After (narrowly) beating Apple to the punch with super-expensive "truly wireless" earbuds
supporting wireless charging
functionality, Bang & Olufsen is shifting its attention to the premium Beoplay line of wireless over-ear headphones to release a refreshed H9 model. This is already available in the US
at the same price as its H9i predecessor
, bringing a couple of important upgrades to the table.
First, there's a new dedicated button allowing B&O Beoplay H9 users to summon Google Assistant
and get it to do stuff by voice commands. The built-in digital assistant does not replace touch controls altogether, though, so you can still use gestures directly on the ear cups to seamlessly navigate your listening experience.
The other major improvement comes in the battery life department, where the Beoplay H9 headphones are making a pretty ambitious promise. Namely, you should be able to squeeze up to a whopping 25 hours of uninterrupted play time from these bad boys, compared to the "modest" 18-hour maximum endurance advertised for the H9i. What's impressive is that Bang & Olufsen has somehow managed to make this leap while retaining the exact dimensions and weight of the H9i.
Speaking of things retained, the Beoplay H9 features the same old (and great) active noise cancellation technology, "expertly tuned" acoustics performance, and Transparency Mode functionality for when you don't want to feel isolated from your surroundings. Available in Matte Black and Argilla Bright colors with super-premium build quality and a self-proclaimed focus on craft, the H9 headphones are priced at $500, which is certainly not affordable... but also not shocking.
Just like the H9i, the Google Assistant-enabled H9 have a pretty clear target audience that cares more about B&O brand recognition and stature than objectively comparing the value for money delivered by these headphones with those of the cheaper Bose QuietComfort 35 II
or Sony WH1000XM3