Review: B&O H3 ANC Earphones – Excellent Sounding

I have been using the Bang and Olufsen (B&O) H3 Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) earphones for the last couple of weeks. This is an upgrade of the B&O H3 in-ear headphones which was released about a couple years ago. Design remains the same, which is great, since I find the original rather stylish. There is additional circular dongle to house the ANC electronics.

Design and Features

The BeoPlay H3 features a electro dynamic 10.8mm driver and 29 air vents for a bigger sound stage. As mentioned earlier, I find the design to be rather sleek. Each earpiece is milled with brushed stainless steel, and the wire joints are held securely by hard rubber. The B&O H3 is designed by Jakob Wagner. If you are looking for a handsome, sleek looking earphones, the H3 ANC wouldn’t disappoint. The H3 ANC weighs 40g, but the bulk of the weight is in the electronics dongle. The original H3 weighs 13g only. The default ear piece are comply foam tips, which provide excellent seal and sound isolation. There are additional silicon ear tips too. There’s a mic and inline remote, on the left ear piece.

The earphones comes with:

  • Airplane audio adapter
  • Micro USB cable
  • 4 additional sets of silicone tips
Box Contents
Box Contents

I thought fit might be an issue, since B&O only offered one size of the Comply foams. The last time I tried Comply foam tips, I had to switch to the small size on the Jaybird x2. Surprisingly, the tips provided with the B&O H3 fit me well, and offered good comfort over long listening.

The additional dongle can be mildly irritating, as it forms a bulge in the pockets. The wire length to the 3.5mm jack is also short, around 5cm, which is designed to lie directly behind your phone in your pocket without taking up too much space. One good thing is the 3.5 mm jack is L-shaped type, which helps to reduce strain.

Beautiful design
Beautiful design

Sound

Rocking out to Alice Cooper “Poison”, made me appreciate the air vents on the B&O H3, which offers a wider soundstage or “space” to the sound, but I think one drawback is that the noise leakage is slightly more, which could be of annoyance to those around you. Bass was adequate, although not as punchy as I hope, but the overall balance across the lows mids highs was good and had excellent detailing. Guitar riffs, vocals, pianos, drums all had excellent separation and presence. The mids and highs were top notch, offering clear distinct tones.

The ANC features work well on a bus or plane to eradicate background noise and coupled with the in-ear tips, most background noise is removed. Without music, you are left with an eerie silence. One good thing is that the ANC doesn’t distort the original sound signature of the H3, and you can use it with or without the ANC feature turned on. The battery life of ANC was rated to be approximately 20 hours and I found it true to spec. There’s only a single toggle button on the dongle, to turn on and off the ANC.

Conclusion

The H3 ANC adds active noise cancellation to the B&O H3, which can be quite important for frequent travellers. The ANC feature works well, and is only an additional $50 premium from the H3 RRP. Pricing for the B&O H3 ANC is at S$379. It’s a handsome looking pair of earphones, that delivers the Bang & Olufsen signature sound, alongside active noise cancellation to immerse yourself deeply into your music. For the frequent travellers, this makes an excellent companion. Unlike other ANC headphones, the B&O H3 ANC can be stowed in a small pouch and easily carried around.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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