Noise-canceling headphones don’t have to be cumbersome over-ear models — they can have a compact in-ear design, and be perfect for slipping into a pocket or bag when traveling. The latest comes from B&O Play, and rather than rehash existing noise-canceling technology, the Beoplay E4 earbuds use the new, improved two-microphone system previously heard in the Beoplay H9 over-ear headphones to filter out the world around you, immersing you fully in music.
The trouble with effective noise filtering, and loud music, is you’re completely isolated, and pulling yourself out of that in an instant can mean fumbling for your smartphone or frantically pulling the earbuds out. Not so with the Beoplay E4, Transparency Mode is operated by a gesture, and quickly stops playback and turns off the ANC, reconnecting you with the world. The same gesture reactivates the ANC and restarts the audio.
Squeezing in so much technology doesn’t mean the E4’s are oversized, or have a pitiful battery life. They’re stylish, just as you’d expect from B&O Play, and resemble regular in-ear models. A rechargeable cell is placed inside an in-line aluminum battery pack, keeping the buds lightweight, attractively designed, and all about the sound quality. The battery should return 20 hours of continuous ANC music playback. When it runs out, you can still listen, just without the noise cancellation.
Each earbud holds a 10.8mm driver, and made from stainless steel, rubber, and polymer for an overall weight of 50 grams. A selection of silicone ear tips are included, along with a set of Comply memory foam tips, and handily, a flight adapter too. Everything’s stored inside a carry case. The Beoplay E4 earbuds can be purchased from B&O Play’s online store and Bang & Olufsen stores for $250, or 250 British pounds from June 15.