Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i headphones
B&O EarSet 3i review: Fashionable, well built earphones with clear sound
- Excellent clarity and detail in sound
- Good looks and good clamping force
- Light on bass
- Large earbuds can be uncomfortable
B&O’s iPhone- and iPod-friendly EarSet 3i earphones look great, are well built and have clear sound. If ‘that B&O look’ is what you’re going for the EarSet 3i earphones are perfect, but they’re a little light on bass and might be uncomfortable for some ear types even after adjustment.
Price$ 295.00 (AUD)
Bang & Olufsen has built its brand around extremely well constructed products with a signature look — lots of brushed aluminium and glossy black accents. The new B&O EarSet 3i headphones are no different, and their sound quality is of a high standard as well. Electronic music junkies will be disappointed with the relative lack of bass from the EarSet 3i, but we’re guessing that’s a demographic that will baulk at the $295 price tag.
Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i: Design
The B&O EarSet 3i headphones are very well built. They’re mostly constructed from aluminium, and the rear ear-hooks are finished in a glossy rubber that’s soft and pliable. The headphones’ Y-shape 1m-long cord, which terminates in a four-pole 3.5m headphone jack that supports all recent iPod and iPhone models, is connected to the earphones securely — we don’t think there’s any risk of damaging the B&O EarSet 3i by pulling on the cord.
There’s a huge range of adjustment for the B&O EarSet 3i’s earpieces. You can lift the rubber ear-hook through a wide range of motion, as well as adjusting the vertical and horizontal angle the earbuds sit at. Whatever size your ears are, the EarSet 3i should sit without pinching or squeezing. However, the size of the earbuds is something that can’t be changed and we found them quite large. This might prove painful for any small-eared wearers; we recommend you try them before buying if possible.
The EarSet 3i is so named for its compatibility with Apple products like the Apple iPod touch and Apple iPhone 4, which it can control with its in-line remote. The remote is simple — there’s volume up and down buttons and a central multifunction button that works like Apple’s own (tap once to pause, twice to skip past a track, three times to skip back a track, and so on).
Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i: Sound quality
The B&O EarSet 3i headphones have good sound quality to back up their good looks, but they're light on bass and this means the headphones aren’t as well suited to heavy beat-driven music as other high-end headphones like the Creative Aurvana Air. However, mid-range and treble frequencies are very well handled — we really noticed the pipes in Incubus’s Aqueous Transmission and the richness of the piano section in Sigur Ros’s Saegopur. Even at maximum volume, which is un-listenably loud, the B&O EarSet 3i headphones don’t have any distortion.
The EarSet 3i headphones can tend to sound a little crisp and clinical if no equaliser is applied. In most of our moderate volume listening they benefited from a slight bass boost and mid-range attenuation, which gave them more punch. Doing this doesn’t rob the B&O EarSet 3i of their ability to display plenty of detail in high quality audio — our FLAC and Apple Lossless recordings sounded excellent; detail was not as nuanced as the Sennheiser HD 800, but we were still able to hear delicate background noises in our test Beethoven, Mahler and Schubert tracks. A new favourite, the soundtrack of The Social Network, also sounded great in FLAC.
Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i: Conclusion
The Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i is a very well constructed set of earphones with generally good sound quality (although it’s a bit short on bass for our liking). Adjustability is great but the size of the earbuds means comfort should be confirmed before you buy.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 2 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 3 Parrot Mambo Drone review
- 4 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 5 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
Latest News Articles
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
- Parrot's Zik 2.0 headphones include an accelerometer and plenty of noise cancelling
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTTechnical Support Engineer | Cloud | Automation techsNSW
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCChange Manager - Telco projectsNSW
- CCDigital Solutions ManagerNSW
- FTCustomer Solutions Engineer | Voice | Data | TelcoNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Telecom ProjectNSW
- FTHands-on Service Desk Team LeadNSW
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Service Provider - No two days are the sameNSW
- FTSenior Architect | Perl | Linux |MySQL | Infrastructure | TelecomNSW
- CCeCommerce Project ManagerNSW
- CCADABAS Database Administrator - NV1 clearedACT
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCAcquisition Marketing Executive - B2BNSW
- FTData Governance Project Manager | 6 month ContractNSW
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTLinux Systems AdministratorNZ
- CCHead of Digital (Technology Manager - Digital Transformations)NSW