True wireless innovation is the future of headphone technology. Premium brands like Bang & Olufsen see it that way. This article will review two of their premium headphones: The H9 and H9i.

With all the similarities in every category, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 and H9i, released in the same year, differ in a few important areas that can either make or break a buyer’s choice.

Although the Beoplay H9i has a better battery life and a more exciting sound profile, upgrading from the Beoplay H9 might not be practical if you don’t consume more than 14 hours of battery life quickly.

Beoplay H9 vs. H9i Comparison Chart

ModelBang & Olufsen Beoplay H9Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i
Weight 0.6 lbs0.64 lbs
Length7.6″8.6″
Width8″8.1″
Height1.4″2″
Wireless TechnologyBluetooth, WiredBluetooth, Wired
Call/Music Control  YesYes
StyleOver-EarOver-Ear
Microphone Control  NoNo
Volume Control  YesYes
Noise Cancelling Control YesOn/Off
Talk-ThroughNoOn/Off
Frequency Range20 Hz – 22000 Hz20 Hz – 22000 Hz
Microphone Style Integrated Integrated 
Battery Type RechargableRechargable
Continuous Battery Life 13.5 hrs24 hrs
Charge Time 2.9 hrs2.3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature Standby modeAuto-Off Timer
Passive Playback YesYes
Audio While Charging YesYes
Charging Portmicro-USBUSB-C
Bluetooth Version 4.24.2
Multi-Device Pairing No2 Devices
NFC Pairing NoNo
App NameBeoplayBeoplay
VariantsArgilla Grey, BlackBlack, Clay, Natural, Pine
Travel BagYesYes
Manufacturer Warranty1 year(s)1 year(s)

Beoplay H9 vs. H9i Descriptive Comparison

Design

In addition to Bang & Olufsen’s use of high-end materials, the Beoplay H9 and H9i are designed to fit around your ear for optimal comfort rather than being on top. Stitched leather, canvas, and metal provide a great look and feel to headphone enthusiasts who dislike most headphones’ plastic construction.

The two models are offered in black and gray-and-tan colors with a Scandinavian design aesthetic that evokes luxury. The headband’s underside doesn’t include as many memory foam pads, but it still feels extremely comfortable on top of the head.

At the base, the earcups swivel as well. There are also replaceable earpads and batteries, which is great news because most Bluetooth headphones have sealed batteries that cannot be replaced once they malfunction.

Comfort

While the Beoplay H9 are super comfortable headphones, some users may find the circular ear cups small. They have the same fit and design as the H6 but are slightly heavier. The ear cups are fitted with soft and thick leather pads, and the overall construction is relatively lightweight for an over-ear design.

As the ear cups are pretty small, they may cause a slight pinch on the top of the ear, depending on who uses them. Despite that, they are not too tight or uncomfortable. Wearing these headphones for hours without feeling fatigued is possible.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i headphones are comfortable. I enjoyed these headphones; they are lightweight and have a comfortable fit on my head. These well-padded cups, however, will not be suitable for everyone due to their circular design and small size.

The tops of your ears may feel a little pinch if you have large ears. However, if you can find a good fit for them, they will be comfortable to wear for an extended period without feeling fatigued.

Build Quality

One of the better-built headphones we have tested so far is the B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9. Built from high-end aluminum and coated in luxurious leather, they have a sturdy, lightweight build quality.

The headphones feel very premium and are very durable. In addition to the headband feeling durable and flexible, the ear cups also feel dense yet not too heavy, even though they weigh a little more than the H6. The hinges are somewhat thin and maybe the weakest part of their design.

As with the regular Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless, the Beoplay H9i is built similarly. Aluminum and leather are premium materials that keep their lightweight design very sturdy.

The headphones contain a metal frame that is solid yet flexible. They can also survive a few accidental drops without being severely damaged. Like the Dolby Dimension Wireless, they have a high-end build.

Controls

The Beoplay H9 and H9i lack external buttons, and the volume and playback buttons are located on the right ear’s touchpad. You will need to tap to play/pause music, while to skip a track, you will swipe.

Using your finger, you can slide it clockwise and counterclockwise around the pad’s outer edge to control the volume. Swiping downward will activate noise cancellation.

Additionally, the right earcup of both headphones houses a USB-C port for charging, a cable jack, a pinhole mic, and status LEDs. Although this seems practical, it doesn’t make the whole interface easy to use, especially since there are no external buttons. However, the touch-based and swipe-based controls are pretty simple to learn and use.

A talk-through feature is available on the Beoplay H9i, unlike the Beoplay H9. It allows the user to change from music to news and weather using voice commands and prompts.

Sound performance

Audiophiles have mixed opinions about the Beoplay H9’s sound, depending on how concerned they are about bass fidelity. Despite the bass being a bit overdone, the highs and mids are inadequate to compensate for the exaggerated bass.

Adding some bass to billboard songs makes them more exciting with some serious thump and boosted bass.

The Beoplay H9i delivers a similar audio experience with its intense sub-bass content. Similar difficulties are encountered when balancing the presence of the higher frequency with the deep bass.

Listening to music with less deep bass will help you understand the overall sound signature. Percussion sounds clean and not too thunderous, and baritone vocals are a great combination of rich lows and crisp high mids.

The Beoplay H9i offers a superior sound reproduction of Bang & Olufsen’s signature sound. Still, there is little difference between the two regarding creating a detailed sound stage, reproducing vocals, and emphasizing accompanying instruments.

Battery life

Beoplay H9 has a battery life of 14 hours, which is quite good for wireless headphones. The battery can last up to 23 hours without active noise cancellation and with passive use. It takes only 2.5 hours to charge fully.

The battery life of the Beoplay H9i is an additional 4 hours, but it takes about 3 hours to charge the phone. With noise cancellation activated, this device can deliver up to 18 hours of Bluetooth playback and 25 hours without.

Each of the headphones features a removable battery that can be replaced with an additional battery that you can purchase separately.

Noise Isolation

H9 has an average isolation performance. When their ANC(active noise cancellation) was enabled, they achieved around 6dB of isolation in the bass range, which is not very good. Therefore, they will not be able to eliminate the rumbling of buses and airplane engines adequately.

As for the mid-range, a critical range for eliminating noise, the Beoplay H9 achieved some 13dB of isolation, which is above average. The H9 could only reach about 27dB of isolation in the treble range. The result is above average, but with a better seal, they could improve by up to 4 dB in the treble.

Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9i headphones offer good noise isolation. With their ANC on, they can achieve 12dB isolation in the bass range, which is very good. They can thus cancel out some of the noise from buses and airplane engines.

Their mid-range isolation, which is crucial for blocking speech, was about 21dB, which is excellent. They achieved 26 dB of isolation in the treble range, where S and T sounds and noise from A/C systems are heard.

Multi-pairing

Multipoint Bluetooth pairing is not so convenient in Beoplay H9 and H9i despite these being wireless phones. As a result, if you want to pair and unpair the devices with your headphones, Each device will need to be configured manually.

Bluetooth 4.2 and AAC codec is supported by both headphones, with a range of 10 meters. H9 doesn’t support LDAC and more advanced aptX, but Beaplay H9i supports Bluetooth aptX.

Microphone

The Beoplay H9 has a mediocre microphone. This means that speech recorded or transmitted using it will sound thin in quiet environments. Moreover, the sound will also be muffled, lacking in detail, but still easily understood.

They will have difficulty distinguishing speech from ambient noise when surrounded by noise, even in moderately noisy places, such as busy streets or offices. 

Noise handling on the mic is mediocre. It had a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, indicating that it would be best suited for quiet settings since the Beoplay H9 can struggle to distinguish speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i has a built-in microphone and decent recording quality.

Speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound a bit thin due to its LFE(low-frequency extension) of 182Hz. With an HFE of 3.5kHz, speech transmission is muffled and lacks some detail but is still audible and understandable.

Noisy environments are not well handled by the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i’s microphone. On our test, its speech-to-noise ratio was 12dB. As a result, this microphone works best in quiet settings, as it may have difficulty separating speech from background noise in moderately loud environments.

App Support 

H9 headphones support the Beoplay app, which offers moderate customization options, but is not as feature-rich as other similar apps we have tested. In addition to an in-app player and battery stats, they also provide a preset EQ that lets you select between four preset sound profiles; warm, excited, relaxed, and bright. This allows you to customize the sound profile of the headphones somewhat, but not to the same extent as the PCX 550 Wireless or the Parrot Zik 3.

In the case of H9i, although Bang & Olufsen’s new app is very nice, it lacks some essential features. A tone-touch EQ is also available, which serves as a quadrant EQ, allowing you to move the selector between warm, excited, relaxed, and bright modes. Since you cannot control specific frequencies, this is not what we consider a true EQ because it is more like a preset.

Furthermore, you also have an in-app player, battery information, and an option for enabling or disabling ANC. The devices do not support multi-device pairing, but we were able to EQ them on the mobile app after connecting them to a PC.

Bluetooth

There is no NFC or multi-device pairing on the H9. But they have a specialized Bluetooth pairing switch, like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, so pairing with new devices is relatively straightforward.

The H9 has an SBC latency of 193ms. Considering that this doesn’t have any additional low latency codecs, this is about average for most Bluetooth headphones. However, it isn’t ideal for watching videos or playing video games. If you intend to watch a lot of video content, you will likely get better latency performance by using a dongle that supports aptX or aptX-LL or using them wired.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i has Bluetooth compatibility and can simultaneously pair with two devices, but it does not have NFC for a faster and easier pairing process. Luckily, they have a Bluetooth switch that makes pairing them easy.

It is a bit latency-heavy with Apple devices and PCs over Bluetooth, and some may experience a slight delay between video and audio. On the other hand, they have relatively low latency with Android devices. In addition, some devices and apps may offer compensation for the delay, so some people may not notice it.

Wiring

A simple audio cable is included with H9 headphones; there’s no in-line remote or USB adapter. When wired, they do not have a microphone compatible with consoles or PCs.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i can be used with a 1/8″ TRS cable on pretty much any platform with an audio jack. There’s no in-line remote with a microphone, though, so you can only receive audio. The USB-A to USB-C charging cable allows you to charge them while listening to audio content.

What is In the Box?

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9

  • B&O Play H9 headphones
  • Airline adapter
  • Audio cable
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i

  • Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i headphones
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 1/8″ TRS audio cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Airplane adapter
  • Manuals

You can read our guides for:

Conclusion

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 and Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i have similar features in most categories. Both are made of high-quality materials and built in the same manner.

However, the H9i has a longer battery life, which is about double that of a regular H9. Furthermore, their sound profile is better, and they have a talk-through mode. The H9i might not be a worthy upgrade if you do not feel like you need more battery life than 14 hours with the H9.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Beoplay H9 have a microphone?

A set of Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 3rd Gen Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones (Amazon Exclusive Edition) featuring Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, Voice Assistant Button, and Mic are available.

How do I connect my H9 to my computer?

Activate the Bluetooth connection on your PC.
Check whether Beoplay H9 is listed as a paired device.
Turn on your Beoplay H9.
On the Beoplay H9, turn the switch to the top position and hold it there for 2 seconds to enable pairing mode.

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