The Good: Very good looking & lightweight design, adjustable earpads and inline mic/button controls.
The Bad: All-plastic headband doesn’t feel very durable and lack of padding makes it easy to slip off the head.
The Bottom Line: B&O’s Form 2i packs in good sound quality for the casual listener with a minimal & beautiful design.
It isn’t every day that headphones get considered a piece of art, but back in 1992 the original Form 2 headphones by Bang & Olufsen were made part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Talk about an achievement!
Now in 2014, the Form 2i (as it’s known now) has been refreshed with a few modern features like an inline microphone & playback buttons, along with some comfort design improvements, too. You can pick them up in a range of colours, including: black, white, red, green, blue and grey for £109.
Design & Build Quality
B&O’s Form 2i has a thin & lightweight design.
It’s not much of a surprise why these headphones received the accolade they did back in ‘92 — they really are good looking. The slim headband is made out of plastic which keeps weight down to around 90g, and thanks to that, the Form 2i have a minimal presence when you’re using them.
An unfortunate (but expected) downside to that light plastic build is that the Form 2i headphones don’t feel very tough. The adjustable metal frame on either side helps to give the headband extra rigidity — but overall, it isn’t the kind of build that inspires a feeling of durability.
Move down to the audio cable and you’ll find the “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad” buttons (with an integrated mic): two buttons for volume and one for playing/pausing music. As usual with these controls for iOS, you can go rewind or skip a track, and you can also use the same controls for phone calls.
Form 2i’s inline “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad” controls.
The buttons feel nice and responsive, and B&O have placed them just under your jaw-line for quick access — a change from the usual positioning of inline controls around the chest area. It took me some getting used to since my muscle memory made me reach for my chest area instead, but the higher position is convenient and also improves phonecall quality since the mic is closer to the mouth.
There were times when I actually forgot that I was wearing the Form 2i headphones just because they’re so slim and light. Thanks to the adjustable headband and rotating earpads with their ball-joint design, you also get a nice amount of customisation to suit your comfort needs, too.
Despite those features, the lack of padding on the underside of the headband meant that it didn’t have a very snug fit. I found that any sharp movements would cause the headband to shift out of place — and that quickly became a nuisance, particularly when I used them on the go.
Rotating earpads can be adjusted for better comfort.
Other than that, it would have been nice to see faux leather rather than foam earpads — like on the Coolstream Bluetooth headphones for instance — but that’s more of a personal preference than a criticism.
Whether it was Kanye West’s more upbeat All Of The Lights, or John Legend’s All Of Me, I found that vocals sounded good across most genres. Unsurprisingly, bass isn’t the Form 2i’s strongest point but there’s just enough of a kick to avoid leaving songs sounding completely flat. Trebles also sound clear at higher volumes without any signs of crackling or distortion.
All in all, the Form 2i certainly isn’t an audiophile-grade headphone, however it does produce well-balanced audio quality that’s good enough to please the average listener.
Given the Form 2i’s open design it does suffer from sound leakage, so I’d regularly find myself turning heads when playing music too loud in the office.
B&O’s Form 2i headphones look great, although at £109 it does feel like you’re paying more for form over function. Padding on the underside of the headband would make them more comfortable to use on the move, but other than that the Form 2i are a good pick for the design-conscious listener who wants a set of good looking & lightweight headphones.