Bang & Olufsen has announced Beoplay Portal, the first wireless gaming headset. The product maintains the company’s signature sophisticated look, and it has more features than your average headset.
These were created with the Xbox ecosystem in mind, and at the touch of a button, they can connect to Series X, Series S, Xbox One, or to a PC that has the Xbox Wireless Adapter connected to it. In addition, they support a simultaneous connection via Bluetooth 5.1 for other devices (including other consoles if you supply the Bluetooth adapter). This way you can make calls without completely disconnecting from the game sound.
Similar to the Bose QC35 gaming headset released last year, the Beoplay Portal looks like advanced wireless headphones (and in many ways works like them too), and comes with an advanced price. These cost $ 499 and are now available in the black color on Best Buy, the Microsoft Store, and through Bang & Olufsen̵
This model has adaptive active noise reduction (ANC) and a game sound mode that is automatically activated when connected wirelessly to a console or when wired via USB-C to a PC (the port through which the headset is also charged). These also have a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The Bang & Olufsen app for iOS and Android has some new features that Beoplay Portal benefits from, such as microphone optimization and a sound / game balance. The company reports that the “Own Voice” feature enables voice monitoring while keeping out noise thanks to its adaptive ANC. These have 40 mm drivers with Dolby Atmos support for virtualized surround sound.
Build quality is another area where Bang & Olufsen tries to stand out from other game headsets. Memory foam ear pads are wrapped in lambskin, and it uses bamboo fiber fabric to cover the forehead padding. Elsewhere, there are a few anodized aluminum details on the portal, such as touch-sensitive plates on the outside of each ear cup used to control them. Impressively, the company says that the headphones weigh 282 grams, which is lighter than the most plastic wireless Xbox headset that I have so far considered to be light at 312g.
This gaming headset can last up to 12 hours per charge when connected to both the Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless protocol and uses the active noise reduction feature. If you only use Bluetooth and noise reduction, Bang & Olufsen says that you can expect up to 24 hours of use.
Given the high price, I am skeptical that these will be worth the price for most people – especially those who intend to use them exclusively for gaming. It seems like a better value if you also want to use them as your daily headphones.
I’m also skeptical of the “virtual boom arm” that Beoplay Portal uses instead of a traditional articulating microphone. It says that the beam-forming microphones allow for “crystal clear” conversations, and help to amplify your voice while filtering out sounds in the background. This is something I have to test to see if it is as good as Bang & Olufsen claims.
Need a $ 500 gaming headset? Probably not. While there are many differences in features and build quality, most people should be well-suited to Microsoft’s $ 100 Xbox Wireless headset. But I will review these to see for myself what five times that amount can give you peripherals for games.