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There aren’t many gaming headsets on the market that can sneak into hipster bars and boutiques unnoticed, but one of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal headset’s superpowers is packing serious gaming audio into a sleek and seductive package. We tested the PS5 and PC version, but it’s also available for Xbox, and will basically link up to any audio device that uses Bluetooth.
With a $499 price point, the Beoplay Portal needed to be seriously impressive to feel like anything but a scam and to have a good chance of making it onto our best gaming headset and best PS5 headset list. But, luckily, this headset absolutely delivers. Not only will it beat any gaming headset currently on the market for performance, but it will give your current normie headphone or earbuds a run for their money too. When you realize this headset could take the place of two of your most-used pieces of kit, the price almost doesn’t hurt.
Design & features
Let’s be brutally honest. Usually, even the best headsets aren’t something you’d want your non-gaming, normie friends to see you in. Either it’s all RGB lighting and helicopter pilot mic or minimal but cheap plastic. The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal headphones eliminate that entire dilemma, with premium materials and a classic design. The over-ear style uses aluminum and leather to great effect, and the “Virtual Boom Arm” tech means no external microphone, so no more looking like you’re trying to fly a chopper out of ‘Nam. Basically, imagine what James Bond might ask Q to design for his marathon Stardew Valley sessions, and you’ve got the Beoplay Portal.
During testing, I wore these from the couch to commute without a break, and even after a very long and late-night game grind, felt only mild discomfort from the pressure on my ears. The PC and PS5 version of the Portal comes in at 279g – for comparison, the Razer BlackShark V2 comes in at around 240g – but feels well balanced with a headband that uses bamboo fibre so your brain can breathe. Once I pulled them off there was no obvious pressure point on my scalp that felt sore, and my ears didn’t feel as though they’d been clamped in an angry UFC fighter’s head hold either.
And while the Beoplay Portal headset might have a minimalist design, the list of features turns everything up to 11. First off there’s the adaptive active noise cancellation. My go-to headphones for blocking out the world at home were the Bose QuietComfort, which I thought were god-tier, but they’re a few years old and damn you can hear (or not hear?) the difference with the Beoplay Portal. I’m almost excited to sit next to a screaming baby on my next flight.
The Portal also packs in transparency mode – otherwise known as the “it’s better if you can hear the zombies coming” mode – and an optional app with presets like music, podcast, and gaming and EQ controls for fine-tuning to your liking. If you’re the sort of person who says things like “vinyl just sounds warmer, you know?” at parties then you’ll want to fiddle with the settings to get the balance right for the most immersive gaming. The basics – volume, power, noise-canceling mode, and Bluetooth – are all managed with subtle buttons on the earcups.
First off, connecting up is easy thanks to Bluetooth for cellphones and tablets and the included USB-C dongle for PC and consoles, and there’s an old-fashioned 1.25m audio jack cable for wired connections if you’re feeling retro. I used the hidden mic for phone calls, meetings, and shouting instructions at strangers in-game with no issues. My reflexes are 38 years old, but I didn’t notice any lag while gaming and my connections stayed steady with the dongle and my phone. Having a tiny, easily lost dongle for connecting to my PS5 feels like an accident waiting to happen, so pray for me.
This is also the first headset I’ve used with the ability to connect two audio devices at the same time, which was a revelation. Sure, it’s meant so that important people can take calls without pausing their Call of Duty: Warzone sessions, but it works just as well for binging true crime podcasts while you’re grinding some Sims 4 too.
Testing the Beoplay Portal headset for PC and PlayStation was one of the easiest assignments ever. The premium product fitted into my daily life like it was always meant to be there, replacing my AirPod Pros for my commute and becoming my go-to for sitting at my desk, whether I was gaming or sitting through a work Zoom call and doing a lot of nodding at a webcam. I can’t honestly comment on battery life beyond the fact that with a full day of work and play I didn’t run it down, only recharging that night to make sure it didn’t run out on the subway the next day. Bang & Olufsen talks about a maximum battery life of 32 hours with Bluetooth on and noise-canceling off, and up to 24 hours with noise canceling.
Overall – Should you buy it?
In the end, the only con is a pile of cash big enough to choke a horse. That price makes these a serious investment that you’re going to wince when people want to touch, and you’ll probably find yourself gently tucking them into their fabric bag at bedtime rather than throwing them into your backpack. At $500 this is a headset that is the same price as a PS5, with high-end non-gaming noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony coming in at under $400, and the most expensive headset on our best gaming headset list coming in $200 cheaper.
If you can afford them you’ll love them, but if you can’t you’ll find plenty of rival headsets that fulfill the same needs for a lot less.
How we tested the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal
Since they were unboxed the Portal headset has replaced my AirPods Pro (commuting, Zoom calls, and walking) with my iPhone and Macbook Pro, my Sony Pulse wireless headphones for PS5 gaming, and my Razer Kraken headset for desktop PC gaming.
It was used to listen to many musical genres from classical to Metallica, to binge podcasts, and with games like Dying Light 2, Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, Stardew Valley, and a weird little indie game about ghost hunting.
Further your headset search by checking out our guides to the best PC headset for gaming, best PS5 wireless headset, and best Xbox Series X headsets.