Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8 review: Is the luxury worth it?

Bang & Olufsen assert that the Beolab 8 stands almost unchallenged in its category
The image shows Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8. — Bang & Olufsen
The image shows Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8. — Bang & Olufsen

The Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8, true to the brand’s essence, embodies a fusion of opulent aesthetics and remarkable performance. While it functions primarily as a wireless speaker, its allure lies not in its technical specifications, which may appear standard at a glance, but in its visual grandeur and elevated price tag, setting it apart from the crowd of more affordable alternatives.

Visually, the Beolab 8 stands as an artistic masterpiece, rivalling only Devialet’s "Phantom" range in its dramatic appeal. Its design is not just about sound but a symphony of elegance and luxury, though this distinctiveness comes at a price.

Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8 performance

Performance-wise, the Beolab 8 shines when playing energetic tracks, showcasing a skilful blend of robust attack and intricate detail resolution. However, it may feel less accommodating when dealing with milder, less dynamic content. Notably, pushing its volume to extremes might skew its sonic balance.

Bang & Olufsen Beolab 8 price

But here’s the elephant in the room — its breathtakingly high price tag compared to other wireless speakers. The Beolab 8's astounding aesthetics and superb sound must contend with this glaring aspect before being considered a viable option.

The Beolab 8, released in November 2023 at a minimum price of $2,749 in the US, £2,199 in the UK, and AU$4,499 in Australia, showcases Bang & Olufsen's penchant for lavishness. The variations in finishes and stands further escalate the price, reaching up to £2,699 for specific models.

Bang & Olufsen assert that the Beolab 8 stands almost unchallenged in its category, with Devialet's Phantom as the closest competitor. Featuring 300 watts of Class D power, a 24bit/192kHz DAC, and a plethora of connectivity options, it ensures a thoroughly specified device, although at a premium cost.

While offering detailed and energetic sound, the Beolab 8's prowess lies in balancing forcefulness and finesse. Its performance calibration, adaptive bass linearisation, and beam width control contribute to its immersive soundstage.

However, the absence of voice control seems like a notable omission in a speaker of this calibre. Yet, its well-crafted touch controls and comprehensive control app for iOS and Android somewhat compensate for this shortfall.

The Beolab 8's sonic quality impresses with its detailed, energetic sound and commendable low-frequency presence. However, it tends to become overly bright at higher volumes, impacting its overall balance.

Ultimately, the Beolab 8's value proposition rests heavily on one's affinity for its design and admiration for Bang & Olufsen's dedication to craftsmanship. For those valuing opulence and distinctive aesthetics in their audio equipment, the Beolab 8 might justify its exorbitant price tag. Yet, for others seeking similar sound quality at a more rational cost, alternatives might be more appealing.

Beolab 8 score breakdown:

  • Features: 4.5 / 5
  • Design: 5 / 5
  • Sound Quality: 4 / 5
  • Value: 3 / 5