Headphones for the High Flyer

Be the cool cat in the Qantas lounge

We recently received a pair of the absolutely gorgeous Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 headphones to review days before taking a 12 hour flight. The timing couldn’t have been better.

B&O are very well known for their high quality sounding and high quality looking audio products. From in ear headphones to large speakers for the home, B&O have an answer for any music situation. The H9’s are an exciting pair to test on a flight because of their comfort and noise cancelling, plus sound quality.

The B&O H9’s have a lithium ion battery so there is no need to search for AAA batteries before the trip, it charges through a microUSB port, the same used for most Android phones so that part is simple. The H9’s have bluetooth onboard so we get ourselves prepared the night before with the charging and simple pairing process to my phone for music and my tablet for catching up on The Grand Tour during the flight.

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From the airport I become that guy; the one who is wearing their headphones like a neck pillow at check-in. They look amazing, work with my outfit and lets face it, that is the point of good design – you’ll want to be seen with them.

Sitting in the airport lounge before the flight we get some tunes going while enjoying a pre-flight glass of Champagne. They sound good, even without the noise cancelling switched on. Once we board the test will begin. While many get used to it very quickly, sitting on a plane is actually a noisey occasion. Not just because of crying babies but the general aviation sounds create a loud hum. After take-off, it is time.

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Tablet on. B&O H9’s on. Connected. Like a vacuum just entered my head, the ambient noise that surrounded me has been sucked away from my ears. We’re watching The Grand Tour, it sounds great, the audio from the show is not battling the ambient noise and as a result the volume doesn’t need to be so loud.

The cabin crew are coming around with the dinner options, I need to remove the headphones to hear them, once I remove them the whole aeroplane sounds re-enter my head and honestly it’s deafening for a moment. It’s at those points that you realise how loud flights actually are.

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Later in the flight we shift to music, realistically we want to unwind and get some sleep in. It’s a long flight to LA so this is important. Fortunately we can control the volume with the touch controls on the side too, no need to reach around for the device. With some mellow tunes on a very low volume and the headphones on, they’re comfortable enough to sleep in, I’m in my own world, all is quiet, all is calm. Silent night.

The battery lasts the entire flight, just. I do start to receive a warning of the battery as we’re coming in to land, that’s all ok though as I’ll recharge it before the flight home. The headphones will still work with a dead battery via the normal 3.5mm cable which is nice but you’ll be keen to get the noise cancelling working again. One small pet peeve with headphones of this size is packing them away, they fold flat which is nice but they ship with a cloth bag rather than a proper case to protect them. We found it easier to keep them wrapped around my neck rather than stuffing them into carry-on bags while disembarking.

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The B&O Beoplay H9 headphones are a fashionable item that has function to match. At $799 (or buy them with Frequent Flyer points) they’re in the high end of town, you’ll be looking at these if you travel a lot and want to stand out from the Bose crowd, or you just spend a lot of time listening to music and you REALLY want to enjoy it to the fullest.

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You may have seen Geoff on YouTube where his tech videos saw millions of views or heard him while he co-hosts the Gadget Grill on Radio 2RDJ. In his day job though he is an IT manager, a lover of Formula 1, great food and wine and obviously; technology.
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