eXtensions - Wednesday 27 September 2016
Bluetooth Headphones and Apple: Beoplay H7 Examined (Bangkok Post, Life)
By Graham K. Rogers
With the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7, there are 3 ways to connect headphones: using the Lightning port; a wireless connection; and the 3.5 mm jack. An adapter is included with the iPhone 7 for those who have third-party headphones that still need this.
The new AirPods will not be available until October in the USA, but three Beats products with the W1 chip were released immediately. The W1 makes connections to all a user's devices automatically using iCloud. With some interest in wireless headphones online in recent days, I had a look at some of those available.
For now, I will continue to use the EarBuds with the 3.5mm connector when I am out and about. I feel conscious about over-ear devices, although most young people I see in Siam area - for example with those brightly-coloured Beats headphones - don't give this a thought.
Although I would have preferred the new Beats wireless headphones, they are not available here. Some retail estimates suggested November would be a possible arrival date. A couple of reviews in online sources pointed me in the direction of excellent wireless headphones from Bowers and Wilkins that had performed well with the iPhone. When I converted the US price of $399 into baht and added 7% for VAT, this gave me 14,450 baht, but I was horrified to find the price for these in central Bangkok was 23,800 baht. I carefully backed out of the door.
When I have calculated prices in the past, Apple products are usually within a few hundred baht, although at $159 in the USA, I think the price for Apple AirPods (when they arrive) of 6900 baht is a little high.
Ever since my Koss days, I have coveted the designs of Bang & Olufsen whose products are available here. I checked the Beoplay H7 and H8 wireless headphones which were priced at €449 and €499 respectively. These are available here for 18,990 and 20,990 baht: not cheap, but within a range one would expect to pay. The US price is $450 (16,665 baht with VAT), while Amazon has them for $399 with a hefty $193.90 shipping fee. The H7 is now shown as €399 on the B&O site: reduced a few days after I first looked.
Pairing with the iPhone was quick and I started playing music right away. The fit of the cups on my ears meant that most external sound was cut out, although I could still hear some background hum from traffic (I live on a busy road and the windows were open).
There are a number of gestures available for control of the sound output and for receiving telephone calls. In the first few minutes I also found a gesture to make calls and accidentally phoned my mother in the UK twice: the last outgoing call is redialled.
I was also able easily to pair with Macs, other iOS devices and the AppleTV which gave me the best performance with Apple Music: Radio (Opera). There were no interruptions from email, keyboard sounds or other input.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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