PORTAL — by Bang & Olufsen


In case you haven’t noticed, gaming is very much an integral part of society. Even those on the verges of digital indoctrination were pushed over the edge during the unprecedented lockdown, during which even the most fastidious technophobe was forced to embrace the digital world in some shape or form.

The result? Most of us are now truly as comfortable in the digital realm as we are in the real world. It may be a love hate relationship at times but there is no denying this digital integration.

It’s almost as if we’re watching two waves collide: one the increasingly early digital adoption of youth, the other the rising tech savviness of Gen-Z. The centrepoint meets at luxury tech; the point at which the youth aspire to reach, and older generations get to engage with tech at a level that befits their standing.

Luxury audiophile brand Bang & Olufsen have today launched a new iteration of their award-winning gaming headphones, the Beoplay Portal. Compatible with PC, XBOX and now PlayStation consoles, this new headset brings Bang & Olufsen’s vast expertise in sound engineering to the gaming space, with elevated comfort and up to 42 hours of use.



At first I was unsure but about the concept, but thinking about it Bang & Olufsen moving into the gaming space makes complete sense. Games have become the new movie equivalent while the consoles themselves are the new theatres of entertainment, connecting you to a spectacular otherworldly experience from the comfort of your home. While there have been many technological advancements in this area, one of the most important connections between you and the game is sound.

Sound gives perspective, emotion, clarity and most importantly for me – enjoyment. Due to the spatial contribution our hearing plays to everyday life, used correctly the right audio can make you “feel” the in-game explosion, jump at the voice from “behind” emanating from you, or become fully immersed in a magical mystical world.




“The combination of supreme sound, unparalleled style, and seamless connectivity makes Portal the ideal solution for the consumer who wants all use-cases covered in one headset. We are excited to be building on the initial success and continue our expansion within gaming”.

_ Dorte Vestergaard, Bang & Olufsen’s Category Director

As with all things Bang & Olufsen, the Portal headphones are no token gesture, but insightful luxury from front to back. Designed by Jakob Wagner in partnership with Bang & Olufsen’s design team, the earpads are jaw-supporting, and lovingly crafted from lambskin-wrapped memory foam. Covered by a high-quality bamboo fibre textile the inner headband has deliberately off-set padding designed to relieve pressure on the top of your head.

They have even incorporated a virtual microphone for the in-game banter without which no multiplayer game is truly complete. Rather than opt for an unsightly boom arm (oft discarded, broken or lost) they have used technology to recreate the effect virtually with beamforming microphones, that isolate and amplify your voice while cancelling out background noise – they’re calling this a Virtual Boom Arm™.



Eli Ankutse (left) with Trent Alexander-Arnold (right)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (far-right) at Beoplay Portal gaming event

The retail price is set at £449 (499 USD / 499 EUR) which is about where you would expect it. While at a similar level to the new coveted PlayStation and XBOX consoles (if you can get hold of them that is) I actually think this is a good thing as it makes them a considered choice. In a world were hi-tech means overworked and visually invasive, this minimally elegant Bang & Olufsen approach will set as clear a differential between gamer personalities, as their gaming styles themselves.

And if you really, really don’t like gaming, you can always just use them to listen to music too, which of course they are absolutely remarkable for.


More BeoPlay Portal


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