The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are noise cancelling over-ear headphones that you can use for many daily uses. They have an excited V-shaped sound profile, better suited for bass-heavy genres. They're similar to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless, with better wireless range and about twice the battery life. While their ANC is slightly better than the previous model's, its performance is just decent. On the upside, they kept the same high-end design as the H9 and feel like premium headphones.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are decent for mixed usage. These headphones have an excited sound profile that's better suited for bass-heavy genres. Their ANC feature makes them a decent option for commuting and to use at the office, but it's not great at blocking out bass-range noise. Their high-end over-ear design isn't for sports. They also aren’t very stable, so running or doing 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are okay for neutral listening. These headphones have an excited, v-shaped sound profile. 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 excited sound profile, these won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music and are better suited for bass-heavy genres.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are decent for commuting. Their ANC isn’t the best but blocks out a decent amount of noise overall. They don’t leak much, so you can 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are okay for sports. They can keep you pumped during sports with their excited 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are good for the office. They isolate you from a good amount of ambient chatter and A/C system noise. They're comfortable to wear for a while, and their battery will last you a full workday without a problem. They also don’t leak too much. 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i aren't suitable for wireless 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 ideal for online games. They have a companion app but aren’t as customizable as many gaming headsets. On the upside, you can get rid of the latency by using their included audio cable.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are practically identical to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless, a wired variant of the Bang & Olufsen 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have a unique touch-sensitive control scheme that might be a bit hard to use, but it gets fairly easy with some time. You turn up the volume by swiping your finger along the circular touchpad on the right ear cup. Tapping on the cup plays and pauses tracks, and manages calls. You can disable noise cancelling by swiping upwards and enable their transparency mode by swiping downward, which wasn't available on the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless. You can also skip tracks by swiping left and right.
Unfortunately, the touch-sensitive control scheme isn't as responsive as physical buttons. On the upside, you now get auditory feedback when disabling noise cancelling. Also, 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are over-ear headphones and will trap heat under the ear cups. They aren't 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 temperature difference.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i aren't the biggest over-ear headphones. You can't fold them in a more compact format, but you can swivel the cups to lay them flat, making it easier to slide inside a bag or travel with them around your neck.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i come with a simple pouch that could protect the headphones from scratches and scuffs in your bag but won't shield them from impacts or water damage. A nice hard, or even soft, case would have been nice, like the cases that come included with headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i are built the same way as the regular Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless. 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. Their build feels high-end, similar to the Dolby Dimension Wireless.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i aren't very stable and won’t be suited for physical activity. They sway around with head movement, so they shouldn’t be an option for running. They stay put during casual listening sessions, and their wireless design removes the risk of the headphones being yanked by a cable being hooked on something.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have a great frequency response consistency. They perform similarly in the bass range on our different human test subjects. These headphones seem to use 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have decent bass accuracy. LFE 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have okay mid accuracy. 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 might nudge them to the back of the mix. The bump in high-mid will affect the intensity and projection of vocals/leads.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have poor treble accuracy. The response throughout the range is fairly uneven. The dip centered around 6kHz will negatively affect the brightness and detail of some sibilants. The very high and broad peak around 9-10kHz will make those frequencies sound overly sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks. However, not everyone hears treble frequencies the same way, so your experience may differ.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have an okay imaging performance. The weighted group delay is at 0.32, which is also good. The GD graph shows that the 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.
The passive soundstage performance of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i is poor. The PRTF graph shows an 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have a decent noise isolation performance. With their ANC enabled, they achieve about 12dB of isolation in the bass range, which is decent. This means they can cancel out some of the rumbles of bus and airplane engines. In the mid-range, which is important for blocking out speech, they 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.
Their leakage performance is good. A 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have an integrated mic with okay recording quality. The LFE of 182Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound slightly thin. The HFE of 3.5kHz indicates a speech transmission that is somewhat muffled and lacking in detail, but it will still be decently intelligible.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i's mic is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 12dB, indicating it's best suited for quiet environments, as the mic may struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud places.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have about twice the continuous battery life of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless. With roughly 24 hours of continuous playback, these headphones will last you a full workday or very long flights without a problem. They also turn off automatically after being idle for 15 minutes to save power. However, you can’t set that timer to what you want in their app. You can use them 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.
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 as 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.
Update 02/05/2019: We've updated the text to show that they do support multi-device pairing, as pointed out by a user.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay 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.
They have a somewhat high latency with PCs and iOS devices over Bluetooth, and some may notice a slight delay between audio and video. However, they have lower latency with Android devices. Also, some devices and apps offer compensation, so some people may not notice the delay as much.
Update 06/11/2021: We've changed USB Audio to 'USB Type A' to reflect the source port instead of the headphones' port. When using their USB cable, you can connect the USB-A connector to any device with a USB-A port. The scoring of this box hasn't changed.
You can use the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay 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 can only receive audio. You can also charge them and listen to audio content at the same time, thanks to the USB-A to USB-C charging cable.
Update 12/09/2020: We've updated the results for the PC/PS4 Wired USB test from 'No' to 'Audio Only'. If you turn off your PC's Bluetooth and use the USB-C to USB-A cable, you can receive audio, but you can't use the mic. The PS4 can recognize and play audio using this connection, but these headphones are only audio-compatible.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i can only receive audio on PC or PS4 via an analog connection. You can also receive audio by plugging in their USB-C to USB-A cable into your PC or PS4, but you won't be able to use their mic.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay 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 struggles with bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are more versatile headphones than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Wireless. The Sony 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 Sony are wider and should suit more ear sizes and shapes. On the other hand, the Bang & Olufsen has lower latency and feel like more high-end headphones.
The Jabra Elite 85h Wireless are more versatile than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Wireless. Their control scheme is great, complete, and easy to use, and their default sound quality is noticeably better than the Bang & Olufsen. Additionally, they have better wireless range and their app offers more customization options. On the other hand, the Bang & Olufsen are better-built, and look and feel like more premium headphones. You’ll get noticeably more battery life on the Jabra and their microphone recording quality will sound fuller and more clear.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 are better headphones than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Wireless. The Bose's ANC blocks way more background noise and they're much lighter and more comfortable than the Bang & Olufsen. Also, the sound profile of the Bose is very well-balanced. However, they can get a bit leaky at high volumes, and the high-end metal build quality of the Bang & Olufsen surpasses the Bose. You also get a few hours more of battery life on the Bang & Olufsen and their app allows for better customization, too.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless and Bang & Olufsen Beoplay PLAY H9i Wireless 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.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Wireless won’t have a good isolation performance like the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless/HD1 Wireless, but they are definitely more comfortable and offer more controls. The Bang & Olufsen 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 Sennheiser can connect to two devices, which is convenient. They also have an in-line microphone, which the Bang & Olufsen lacks, and have pretty low latency for Bluetooth headphones, which will be decent for watching video content.