An iconic name in the audio industry, Bang & Olufsen has just announced a new product aimed at gamers. The new edition of Beoplay Portal is an upgrade of the last year’s headphones with the same name. The new headphones add PlayStation 5 support, something that the previous model lacked, yet they cost the same.Overall, Bang & Olufsen’s new Beoplay Portal wireless gaming headphones cover three major gaming platforms: PC, PlayStation and mobile (sorry Xbox fans). As a gamer myself, my first question for Bang & Olufsen would be: why should I buy the Beoplay Portal, which are fairly expensive for a gamer, over a pair of much cheaper gaming headphones?
Well, according to Bang & Olufsen, the Beoplay Portal headphones should be able to provide a rich audio experience thanks to the two custom-designed 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets, which also help with precision and faithful acoustic reproduction.
Neomydium magnets for perfectly accurate sound
Full disclosure, I’m not a chemist and while I do have some general knowledge about various elements, I had no idea what neodymium is and what are its properties. But, I did some digging and here is what I’ve learned. First off, the neodymium is one of the rare metals found on Earth and it’s never found naturally in metallic form, so it’s usually refined before being used.One of the important uses of neodymium is as a component in the alloys used to make magnets like the ones found in the Beoplay Portal. The neodymium magnets are pretty common in various products such as microphones, loudspeakers, in-ear headphones, HDD (hard disks), and even electric motors and generators.
The catch is that neodymium magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnet available on the market. Why are magnets important to headphones? The short answer is because headphones require a magnetic field for the driver, which is in charge with turning the electrical audio signals into sound waves, to work properly. Without magnets, the diaphragm of a dynamic headphone would not be able to produce sounds. The neodymium magnets are typically better than regular magnets, so they say.
The Beoplay Portal also feature Dolby Atmos for Headphones and Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation technology. Bang & Olufsen has used a combination of feed-forward ANC and feed-back ANC to further improve the typical active noise active technology. Interesting enough, the folks at B&O have added something called “Own Voice,” which allows you to hear your own voice while canceling out external sounds.
Another important thing to mention is that the Beoplay Portal headphones come with a new wireless dongle that allows for faster connection across PC, PlayStation or any other USB-C input device. Equally important for mobile gamers is that the headphones feature Bluetooth 5.1 with aptX Adaptive technology. Specifically designed to provide low-latency, low-bit rate, high quality wireless audio, aptX Adaptive technology isn’t really new, but it’s something that you’ll definitely want in your headphones if you’re planning to play on mobile.
As far as the battery goes, B&O claims the Beoplay Portal offers a significant increase in battery life, providing up to 42 hours of continuous playtime using Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancelation (+18 hours), or 19 hours of wireless playtime with Active Noise Cancelation (+7 hours).
Design-wise, the Beoplay Portal headphones comes with earcups that feature touch sensitive aluminum discs, which are produced using a proprietary anodization technique. The earpads are crafted from lambskin-wrapped memory foam. Each cushion has a protrusion on the rear that confirms to the shape of the user’s head making them very comfy to wear. The inner headband padding is covered with a high-quality bamboo fibre textile. Also, they only weigh 279 grams, which puts it among the lightest wireless headphones on the market.
As I’ve already mentioned, the Beoplay Portal aren’t cheap at all, so if you want these, you’ll have to come up with no less than $500/€500. The headphones are available starting today in three different colors: Black Anthracite, Grey Mist, and Navy.