you get to a point where your battery wont hold a charge you can just get a new battery… But the battery on the H8i is not removable so you don’t have that option.

Sound quality on the H8i is very good though, but these do have a flat sound signature just like the H9i. So you’re not going to get a lot of thump in the bass. But the lows do resonate quite a bit which is what I look for in premium headphones. Both the H9i and H8i both have 40 millimeter diameter drivers and for the most part I really cant tell a difference when it comes to sound quality. Instrument separation, Sound stage, the lows and highs all perform nearly identical on both headphones. They perform very well in the lows but they do struggle a bit to put an emphasis on the vocals or treble no matter how much I play around with their app. What really does change the sound quality between these two headphones is the padding. With the H9i’s you have a better seal and your ears have more room so you get a better and more relaxed listening experience. With the H8i since they are on ear headphones if the padding isn’t perfectly sitting on your ears the sound quality can drastically change. 

When it comes to the noise cancellation on the H8i, surprisingly it has less cabin pressure than the H9i’s. Which is weird cause I was expecting them to both have about the same amount of cabin pressure. But the noise cancelation on the H8i is not as good as the noise cancelation on the H9i. Obviously since these are on ear headphones they are in a disadvantage cause they don’t create as much as a seal as the H9i’s and they don’t also have as much passive noise isolation. The ANC technology on these headphones does almost as good of a job of blocking out road noise like the H9i but it doesn’t do nearly as well when it comes to blocking out voices. If noise cancellation is very important to you then you have better options out there at a lower price… Namely Sony 1000XM2. 

The H8i’s also feature transparency mode, and I love it when headphones have this type of feature, it allows you to talk to people without having to take off your headphones. When you press down on the left switch the headphones will pause your music, and pump in all of the ambient sound so you can hear whats going on around you. And then when you press down on the switch again the headphones will go back to normal and start playing your music again.

The H8i’s app is also very similar to the H9i’s app. All you can really do is control your music playback, adjust the volume and play around with the H8i’s EQ settings. Like I’ve mentioned before, the app is very nice but I wish it gave you more control over the headphones. Most noticeably the EQ settings… I like how the H8i and H9i sound when I have them set to excited, but I wish I could also make the lows resonate a bit more. Like I mentioned in my H9i review, I also wish I could control how much noise cancelation these headphones have. Recently B&O added a new toggle to turn ANC on or Off on the H9i from the app, but I still cant specify how much ANC I want and for some strange reason the H8i didn’t get this button. Again, B&O’s app is pretty but I wish it was more useful.

So, Bang And Olufsen’s new H8i and H9i headphones are very good. They’re very elegant, they are very comfortable, and they sound very great. The noise cancellation on the H9i is better then the noise cancelation on the H8i, but the H8i completely outclasses the H9i regarding battery life. But still, $400 for a pair on ear head phones is a hard sell. Unless you’re a guy with a small head or a woman and you really like the design and I mean really like the design then you can justify getting these headphones. But in almost every other case, I would say just spend the extra 100 bucks and get the H9i. Sure you’re going to take a huge hit in the battery department but I think comfort is almost as important as sound quality when it comes to headphones. The H9i are so comfortable they basically melt around your head, where as the H8i you never forget they’re there. But if you strictly have a $400 budget for headphones then I suggest you get the Bowers and Wilkins PX contingent on you not having a big head. If your snap back looks like its holding on for dear life then the B&W PX aint for you. Just be safe, get the 1000XM2, and go get some chick fil a with the change.