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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal headset review for PS5: expensive, but excellent

After launching a version for Xbox One players, Bang & Olufsen is rolling out its Beoplay Portal headset on PS5. Always with the same level of excellence.

Shortly after the launch of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, Microsoft nurtured several partnerships with props to offer products proudly displaying the “Design for Xbox” badge. Bang & Olufsen’s excellent Beoplay Portal headset is one of them, and now the luxury brand is offering a PlayStation (and PC) version so everyone can enjoy its goodness.

So yes, the Beoplay Portal is not for everyone because of its high price: count 499 € to acquire it, the price of a PlayStation 5 (unless you buy it on Le Bon Coin or eBay). Except that, for this sum, you do not get a simple gaming headset, but a versatile product with a refined design and resolutely high-end services (there is even active noise reduction). We are far from the 100 € demanded by Sony for its Pulse 3D, which does not make many dream.

The attractive design of the Bang & Olufsen headphones. // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

The Beoplay Portal, so pretty

If you’ve ever been to a gaming headset department, then you’ve no doubt noticed how aggressive the overall design can be. For anyone who wants a go-anywhere product, this is a real concern. With its Beoplay Portal, Bang & Olufsen takes the total opposite. To be honest, it doesn’t look like a gaming accessory at all, more like a lifestyle product with exemplary finishes. In other words, the Beoplay Portal would point to a merchant like Micromania.

The best looking PS5 headset on the market

We know in any case why we agree to spend 500 € for this helmet, which exudes premium in absolutely all compartments. Soft and delicate leather, milled aluminum and a little rough to the touch, padded fabric, everything you need…: the rewarding materials are there and allow the Beoplay Portal to be the most beautiful PS5 headset on the market. . There is perhaps only the MG20 from Master & Dynamic to challenge it for first place, with its slightly more daring look.

Note that Bang & Olufsen has chosen not to offer an external microphone, even detachable – called a boom. The approval of discretion is undeniable, but the purists like to be well heard when they chain the “kills” in Call of Duty: Warzone. Here it is necessary to rely on the internal equipment. In another register, the Beoplay Portal comes with a soft pouch that allows it to be protected from dust – if not really protected (the Xbox version has none at all).

Bang & Olufsen headphones headband.  // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama
Bang & Olufsen headphones headband. // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

A magic dongle

On Xbox, the Beoplay Portal has the particularity of connecting directly to the console using a dedicated protocol. This PlayStation 5 version is deprived of it, and you must therefore go through a supplied dongle to be able to associate the headset with the console and enjoy the sound without latency. Good point: if it is USB-C by default, an adapter is provided to transform it into a USB interface. Of course, you can also use the Beoplay Portal on your PC.

The Beoplay Portal is also a real Bluetooth headset, which allows it to connect, too, to a smartphone or a tablet (the Switch, it also works) for gaming or more musical use. As a bonus, it is able to communicate, simultaneously, with your console and your other device thanks to the Dual Mode functionality (dual mode). This allows, for example, to receive a call on his headset or even listen to his music while playing.

In terms of control interface, nothing distinguishes the Beoplay Portal Xbox from the Beoplay PlayStation. We find the same tactile surfaces, in the wake of small bars that require you to slide your finger to adjust the volume (right atrium) or active noise reduction (left atrium). Our opinion has not changed about them: they do not constitute ideal ergonomics, since they are too imprecise and poorly placed.

Otherwise, you can tap twice on an earpiece according to the following pattern (by default):

Dongle Bluetooth
Left atrium Equalizer Play/pause
Right atrium Mute the microphone Next song

These commands can be customized from the companion application available on smartphone (iOS or Android). You can choose a different shortcut for each disk, strangely in a single communication mode (dongle).

The touch bar of the Bang & Olufsen headphones.  // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama
The touch bar of the Bang & Olufsen headphones. // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Light as a feather

The PlayStation version of Beoplay Portal is a little lighter than the equivalent on Xbox: 279 against 282 grams – a difference that is not noticeable at all in use. In both cases, the product surprises with its ideal lightness to imagine long video game sessions, without ever feeling any discomfort. Between the memory foam pads and the height-adjustable headband, you never feel like you’re being crushed by a weight. This quality proves that the designers have succeeded in designing a product with impeccable balance in a circumauricular format (the Beoplay Portal includes the ears).

Accurate and versatile

On active noise reduction, which is one of the arguments of the Beoplay Portal (and, in general, very high-end headphones), the Bang & Olufsen product does well. But it doesn’t work wonders either when compared to specialists in the discipline (Apple, Bose and Sony). Nevertheless, we manage to gain a hint of immersion, with less parasitic noise that breaks up the gaming sessions.

The Beoplay Portal, on the other hand, is impeccable from an acoustic point of view. We actually benefit from a great precision, with an ideal placement of the various effects that populate the scores of video games. The bullets fly from one side to the other, the explosions are impressive, the musical flights accurately accompany the smallest steps… You immediately feel the brand’s know-how, knowing that you can always adjust the performance from the application, for example adding extra warmth or clarity.

Beoplay Portal configuration // Source: Screenshot
Beoplay Portal configuration // Source: Screenshot

At the same time, Bang & Olufsen headphones also know how to be audiophile when they become a purely musical accessory. We really had a great experience listening to the hit THATS WHAT I WANT by Lil Nas X, with the impression of receiving a lot of details, well highlighted. We particularly love the rendering of the bass, balanced most of the time, punchy when the need arises. This is the sign of a truly mastered and, above all, versatile audio product.

Last point: the Beoplay Portal has everything in store to animate a night cinema session – or not –, just to leave your house silent so as not to break the tranquility of others. Of course, it will be even better with a Dolby Atmos track.

The earbuds of the Bang @ Olufsen headphones // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama
The earbuds of the Bang @ Olufsen headphones // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Increased autonomy

The Xbox version of the Beoplay Portal had a significant flaw: its autonomy limited to 12 hours in gaming mode. We are therefore delighted to see that its PlayStation counterpart does better, and even much better, with up to 19 hours of listening time on a single charge, with all the features activated. You can even climb to 42 hours if you completely leave your console.

The verdict

Some would certainly stop at the price by looking at the Beoplay Portal, now available in a PlayStation 5 version. It is true that 500 € is a hell of a sum to pay for a headset. But it must be recognized that the proposal of Bang & Olufsen navigates in excellence. Knowing that its high price is to be qualified because of its versatility.
Indeed, despite an emphasis on gaming, the Beoplay Portal looks nothing like an accessory designed for video games. What constitutes a quality: one will never be ashamed to leave at home with. Better, the helmet is just as impeccable when it comes to sublimating your favorite pieces of music. In a way, we therefore buy two helmets for 500 €.

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