Reviewed on Jul 20, 2016

B&O PLAY Earset 3i HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
5.4
Mixed Usage
5.8
Neutral Listening
4.8
Commute/Travel
6.7
Sports/Fitness
5.0
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.3
Wired Gaming
5.5
Phone Call
Type : Earbuds
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The B&O PLAY Earset 3i offer a comfortable and stable fit. Their old school earbud design allows you to monitor your surroundings while jogging but also lets a lot of ambient noise seep into your audio. Sadly, they won't fare well in loud environments and have a mediocre sound quality.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Isolation 3.3
Microphone 6.2
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
  • Lightweight adjustable earbuds.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  • Poor audio reproduction.
  • Thin and flimsy audio cable.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  3. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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6.9

Design

The Earset 3i have a unique design and a high-end appeal. They're incredibly lightweight, and the ear hooks make them stable enough, to use at the while running. The earbud design is also quite comfortable. However, the fit is a little loose. They won't fall off your ears, but the earbuds rest loosely on the edge of the ear canal and will move around, especially during strenuous exercise, affecting your listening experience.  

Style

The Earset 3i have a unique earbud design. They combine the old school earbud tips with sturdy ear hooks that are adjustable and make use of premium materials. They are less versatile than the Beoplay Earset Wireless but these earbuds look high-end and will stand out, however, the cable looks a little cheaply made in comparison.

6.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The B&O Play Earset 3i are moderately comfortable and have a very adaptable design. You're able to adjust the height, and tightness of the hooks as well as the angle of the earbuds. Unfortunately, the old school ear bud design does not fit snuggly in the ear and forces you to adjust the earbuds regularly, to get a tight fit.

7.1 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The Earset 3i have a decent control scheme. They provide call/music, Track-skipping, and volume controls. Unfortunately, the inline control module is a thin cylinder that is not intuitive to use and does not provide good tactile feedback.

9.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.9 C
8.3 Portability
L : 3.35 "
W : 1.57 "
H : 1.57 "
Volume : 8.37 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Earset 3i are very portable headphones. They're a little larger than typical earbuds, but they're small enough, to not be cumbersome to carry on your person. They will easily fit into your pockets, purse or bag.

6.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Comes a sturdy leather pouch that offers a decent amount of protection water damage and minor falls. However, it's not a hard case and will not protect the headphones against high physical stress like accidently stepping or sitting on them.

6.5 Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is decent but has a few flaws. A lot of effort was put into crafting the adjustable hooks, and it looks and feels solid enough to last a while. However, there are a lot more moving parts on these earbuds than most, which means more potential weak points. Also, the cable is thin and feels cheaply made compared to the rest of the build quality.

7.0 Stability

The Earset 3i have adjustable hooks that fit around the ear and prevent them from falling off your ears while running. This makes them stable enough to be used at the gym. However, the earbud design does not always provide the best fit. So although the headphones won't fall off your ears, the swiveling earbuds may move about as your exercising, which can get a little frustrating, especially when it causes a loss of sound quality.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a poor Bass that lacks a lot of low-end, an overemphasized Mid Range, but a well-balanced Treble. The resulting sound profile is quite Mid-Rangy and without much Bass. Additionally, due to their earbud design, they have a poor Soundstage and Bass/Treble performance could vary quite a lot from user to user or even on the same individual between different re-seats .

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
5.1
Bass-Heavy
:
1.9
Warm
:
8.2
Bright
:
3.8
7.3 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.71 db
Dips
:
1.32 db
5.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
1.23 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Earset 3i is sub-par. The earbuds design of these headphones means they won't have a consistent fit across multiple re-seats and multiple users. They show more than 6dB of variance in the bass range and about 6dB of variance in the treble range.

6.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.23
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.98
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
4.18
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.14
2.4 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.7
7.8 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.126
WHD @ 100
:
0.187
3.3

Isolation

These Earset 3i are not good at isolating listeners. Their earbud design does not create a good enough seal to block any ambient noise. They will struggle in loud environments and won't be ideal for noisy commutes. They also leak a bit compared to regular in-ear models. On the upside, they allow you to monitor your environment for cars and traffic, which makes them decent running or biking headphones.

1.2 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-2.48 dB
Bass
:
0.13 dB
Mid
:
0.49 dB
Treble
:
-7.87 dB

Poor isolation. These earbuds - due to their open design and minimal seal - have very poor isolation. They offer no isolation below 1KHz, and above that, barely achieve more than 9dB of isolation. This is in quite a contrast with most In-ears that provide extreme amounts of passive isolation (mostly in the Treble Range).

7.7 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
35.44 dB

Average leakage. These earbuds leak noticeably more than In-ears, and yet much less than Over-ears. They barely leak below 2KHz and the profile of the leakage that happens above that frequency is also quite narrow. However, the leakage level is moderately loud. So although the leakage coming out of these earbuds won't be bothersome in most situations, an audible high-pitched sound could be heard around you at high volumes.

6.2

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.2 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
479.46 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
4.04 dB
HFE
:
7561.35 Hz
Weighted THD
:
2.474
Gain
:
29.99 dB
6.2 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
14.67 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

3.6

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : No
Length : 3.5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

In the box

  • B&O PLAY Earset 3i Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x4)
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

5.4 Mixed Usage

The Earset 3i are best used for sports. They're not versatile enough and lack decent isolation for everyday casual headphones.

5.8 Neutral Listening

Mediocre for neutral listening. They have a comfortable and open fit, which gives them a decent soundstage for an in-ear model. However they an uneven, bass-lacking sound quality.

4.8 Commute/Travel

Not suitable for noisy commutes. These headphones barely block any noise. You will struggle to hear your audio in loud environments.

6.7 Sports/Fitness

The B&O PLAY Earset 3i are decent headphones for sports. They're moderately comfortable, and the hook design is stable enough, to not fall off your ears, while exercising. They also have an open fit, which lets you monitor your environment while jogging or biking.

5.0 Office

Below-average for office use. They won't block any office chatter but on the upside, they're moderately comfortable and don't leak too much.

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