In brief: How much cash would you shell out for a pair of high-quality gaming headphones? A couple hundred dollars -- maybe even $300? What about $500? That's how much luxury consumer electronics maker Bang & Olufsen expects you to pay for its first-ever wireless gaming headset, the Beoplay Portal.
The Portal was, according to B&O, designed to work seamlessly with all modern devices in the Xbox ecosystem -- that includes the Xbox Series S and X, and all Xbox One variants. And you'd certainly hope so, given that just one of these high-end headsets will cost you as much as an entire Series X kit.
The Beoplay Portal has a fairly minimalist design, while still looking decidedly classy. It comes in three distinct flavors, or "colorways": Black Anthracite, Grey Mist, and Navy. Each variant has two beautiful, touch-sensitive aluminum discs installed on the earcups, and the headband has "offset padding," which B&O claims will relieve pressure caused by long-term wear.
The Portal's materials are a mixture of lambskin, "bamboo fiber," and other high-quality materials, which all help contribute to its hefty price tag. However, it's impressive in more functional ways, too -- take its "virtual boom arm," for example. Instead of featuring a standard extendable or retractable mic, the Portal headset has a "virtual boom arm," which uses "Directional Beamforming" to isolate the user's voice and eliminate background noise.
It's one of those features that I'd need to try before fully buying into it, but if it works as well as B&O claims, it's a pretty cool concept (albeit not a new one).
Speaking of isolating sounds, the Portal also boasts Active Noise Cancellation tech (ANC), allowing you to filter out "extraneous" sounds and focus on your game (or other media). If you live in a noisy household or apartment (or just have a long commute), this feature could be handy.
Audio quality is one of those things that's difficult to judge without a hands-on session with a given headset, but B&O promises a "rich audio experience," courtesy of the Portal's two custom 40mm audio drivers (as well as Dolby Atmos support).
So, how long will the Portal last on a single charge? According to B&O, that depends on how you use it. If you have "Xbox wireless," Bluetooth, and ANC activated all at once, battery life will be around 12 hours. If you only use Bluetooth and ANC, that number rises to around 24 hours. No matter what, you can juice it back up in right around two hours via a 5V USB-C charging cable.
The Portal will be available in the US and Canada starting March 30, and it will be exclusively available from B&O, Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store (for a while, anyway). Broader (and global) availability begins on April 29.