"Soft lambskin, aluminium and braided textile": no, this isn't a Bentley, it's a pair of headphones. Bang & Olufsen -- one of the world's oldest audio companies -- has a thing for design, too, and the new BeoPlay H4 is the most recent evolution of its particular take on Scandinavian style.
Putting the design aside for a moment, they're also convenient: wireless connectivity over Bluetooth is super useful, and B&O says you can expect 19 hours of battery life. From flat to full takes a 2.5-hour stint. They look very well made, too -- these are headphones that you could invest in for a couple of years at least.
The H4 looks a little simpler and cleaner than the H9 or other B&O cans we've tried out in the past, but they're still distinctively Bang & Olufsen -- it's that mix of satin metal and soft leather that gives it away. Designed by Scandinavian artist Jakob Wagner, the Beoplay H4 is only available in one colour for now, but knowing B&O there'll be an autumn/winter colourway in the future.
They also boast B&O's "Signature Sound". Take from that what you will, but we've found B&O gear in the past to emphasise musicality over perfectly flat, clinical frequency response: expect some nicely strong bass response and smooth, warm treble. You can also adjust the headphones' equaliser through the companion Beoplay app on Android or iOS, and there are audio profiles for specific instances like workouts or podcast listening. You get a microUSB charging cable for these wireless headphones, and a 3.5mm wired backup, in the box.
The new Beoplay H4 'phones will set you back $399 in Australia and $NZ445 in New Zealand. That's a lot of cash for headphones, but considering you could shell out $800 for the top H9 The headphones -- in Charcoal Grey only -- are in store at B&O's showrooms and some other retailers already, and will be on sale online through B&O's website from February 13th. [B&O]