The new BE6i features the same sleek design, solid build quality and aptX technology as their predecessors but adds an IPEX-5 water resistance rating and a longer run time (8 hours) per charge. Having never used Bluetooth earphones before, I found the BE6i to be comfortable, easy to use and they offer a better sound quality than what I would have expected from such a product.
Optoma NuForce BE6i Bluetooth Earphones
- Excellent design and build quality.
- Fun, enjoyable sound.
- Very good battery life per charge.
- Excellent wireless range.
- Good selection of silicone and foam ear tips.
- Could use a better method to keep them seated in ears.
I admit this is slightly new territory for me. All the headphones and earphones that I have reviewed up until now have been wired models. I’ve typically regarded wireless or Bluetooth connected headphones as more of a novelty or as cell phone extensions as opposed to serious high fidelity items. There is, however, no denying the attraction of not having any wires between your ears and your source for a host of reasons. NuForce has had the BE6 Bluetooth earphones in their line for a little while now and they have just updated them with the new BE6i. Being the curious fellow that I am, I accepted NuForce’s gracious invitation to take the new BE6i out for a spin.
Wireless In-ear Monitor
Single 10mm dynamic driver
Manufacturer Freq. Response:
20Hz – 20kHz (Driver freq. response in free-field)
95dB +/- 3dB @ 1kHz
Bluetooth (BT 4.1 standard)
SBC, aptX, AAC
Up to 98 ft
Up to 8 hours
Grey with black ear-tips or gold with white ear-tips
Micro USB charge cable, 2 pairs of Comply memory foam ear tips (sizes M and L), 4 pairs of silicone ear tips (sizes S, M, L, XL), 1 pair of silicone ear wings, hard carry pouch, cable management clip.
Optoma, Nuforce, Earphones, IEM, Wireless, Bluetooth, Earphones Reviews 2016
The NuForce BE6i come very well packaged in a box that is arranged very much like how an Apple product might be. I received a pair of the gold colored earphones, or what was once regarded in Hi-Fi circles as “champagne” color. The earphone housings are made of aluminum and are fairly substantial with a decent weight to them. Their size, while not unreasonable, is understandable considering how they have to house not only the 10mm full range driver but the associated rechargeable battery that allows for a claimed 8 hours of runtime per charge. The earphones come with a selection of white silicone ear-tips or black Comply foam tips. The BE6i housings are connected together with a short flat white cable. This cable sits around the back of the neck when the earphones are worn. It has an in-line control pod with a mic, volume/track selection controls, power button and charge port. The BE6i carry an IPX5 rating which means they are water and dust resistant, which is helpful for gym use. They also work with AAC and aptX transmission codecs to ensure the best quality sound when paired with Apple or Android devices respectively. The backs of the earphone housings are also magnetic, as such, the earbuds will magnetically fasten together for storage or when dangling around the neck.
For my review, I used the NuForce BE6i earphones with my iPhone 6S +, a Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge, or my Microsoft Surface 3 Pro. In each case the earphones were paired via the available Bluetooth connection from each device. All music tracks were encoded as FLAC files.
From an ease of use standpoint, I took an immediate liking to the BE6i. Upon unboxing, I plugged in the supplied charge cable and let them juice up until the red LED on the control pod turned blue. The white silicone ear-tips seemed to work well for me in most cases. I switched over to the Comply foam tips when I needed to make sure the buds stayed in place during walks or gym sessions. Outside of the level of outside noise cancellation, I could not discern a difference in sound quality between the two types of tips, which isn’t always the case with some other IEMs. I found the optional silicone wings, that help the BE6i stay put when inserted, completely uncomfortable when worn, so I did without them. The earbuds stayed in well enough and remained comfortable in most cases, but perhaps another method to keep them properly seated during activities could be handy as the BE6i are on the heavy side for earphones.
The build quality of the of the BE6i seemed excellent. They felt very sturdy and I really liked the simple, clean styling overall. Also, the magnetic feature was a nice design touch and helped keep the earphones from falling off my neck when not being worn.
These earphones need to be “discovered” and “paired” with whatever Bluetooth device that they will be used with. With each of my three different devices, I encountered no issues when connecting to the BE6i. Discovery and pairing was all pretty straightforward. Once the earbuds were powered up and the respective device listed the NuForce phones as available in the Bluetooth menu, a simple press-and-hold of the main power button was all that was needed to complete the connection. In each instance, while in range, the wireless connection remained clear and stable. I did not test the BE6i to the absolute limits of its wireless range, but I will say that it was a novel experience being able to walk all through my art studio and out into the hallway while listening to music from my iPhone placed at my desk! I comfortably was up to 50 feet away from my iPhone and experienced no drop outs of any kind in the music. Pretty impressive I’d say. Battery life is claimed to be about eight hours and I saw nothing during my usage that would call that claim into question as I had them on for multiple hours between charges.
In terms of sound quality, I was also pleased with what I got from the BE6i. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting to hear from these Bluetooth earbuds, but I was prepared for static, intermittent connection, audible compression artifacts and the like. I certainly wasn’t expecting clean, uncompromised musical reproduction. Foolish me, that is exactly what I got. Overall, they were very pleasing to listen to with various types of music. In all of my listening, the NuForce BE6i sounded well balanced and appealing, if not completely neutral. They had abundant but not overbearing levels of bass and vocals seemed mostly clear and properly presented in terms of level and space. High frequencies were polite and enjoyable, but at times I thought they could use a little more air. While not the most revealing IEMs that I have listened to, they’ve got more than enough going for them in the rest of the sound department that I think most folks would be quite pleased after spending $129.00 dollars.
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams. On the track “Can’t Let Go”, the BE6i do an admirable job on Lucinda’s voice, rendering it with the right amount of presence and clarity. Both the electric slide and steel resonator guitars sound suitably rough and distorted but without some of the ultimate string details that I’ve heard with some more detailed IEMs. Bass was in good representation with kick drums sounding solid and impactful but, perhaps, without some of the resultant decay.
It’s Time by Michael Buble. When listening to the track “Feeling Good”, the vocals, again, stood out as being particularly good with Michael’s voice being smooth and full throughout. I did detect a little bit of thickness in the upper bass region but not so much as to be overly objectionable. The stand up bass plucking came across deep and solid, again, with some string detail and decay but not as much as I know is there. Horns, in general, sounded good and enjoyable if maybe lacking a little top end bite.
Don’t Explain by Joe Bonamassa and Beth Heart. On the track “Your Heart is as Black as Night”, the opening, low register, piano keys have a lovely deep weight to them when listening through the BE6i along with a decent amount of note decay. Beth Heart’s vocals were clear and suitably plaintive without a hint of muddy-ness. Joe Bonamassa’s guitar solo sounded good, but I felt lacked a little in detail from what I have heard before.
THE OPTOMA NUFORCE BE6I BLUETOOTH EARPHONES Actually Realigned my Expectations For a Product of This Class
- Great design.
- Fun, enjoyable sound.
- Excellent wireless range and battery life.
- Works with a variety of devices.
- Better methods to keep the earphones securely inserted.
The NuForce BE6i are a very good quality and enjoyable sounding pair of earphones. They offer an appealing, stylish design, excellent build quality and a sonic signature that is quite admirable for the $129.00 MSRP. The fact that they are wireless, have an above average signal range and battery life, and are comfortable and easy to use is a remarkable level of icing to be having on this cake. These earbuds actually realigned my expectations for a product of this class. If you are in the market for new earbuds and the thought of going wireless is an interesting proposition, I suggest that you do yourself a favor and try out the NuForce BE6i. You may come away as surprised as I was.