Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Jul 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm
Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i Picture
5.5
Mixed Usage
5.8
Neutral Sound
4.9
Commute/Travel
6.7
Sports/Fitness
5.0
Office
4.6
Wireless Gaming
6.4
Wired Gaming
5.5
Phone Call
Type Earbuds
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Bang & Olufsen 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 mediocre sound quality.

Our Verdict

5.5 Mixed Usage

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

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.
5.8 Neutral Sound

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i are 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.

4.9 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 Bang & Olufsen 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.

6.4 Wired Gaming
5.5 Phone Call
  • 5.5 Mixed Usage
  • 5.8 Neutral Sound
  • 4.9 Commute/Travel
  • 6.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.0 Office
  • 4.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.4 Wired Gaming
  • 5.5 Phone Call
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Bang & Olufsen 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're less versatile than the Bang & Olufsen Earset Wireless but these earbuds look high-end and will stand out; however, the cable looks a little cheaply made in comparison.

6.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i are moderately comfortable and have a very adaptable design. You can adjust the height, and tightness of the hooks as well as the angle of the earbuds. Unfortunately, the old school earbud design doesn't fit snuggly in the ear and forces you to adjust the earbuds regularly to get a tight fit.

7.1
Design
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 Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons No

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i have a decent control scheme. They provide call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. Unfortunately, the in-line control module is a thin cylinder that isn't intuitive to use and doesn't provide good tactile feedback.

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

The Bang & Olufsen 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'll easily fit into your pockets, purse, or bag.

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

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i comes with a sturdy leather pouch that offers a decent amount of protection from water damage and minor falls. However, it's not a hard case and won't protect the headphones against high physical stress like accidentally stepping or sitting on them.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i's build quality 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
Design
Stability

The Bang & Olufsen 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 they won't fall off your ears, the swiveling earbuds may move about as you're exercising, which can get a little frustrating especially when it causes a loss of sound quality.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i headphones
  • 4x Earbud tips
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-9.13 db
Treble Amount
-3.63 db
5.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.23 dB

The Bang & Olufsen Earset 3i's frequency response consistency is sub-par. The earbud design means they won't have a consistent fit across multiple reseats and multiple users. They show more than 6dB of variance in the bass range and about 6dB of variance in the treble range.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
5.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.34 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
72.31 Hz
Low-Bass
-12.05 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.79 dB
High-Bass
4.73 dB
6.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.26 dB
Low-Mid
5.68 dB
Mid-Mid
4.9 dB
High-Mid
5.09 dB
8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.86 dB
Low-Treble
1.15 dB
Mid-Treble
1.08 dB
High-Treble
-3.09 dB
7.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.71 db
Dips
1.32 db
6.8
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.23
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.98
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
4.18
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.14
2.5
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.9
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.126
WHD @ 100
0.187
Isolation
1.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-2.48 dB
Bass
0.13 dB
Mid
0.49 dB
Treble
-7.87 dB

Poor isolation. Due to their open design and minimal seal, these earbuds have very poor isolation. They offer no isolation below 1kHz, and above that, barely achieve more than 9dB of isolation. This is quite a contrast with most in-ears, which provide extreme amounts of passive isolation, mostly in the treble range.

7.7
Isolation
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 won't be bothersome in most situations, an audible high-pitched sound can be heard around you at high volumes.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
6.2
Microphone
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
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
14.67 dB
Active Features
N/A
Active Features
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
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS 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.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
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
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 3.5 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
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
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