My favourite headphones are the Bang & Olufsen H95

I am not an audiophile. I’m not interested in talking about soundstages and foot-tapping rhythmicality. But I can appreciate general quality differences in headphones.

I have owned shitloads of headphones. In the over-ear world, I've had Nuraphones, Bose NC700s, Jabra 85h, Hifiman, and more in the last few years. I've also owned lots and lots of earbuds, from Jabra to B&O, Etymotics to Chi-fi. Most recently I was using the Bose 700s, so that's what I'll be comparing most against.

More importantly, I appreciate good, usable design that makes it easy to do all the common things we do with headphones nowadays.

The B&O H95s are not perfect headphones, and they are ridiculously expensive... over £700. But they have won me over. And now at around £550 on the street, I think they’re actually good value.

Let's start with the bad.

The left speaker buzzes when in transparency mode (which is the default for conference calls, and a primary reason I picked these cans). This is potentially a huge irritation but actually doesn't bother me much most of the time.

The clamping force was, at least at first, tremendous. My head ached after a few hours. It has got much better after a couple of months of use, and after I changed to eyeglasses with thinner arms. The clamping force may be a blessing in disguise, though, because these are heavy headphones. They feel twice as heavy as my Bose.

For the first month or more, the headphones smelled strongly of plastic. This was hugely bothersome but luckily has subsided.

You can't use the headphones while charging. Fortunately not a problem most of the time.

The carry case is a huge, heavy block of aluminium. I just don't use it.

There's no on-ear sensor, so no auto-pausing/resuming of music. Actually I kinda like this, I feel in control.

Here's what's great.

The sound quality is sublime. Punchy, yet crystal clear. I really can't do justice to it. I have found new joy in familiar music, and I get a great experience on calls, lots of detail when watching TV shows, etc. They're in a league of their own, way better than Airpods Max for example. I find myself looking for excuses to put these headphones on.

The battery life is incredible. Twice what I was getting from my Bose. Of course it charges via USB-C. This is a huge boon. I can get through most of a working week without worrying about charging.

The UI is wonderful. There are touch controls on the earpieces for play/pause, next track, etc, and they never activate accidentally. There is a physical ring around the right ear that gives instant control over volume. There's a physical ring on the left ear that slides from full transparency to full noise-cancelling. The power switch is a physical switch. There is also a physical button I think for a voice assistant but I never use one.

The earcups twist to fold flat, and hinge inwards for a more compact size. This is good for shoving in a bag. Incidentally the earcups are pretty comfortable, but the cavity for your ears is smaller than on my Bose. Jabra 65t and 85t earbuds are my gold standard for comfort, and no over-ear headphones can live up to them. But these are pretty good.

Nobody has complained about my voice coming through on calls, which they did with my Bose.

It supports all the latest Bluetooth audio codecs. Apt-X Adaptive, Bluetooth 5.whatever. AAC.

The noise-cancelling is pretty good. There's no effect on voices, yet droning or rumbling noises mostly disappear. The Bose is probably better, more of a feeling of all sound being sucked away, but the B&O is more natural.

Comfort and build quality are excellent, with sturdy metal, luxurious leather, etc. The carrying case is luxurious, you get loads of cables and adaptors... it's a real premium experience.

The design looks beautiful: timeless and clean. I’ve got the ‘grey mist’ colourway and they are very pretty. You can of course get black, navy and brown.

Switching between connected devices — eg catching a Slack huddle on my laptop when I'm playing music on my phone — takes a couple of seconds but is otherwise totally reliable. Bluetooth range is normal.

The B&O app is reliable for changing settings, checking battery life, applying software patches, etc.

Like I said, not perfect, but these headphones make my day better. They feel great in my hand as I pull them from my bag. I get haptic feedback when I turn them on. They connect totally reliably, rock solid. I enjoy the music they play. When I'm on a call, I get my voice played back so I don't feel like I'm talking underwater. No complaints about the mics, the noise-cancelling, comfort, battery life. With all that good stuff, I can handle a little buzz in my left ear. And the silly price tag.