You’re a serious gamer, but you also take your music seriously. Now, you probably already have a dedicated gaming headset for your Call Of Duty, uh, duties, but you likely wouldn’t use them to chill with some blissed-out ambient late at night.
Enter legendary Danish audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen. Founded almost 100 years ago as a radio manufacturer, B&O subsequently branched out into turntables, amplifiers, loudspeakers, televisions, and even cellphones, pioneering many innovations along the way. Above all else, their products are celebrated as museum-worthy icons of clean, minimalist Scandinavian design, collectible as much for their looks as their sonic performance.
Head in the Game
And smart design is what leads us to the new Beoplay Portal headphones. Luxury materials, uncluttered design cues, superb comfort, and innovative tech features all come together in a harmonious package, built from the ground up as a dual purpose gaming/high fidelity headset. Part of the ‘Designed For Xbox’ Limited Series, the Beoplay Portal is not your typical throwaway plastic gaming headset. Before we even talk sonic performance, let’s consider the build quality.
Weighing in at just 282 grams, they’re constructed from milled aluminum, composite polymer, and knit bamboo fiber, with ultrasoft lambskin covering the memory foam earcups, designed with hours of comfortable listening in mind. We’re talking a seriously luxe product, considering the $499 retail is the same as a new Xbox Series X. And that price might be tough to justify, were it not for some serious tech behind it.
The Beoplay Portal overdelivers in the performance department, with some real innovation at work behind the scenes, including Dolby Atmos for Headphones support, for an immersive simulated surround sound experience. Additionally, an array of four voice mics and four active noise cancelling mics (two on each earcup) are used to deliver a higher standard of sonic performance. The vocal mics utilize what B&O calls Directional Beamforming technology, recreating the characteristics of a traditional gaming headset’s boom mic, minus the ungainly appendage. In other words, you won’t look like you’re about to ask someone if they want fries with that.
Transparency Mode lets you adjust how much of the outside world you hear, without taking off your headphones, and Own Voice technology captures and adjusts the level of your voice relative to other content, while actively filtering background noise. All these parameters are adjustable through the Bang & Olufsen app, which ties everything together, allowing the listener to change vocal balance and EQ. You can also choose from several listening modes for music, gaming, movies, and more.
More Than Just Gaming
Speaking of music, the Beoplay Portal performs as well as many dedicated music headphones, despite being a ‘gaming headset’. Frequency response is an un-hyped 20-22,000 Hertz, for a balanced musical experience, and again, EQ is customizable to suit your personal tastes. They’re truly dual-purpose, further solidifying their value as a premium piece of audio kit.
The rest? Battery life is an impressive 12 hours of gaming with Xbox Wireless, Bluetooth, and Active Noise Cancellation, and a full 24 hours of wireless listening. Besides the Bluetooth 5.1 connection, the Beoplay Portal can also be used wired up with a standard 3.5mm stereo cable, and charged via USB-C.
And yes, you can take calls in the midst of a firefight. Three colorways are offered: Black Anthracite, Grey Mist, and Navy. Combined with the quality materials, these headphones have a genuinely upscale look. So if you’re an Xbox or Windows fanboy/fangirl, and you’re looking to up your headphone game, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal might be your ticket to a whole new world of high-end sound.