With all due respect, gaming headsets are not traditionally attractive things to put on your head. Great for bragging about your headshots in CoD into, but not something for the catwalk, or even the bus to work.
That was until Bang & Olufsen decided to get involved. The high-end Danish brand getting into gaming was an unexpected move, but we really liked last year’s Beoplay Portal and continue to use it for Xbox gaming to this day.
Launched today, the second-gen Beoplay Portal extends compatibility to PC and PlayStation consoles, as well as mobile, so now there’s a Beoplay Portal for everyone. In terms of design, very little has changed. The lightweight Portal still sports rounded earcups and a leather and aluminium build, with slider controls on each cup and a “virtual” boom arm for talking to friends in-game. They employ the same custom 40mm drivers too.
The main difference with the new headset concerns connectivity. The first Beoplay Portal headphones were designed to be used with Xbox, but now they offer a 2.4GHz connection with your PC or PlayStation console via a USB-C dongle. Unlike the previous headset, you can stream audio from two connected devices simultaneously, allowing you to listen to music or a podcast on your phone while playing a game. For mobile gaming, Bluetooth 5.1 and the aptX Adaptive codec are both supported. The Portal can remember up to eight paired devices.
Once again, the noise-cancelling cans support Dolby Atmos, but remember that Atmos isn’t available in your PS5 games, as Sony continues to push its own 3D audio tech.
Battery life is also improved in the second-gen headphones, up to 19 hours of wireless playtime with ANC on, a big increase on the original’s 12. You can also expect a whopping 42 hours of battery with Bluetooth and ANC.
Available in three colours, Black Anthracite, Grey Mist and Navy, the new Beoplay Portal gaming headphones are on sale now. And like their predecessor, at £449 they cost nearly as much as a console. Gulp.
Stay tuned for a review soon.