Image Credit: Bang & Olufsen
So you’ve just dropped $500 on a new Xbox Series X and you’ve still got $500 to spend on a new headset? Perfect, these are about as good as you’ll get for the money.
More than just another wireless gaming headset, the new Beoplay Portal from Danish high-end audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen, are the company’s first gaming headphones. With precision sound, adaptive ANC, innovative microphone with beamforming technology and long-lasting comfort, B&O have clearly put a lot of thought into the Beoplay Portal, but are they $500 good?
Designed in collaboration with Xbox, this ensures connection is seamless, low-latency and rock-solid via 2.4GHz wireless connectivity. That’s not to say Beoplay Portal will only connect to an Xbox. Bluetooth 5.1 and multipoint allows you to connect to two active devices concurrently, so you can seamlessly switch between gaming on Xbox, listening to music on PC or answering calls on mobile. Wired connections are also available via 3.5mm jack or USB-C. If your PC doesn’t include Bluetooth, an optional dongle is available for wireless connection to your computer.
Beoplay Portal have what Bang & Olufsen are calling a “virtual boom arm”, that is to say it doesn’t actually have an arm, instead using an array of microphones, the headphones will pick up your voice and filter out background noise. Could the headphones perform better with an actual microphone closer to your mouth? Probably, but at $500 I’d want to be able to use the same pair of headphones in public, without the arm. The microphones are also used for Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation to drown out exterior noise while gaming, or use Transparency mode when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
40mm electro-dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets tuned by the experts at Bang & Olufsen, with support for Dolby Atmos, Beoplay Portal provides immersive spatial audio for Xbox and Windows 10. Also packed in the wireless headphones is a 12-hour battery when gaming, that is increased to 24 hours with ANC on, when connected to Bluetooth only. The headphones take 3 hours to fully charge.
Weighing in at only 282g, the lightweight and comfortable fit is perfect for extended wearing sessions. This is compared to Microsoft’s first-party $100 Xbox Gaming Headset for example, at 312g. Further comfort and improved acoutics comes from memory foam, breathable materials and jaw-supporting ear cushions. The headband and offset padding is designed to relieve pressure. Other premium materials used in Beoplay Portal include finely milled aluminium, soft and durable lambskin earcups, composite polymer, and knitted bamboo fibre textile.
Intuitive touch controls allow for quick access to mute, volume, ANC, game audio/voice chat, pairing and power. Use the Bang & Olufsen app to listen to game sounds and music via dual connectivity options. Here you can also switch EQ presets such as gaming, FPS, RPG, music, movies or fully customizable controls.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal are available to order now in Black Anthracite for $499, while Grey Mist and Navy are coming soon. On a tighter budget? Here are the best gaming headsets under $100.