BO Play  - B&O Play Beoplay H3

BO Play

B & oPlay H3, library intras

Aprox. 148€ - see price -

The H3 in-ear headphones are not a recent model of B & oPlay, the test of their version with active noise reduction (H3 ANC) has been online for a long time. But their popularity is such that one could not miss it: at the dawn of the launch of the H5, their elders, promising robustness, lightness and sound power, therefore come to parade on our test bench.

Our review


The design of the H3 is strictly identical to that of the H3 ANC. The stainless steel lines are crisp and flowing, both curved and sharp. We find the 26 perforations all around the acronym of the brand used to improve the acoustics of the headphones, but also - according to the brand - to lighten the chassis.

That's good, light, they are, and robust too. These two points make H3 intras very pleasant to wear while giving them excellent resistance to bags, pockets and drops that any pair of headphones encounters during their lifetime. The connectors are also reinforced, at the level of the chassis and the mini-jack. We regret, however, that the latter is not bent (higher risk of breakage during listening with a walkman / smartphone slipped in his pocket).

The remote control, only iOS compatible, is complete and allows navigation between songs (pressing the central button to pause / play, two to go to the next song and three, at the start of the previous track / song), activation of voice recognition (a long press on the central button), volume control and call management. A microphone is also part of it, which offers an excellent reproduction of our voice: once is not custom, the correspondents prefer even when we use the hands-free kit of the H3 rather than the microphone of the phone itself - and the user himself hears his interlocutor better.

It is on the accessories side that the deal changes compared to their ANC version: the H3-tout-court are supplied with three pairs of tips of different sizes in silicone. They enter with disconcerting ease into our ear canal, and hold there almost as well, despite some regular repositioning necessary. Three silicone tips therefore ... but no memory foam in sight. A detail which, as we will see later, has an unfortunate consequence on the quality of the sound reproduction.



Since the acoustic design of the H3 and H3 ANCs is strictly the same, one would expect the measurements to be identical. And yet it is not.

We often tell you to really take the time to choose your tips properly, sometimes even even wearing different sizes on the left and on the right (it's like the feet, we don't necessarily wear the same size on both sides!), And it is not for nothing. Indeed, the H3, if listened to in a very calm environment and without moving, deliver an appreciable sound performance.

In our sound lab, the measurements are made exactly under these conditions. The sound rendering is in line with the design of the H3: clean, clean and generally balanced. Let's start with the bass, quite dynamic and precise. We cannot say that they are at the center of the stage, nevertheless they do not miss the call - our traditional intro sweep of Unfinished Sympathy is very noticeable, but does not either boxes. Here below is the measurement of square signals at 50 Hz which betray a nicely reactive and rather healthy behavior of the membranes of H3.

The same goes for the rest of the spectrum: the sound is detailed and pleasantly precise. The voices in particular enjoy an excellent definition and presence. We even reach at times this sensation of perceiving the different layers of the mix, a sensation that only the greats of the name can deliver. However, it lacks some support on the side of the low mids which would offer a better feeling of immersion. And precisely, let's talk about this immersion.

In fact, as soon as you start fidgeting with spunk - that is, simply moving around or, worse still, being in a noisy environment - everything gets spoiled. Indeed, the silicone tips are suitable for providing good comfort, but not for properly obstructing the ear canals. The first obvious consequence is an extremely weak, if not almost zero, isolation from the outside world. Note that this can be practical for many uses, and much less dangerous in urban areas. The second is a blatant loss of seat in the lower half of the spectrum: ciao the low mids and the bass!

These first two points therefore generate a serious lack of immersion. The third consequence, more insidious, is that we then tend, after having repeatedly repositioned the intras in our ears, to put stronger. A phenomenon then appears from which the H3s do not suffer at medium volume: sibilance. The peak of distortion that we see above is much less discreet, and the treble can become aggressive. Here is how, with a simple choice of ear tips, you can significantly change the sound performance of a pair of in-ear headphones.



The H3s honor their promise of robustness, lightness and elegance. Comfort and aesthetics are present, but an unfortunate choice of accessories tarnishes the sound table: the absence of memory foam ear tips considerably affects the quality of sound reproduction in noisy environments.