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Reviewed on May 01, 2019 , Jake Thauvette, Marc Henney, Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.8
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
6.7
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.1
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.7
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.2
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.8
TV
Score components:
5.5
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The B&O PLAY H9i are decent noise cancelling over-ear headphones that can be used for a variety of daily use cases. They have an exciting V-shaped sound profile, which will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. They are quite similar to the B&O PLAY H9, with better wireless range and about twice the battery life, which is very convenient. However, their ANC is slightly better than the previous model but not as good as comparable headsets. On the upside, the H9i kept the same high-end design as the H9 and feel like premium headphones.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Sound 6.4
Isolation 7.0
Microphone 6.4
Active Features 8.3
Connectivity 5.6
Pros
  • Great design and build quality.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Worse ANC than comparable headphones.
  • May be too bass-heavy for some.
Update 5/2/2019: We've updated the multi-device pairing score to reflect the latest update.

Check Price

7.2

Design

Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Design Picture

The B&O PLAY H9i are similarly designed to the Beoplay H9 model, but with slightly thicker ear cups. They are very well-built and feel like premium headphones made with high-end materials. Their design is lightweight without feeling flimsy. While they are comfortable, some may find the cups a bit small, which could pinch the top of your ears. On the upside, they have a unique touch-sensitive control scheme that is easy to use once you're used to it, though getting adjusted to it might take some time. You can also remove the battery, which is pretty convenient.

Style
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Design Picture 2

The H9i are practically identical to the Beoplay H9 model, which are a wired variant of the Beoplay H6. They look like very high-end headphones with premium materials used. The cups are fairly shallow, and the padding isn’t the thickest, so they don’t protrude too much. Their overall design feels sleek. While their all-black colorway is a bit low-profile, they come in a few other color schemes that stand out a bit more, like the model we've tested.

8.0 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.64 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.8 lbs

The B&O PLAY H9i are comfortable headphones. They feel lightweight and aren’t too tight on the head. However, while the cups are well-padded, their small circular design won’t be ideal for everyone. People with larger-sized ears may feel a slight pinch on the top of the ears. On the upside, if you can find a good fit with them, they’ll be comfortable to wear for a long time without feeling any fatigue.

7.5 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Mediocre
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : Yes
Additional Buttons : N/A

The H9i have a unique touch-sensitive control scheme that might be a bit hard to use right out-of-the-box, but it gets fairly easy to use with some time. You turn up the volume by swiping your finger along the circular touchpad (clockwise for volume up and counter-clockwise for volume down) on the right ear cup. Tapping on the cup plays and pauses tracks and also manages calls. You can disable noise cancelling by swiping upwards and enable their transparency mode by swiping downward, which wasn't available on the H9. You can also skip tracks by swiping left and right.

Unfortunately, the touch-sensitive control scheme is not as responsive as physical buttons, but on the upside, you now get auditory feedback when disabling noise cancelling, which the H9 were lacking. They also rid of the "double tap to redial" command, which was quite easy to trigger accidentally. Additionally, they have a smart pause feature thanks to the new proximity sensor that pauses/plays your music when you take off/put on the headphones.

6.0 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 7.1 C

The H9i are over-ear headphones and will trap heat under the ear cups. They are not the most breathable headphones and won't be ideal for physical activity. Using these headphones during a workout or a run will make you sweat more than usual, and you will notice a difference in temperature.

5.7 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Portability Picture
L : 8.6 "
W : 8.1 "
H : 2.0 "
Volume : 139 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The H9i are not the biggest over-ear headphones, like the similar Beoplay H9. They can’t be folded in a more compact format, but you can at least swivel the cups to lay them flat, which makes it easier to slide inside a bag or to travel with them around your neck.

5.5 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Case Picture
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The B&O PLAY H9i come with a simple pouch that could protect the headphones from scratches and scuffs when in your bag but won't shield them from impacts or water damage. A nice hard, or even soft, case would have been nice, considering that other competing headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II include one in the box.

8.0 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Build Quality Picture

The H9i are built the exact same way the regular H9 are. Their lightweight design is also very sturdy thanks to premium materials like aluminum and leather. The metal frame of the headphones feels solid yet flexible. They should also survive a few accidental drops without suffering too much damage. They are high-end headphones that are on par with the Dolby Dimension.

6.5 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Stability Picture

These headphones are not very stable and won’t be suited for physical activity. They sway around a lot with head movement so they shouldn’t be an option for running. They stay put during casual listening sessions and their wireless design gets rid of the risk of the headphones being yanked by a cable being hooked on something.

Cable
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

These headphones come with a 4.1ft 1/8” TRS cable and a USB-C charging cable, on top of an airline adapter.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.4

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Frequency Response

The B&O PLAY H9i are okay sounding closed-back over-ear headphones that have a V-shaped frequency response. Their bass is good, but is overly thumpy, which bass fans may appreciate. The mid-range is also good, but their treble is overemphasized and fairly uneven. Overall, vocals and lead instruments sound thin and a bit pushed back in the mix. Due to their exciting sound profile, these won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music and should be better-suited for bass-heavy genres.

7.6 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.53 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.73 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.61 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.94 dB

The bass performance of the H9i is good. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Also, low-bass is hyped by about 5dB, indicating that the bass of these headphones is deep and very thumpy, which should be pleasing to fans of bass-heavy genres. However, mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and kick drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are under our target curve by 3 and 4dB respectively. This will result in a high-bass that may feel light and thin sounding.

7.6 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.25 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.86 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.69 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.5 dB

The mid range performance of the H9i is good. The response throughout the range is decently-balanced, but there is a 10dB tilt favoring higher frequencies, which may make them sound a bit intense. The 4db underemphasis in low-mid will make vocals and lead instruments sound thin, and they may also be nudged to the back of the mix. The bump in high-mid will affect the intensity and projection of vocals/leads.

5.7 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.35 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.63 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.48 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.49 dB

The H9i have a sub-par treble performance. The response throughout the range is fairly uneven. The dip centered around 6kHz will negatively affect the brightness and detail of some sibilants, but the very high and broad peak around 9-10kHz will make those frequencies sound overly sharp and piercing, specially on already bright tracks. However, not everyone hears treble frequencies the same way, so your experience may differ.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
8.2 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Consistency L B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.35 dB

The H9i have a great frequency response consistency. They perform similarly in the bass range on our different human test subjects. These headphones seems to be using their ANC system to make the delivery of low-end frequencies more consistent. However, we measured a maximum deviation of about 7dB around 3.5kHz. On the upside, this is over a narrow range, so it might not be as audible for everyone.

6.9 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Group Delay B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.32
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.95
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.87
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
9.0

The imaging is good. The weighted group delay is at 0.32, which is also good. The GD graph shows that entire group delay response is almost below the audibility threshold, before 40Hz. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in phase, but showed significant mismatch in amplitude and frequency. This affects the accuracy of the placement of objects (like voices, instruments, and video game sound effects) and could skew the stereo image a bit.

4.0 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
5.08 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
6.26 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
2.61 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.7
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage performance of the B&O PLAY H9i is poor. The PRTF graph shows excessive amount of activation, which could be either due to resonances in the enclosure when the pinna is removed, or pinching the pinna. Also, there is no 10kHz notch present either, and instead there is unusual activation in that region. The result would probably be a soundstage that is perceived to be relatively large, but unnatural and located inside the head as opposed to in front.

7.0 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.797
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
11.652

The harmonic distortion performance of the H9i is okay. The overall level of THD is elevated throughout the range, especially around the peaks around 1-2kHz and 6kHz which could sound a bit harsh and fatiguing, especially on vocals. On the upside, the THD in the bass range is still within good values.

7.0

Isolation

Score components:

The B&O PLAY H9i have an acceptable isolation performance that's slightly better than the original H9. These headphones are ANC and they do a decent job at blocking low-end frequencies like the engine rumble of a plane or bus engine. This means they'll be a decent option for your daily commute but might not be as great as some other high-end ANC headphones that we've tested. On the upside, they're pretty good for blocking out work environment noises. Also, they don’t leak too much, so you’ll be able to raise your listening volume without disturbing people surrounding you.

6.7 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-19.23 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-11.89 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-20.9 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-25.85 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
22.03 dB

The noise isolation performance of the H9i is acceptable. With their ANC (active noise cancelling) enabled, they achieved about 12dB of isolation in the bass range, which is decent. This means they'll be able to cancel out some of the rumbles of bus and airplane engines. In the mid-range, which is important for blocking out speech, the H9i achieved about 21dB of isolation, which is very good. In the treble range, where sharp S and T sounds and noise from A/C systems sit, they achieved 26dB of isolation, which is decent.

7.7 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
36.07 dB

The leakage performance is good. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 2Hz and 10kHz, which is a broad range. This means the leakage will sound rather full-bodied. On the upside, the overall level of leakage is not very loud. With the music 100dB SPL, the leakage averages 36db SPL and peaks at 64dB SPL at a foot away, which is just about the noise floor of most offices.

6.4

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The integrated microphone of the B&O PLAY H9i is okay. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with it will sound relatively thin. It will also sound noticeably muffled and lacking in detail, but will still be easy to understand. However, it will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud places like a busy street or a loud office.

6.8 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
182.21 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
2.69 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
12.575
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
25.49 dB

The integrated microphone is okay. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 182Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound slightly thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5kHz indicates a speech transmission that is somewhat muffled and lacking in detail, but it will still be decently intelligible. However, this is a limitation of the Bluetooth protocol.

6.0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
11.75 dB

The mic is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 12dB, indicating it is best suited for quiet environments, as the H9i’s mic may struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud places.

8.3

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The B&O H9i have a great battery life and a companion app that lets you slightly customize the sound of the headphones to your liking. We got about 24 hours of battery life with the ANC on, which is noticeably longer than the advertised 18 hours and a good upgrade from the original Beoplay H9. They can be used passively, even if the battery is dead, and while they are charging, which is very convenient. Their app feels a bit lackluster, but you can slightly EQ them with a preset quadrant EQ.

8.5 Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
24 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
2.3 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
Auto-Off Timer
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
Yes
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

The main difference between the H9 and H9i models is the battery life. The H9i model has about twice the battery life of the regular model. With 24 hours of continuous playback, these headphones will last you a full workday or very long flights without a problem. They also turn automatically off after being idle for 15 minutes, to save power, which is noticeably better Auto-Off/Standby Mode of the previous model. However, you can’t set that timer to what you want in their app. They can also be used passively, even if the battery is dead, which is convenient. You can also use them while they are charging over their USB-C cable. You can switch out the battery by twisting the backplate of the left ear cup.

6.5 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless App Picture
App Name : Beoplay
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : No
Windows : No
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
Presets
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
Yes
Mic Control : No
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : No

The new Bang & Olufsen app looks nice but it still lacks a few features. You have access to the ToneTouch EQ which acts as a quadrant EQ where you can move your selector between the warm, excited, relaxed, and bright quadrants. Since you don’t have control over specific frequencies, we don’t consider this to be an actual EQ since it functions more like presets. You also get an in-app player, battery information, and you can enable or disable the ANC. While they don’t support full multi-device pairing, we had them connected to a PC and could still EQ them on the mobile app.

5.6

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The B&O H9i are Bluetooth compatible headphones that can also be used wired with their 1/8” TRS cable, even if the battery is dead. They don’t support multi-device pairing, but we still managed to EQ them on their mobile app while they were connected to an audio source on PC. Their wireless range is better than the regular H9 model, and they have slightly lower latency than most Bluetooth headphones, but some may still notice a delay.

6.8 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
2 Devices
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

Update: 02/05/2019: We've updated the text to show that the H9i do support multi-device pairing, as pointed out by a user.

The H9i are Bluetooth compatible and can be simultaneously connected to two devices at the same time, but don't support NFC for a quicker and easier pairing procedure. However, they have a Bluetooth switch which makes it easy to put them in pairing mode.

7.2 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

You can use the H9i with their 1/8” TRS cable on pretty much every platform that has the appropriate audio jack. However, there’s no in-line remote with a microphone, so you will only have audio.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a dock.

8.6 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
47 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
136 ft

The wireless range of the H9i is good. With 47ft of obstructed range, you should be able to walk around a small apartment or office without too many problems. However, wireless range is dependent on many factors such as your device’s signal strength, the thickness and material of the walls blocking the signal, interference, etc., so your results may vary.

2.6 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
188 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

These headphones have slightly lower than average latency for Bluetooth headphones. With 188ms of delay, some may still notice the delay between audio and video. However, some devices and apps offer some sort of compensation, so some people may not notice the delay as much.

In the box

B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless In the box Picture

  • B&O PLAY H9i headphones
  • 1/8” TRS audio cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Airplane adapter
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless Compare Picture

The B&O PLAY H9i are high-end headphones that are very comfortable and set themselves apart by their great design and build quality with premium materials. Unfortunately, their ANC feature isn’t the best and doesn’t isolate much ambient noise. For better headphones for your commute, see our suggestions for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best wireless over-ear headphones, and the best travel headphones.

B&O PLAY Beoplay H9 Wireless

The B&O PLAY H9 and B&O PLAY H9i are very similar headphones in practically every category. They are built the same way and are made out of the same high-end materials. However, the H9i has a much better battery life, which gives you about twice the amount you get on the regular H9 model. Also, their sound profile is a bit more exciting, and you can also enable a talk-through mode. If you don’t feel like having more than 14 hours of battery with the H9 is necessary, then the H9i might not be worth the upgrade.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better headphones than the B&O PLAY H9i. Their ANC blocks way more ambient noise and their ear cups are more comfortable than the H9i’s. Also, the sound quality of the Bose QC 35 II is very good and follows our target curve better. However, they can get a bit leaky at high volumes. Also, the high-end metal build quality of the H9i surpasses the QC 35 II. You also get a few hours more of battery life on the B&O headphones. The H9i’s app allows for better customization, too.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are more versatile headphones than the B&O PLAY H9i. Their noise isolation performance is better and they will be better suited for commuting. Also, the Sony companion app is great and offers tons of controls and customization options. Additionally, the cups of the XM3 are wider and should suit more ear sizes and shapes. On the other hand, the H9i has lower latency and feel like more high-end headphones.

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless

The Jabra Elite 85h are more versatile than the B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless. Their control scheme is great, complete, and easy to use, and their default sound quality is noticeably better than the H9i’s. Additionally, they have better wireless range and their app offers more customization options. On the other hand, the H9i are better-built, and look and feel like more premium headphones. You’ll get noticeably more battery life on the Elite 85h and their microphone recording quality will sound fuller and more clear.

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless/HD1 Wireless

The B&O PLAY H9i won’t have a good isolation performance like the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, but they are definitely more comfortable and offer more controls. Their sound profile is also more exciting to listen to right out of the box, but you can’t EQ them as precisely as you can inside the Sennheiser Captune app. Also, the HD1 Wireless can connect to two devices, which is convenient. They also have an in-line microphone, which the H9i lacks, and have pretty low latency for Bluetooth headphones, which will be decent for watching video content.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.8Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Acceptable for mixed usage. These headphones have an exciting sound profile that will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. They're also ANC, but they don’t block that much noise. They’ll still be a decent option for commuting and to use at the office, but aren’t the best performing ANC headphones. Their high-end over-ear design isn't designed for sports. They also aren’t very stable, so running or doing any physical activity with these headphones is not recommended. Also, due to their Bluetooth latency, they’ll be sub-par for gaming and watching TV content.
6.7Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Okay for critical listening. These headphones have a V-shaped frequency response that is exciting to listen to. Their bass is good, but is overly thumpy, which bass fans may appreciate. The mid-range is also good, but their treble is overemphasized and fairly uneven. Overall, vocals and lead instruments sound thin and a bit pushed back in the mix. Due to their exciting sound profile, these won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music and should be better suited for bass-heavy genres.
7.1Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Decent for commuting. Their ANC isn’t the best, but they still isolate more than non-ANC headphones. They also don’t leak much so you’ll be able to block out more noise by listening to higher volumes. Unfortunately, their design is quite bulky and won’t be the easiest to carry around, but they do lay flat for you to carry them around your neck. On the upside, they’ll be comfortable to wear for hours and their battery will last you for long rides or flights.
6.7Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Okay for sports. These headphones can keep you pumped during sports with their exciting sound profile, but they aren’t designed as sports headphones. Their design isn’t very stable, and they trap heat inside their ear cups, which could make you sweat more than usual. These high-end headphones won’t be the ideal choice for running or any physical activity.
7.2Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Decent for the office. They isolate well against a good amount of ambient chatter and A/C system noise. They are comfortable to wear for a while and their battery will last you for a full workday without a problem. They also don’t leak too much so if you don’t blast your music, you shouldn’t disturb surrounding colleagues. Unfortunately, they can’t connect to multiple devices like your work PC and phone.
5.8TV
Score components:
Sub-par for watching TV. While they are comfortable and have great wireless range, their latency might be too high for watching video content. However, if you have an audio cable extension or are watching TV content on your computer or phone, you could use their analog audio cable to get rid of the latency.
5.5Gaming
Score components:
Sub-par for gaming. These headphones won’t be great for gaming as their wireless latency will be too high for this use case. Also, their microphone won’t be good for online games. They have a companion app, but aren’t as customizable as gaming headsets we’ve reviewed so far. On the upside, you can get rid of the latency by using their included audio cable.

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