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(Pocket-lint) - Back in June last year, Bang & Olufsen announced that it was partnering with Xbox for a "new audio proposition", thought to be a gaming speaker at the time.

However, the product in question has now been announced and it's actually the high-end Danish brand's first foray into gaming headset.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal headphones are not only designed for gamers, they come with Xbox Wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 5.1 so are as capable with mobile and TV viewing as they are when hooked up to an Xbox console or Windows PC.

They come under the new "Designed for Xbox Limited Series" banner - a tag by Microsoft to represent the most premium of gaming accessories. That enables them to work seamlessly with the Xbox Series X/S and older Xbox One, pairing as if they were a controller or Xbox's own Wireless Headset.

However, there are a number of key differences between them that secure that premium tag.

The Beoplay Portal has a distinct B&O design aesthetic. Looking similar to the recently-released Beoplay HX wireless 'phones, the build is made from a mixture of anodised aluminium and bamboo fibre textile. The earcups are soft memory foam covered in lambs leather.

Circular alumimum discs sit on the outside of each cup, which feature touch controls. And, rather than a physical microphone boom arm, the Portal uses what the manufacturer calls a "virtual boom". This combines directional beamforming technology with four mics used for voice.

Adaptive active noise cancellation is on-board two, using other, dedicated mics to ensure external ambient noise is countered to better immerse you in the game, music or movie viewing.

Importantly for a gaming headset, which is required for extended usage periods, the weight of the Portal is just 282g. The design also takes into account the contact spots on a user's head and provides extra comfort there and weight distribution across the jaw line.

Battery life also suits extensive play times, with up to 12 hours of use claimed when using the Xbox Wireless protocol, Bluetooth and ANC all active. The headphones can last up to 24 hours with Bluetooth and ANC active.

Charging is through USB-C, with a full charge possible in three hours.

Dolby Atmos for Headphones and the aptX Adaptive wireless streaming standard are both supported.

In terms of performance, each ear contains a custom 40mm electro-dynamic driver with Neodymium magnets.

The new headphones will be highly customisable through the Bang & Olufsen mobile app, which will include different sound signatures for different types of games. As well as Xbox, the company partnered with Danish eSports organisation Astralis to ensure the modes match what is expected when playing several gaming genres.

It's also worth noting that Bang & Olufsen told Pocket-lint that, as well as Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC, the headphones can be used with other sources - such as Mac through Bluetooth and even PlayStation via an included audio cable plugged into the DualShock/DualSense controller. However, neither platform will be afforded the extensive range of extra features available through Xbox and Windows.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal Wireless Gaming Headphones will be available from 30 March in the US and globally from 29 April. Three colours will be available: black anthracite, grey mist, and navy.

Each colour scheme is priced at £449 in the UK, $499 in the US, and €499 in Central Europe.


Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 26 March 2021.