Foreword: NuForce BE6i
Since Apple turned its back on the classic jack socket, other mobile device manufacturers have also followed the trend. One solution to the problem are adapters that allow headphones and mobile devices to continue to be connected. An alternative to this are again wireless Bluetooth headphones or earphones. The NuForce BE6i from Optoma is such a Bluetooth earphone, which is also a further development of the previous model "NuForce BE6". The main differences are an extended battery life as well as dust and water protection according to protection class IPX5.
Design, workmanship and delivery
The design of the in-ear headphones is stylish and is aimed primarily at mobile and sporty users. In contrast to other Bluetooth IEMs, such as the Apple AirPods, the earphone is connected with a ribbon cable. In the upper third of the right sound unit there is a 3-button cable remote control with microphone and micro-USB socket for charging the earphone. The sound bodies are made of aluminum and are comparatively large. No wonder, because a lot of hardware, including the battery, is housed in both units! In accordance with protection class IPX5, the in-ear is protected from dust and "water jets from any angle". Rain or other liquids are therefore not a problem for the NuForce BE6i. The ends of the sound bodies are magnetic, so the earphones can simply be worn around the neck when not in use. The engraved “NU” logo sets accents. The direction of wear is clearly marked with L and R on both units.
The build quality of the NuForce BE6i is only partially acceptable. Above all, the processing of the sound bodies was convincing. The manufacturing quality of the cable remote control was not convincing. This is made entirely of plastic and appears to be inexpensive to put together. In addition, the keys do not have a particularly good pressure point.
As is typical for Optoma NuForce, the scope of delivery is extremely generous. In addition to the earphones, it also includes four pairs of silicone ear cushions in sizes XS, S, M and L, two pairs of Comply ear cushions M and L, consisting of memory foam, a pair of ear wings, a cable clip, a carrying case, and a charging cable and of course an instruction manual.
Commissioning the BE6i is uncomplicated and can also be carried out by technical laypeople without any problems. If you press the power button for 6 seconds, you get into pairing mode. To connect a mobile device, all you have to do is select the Optoma NuForce BE6i via the mobile device's Bluetooth settings. The connection is established without entering a password. A voice message informs you that the connection has been successfully established. Each time the device is switched on, a connection to the mobile device is automatically established, provided the pairing is not removed.
The NuForce BE6i is equipped with a 10 mm dynamic driver. Optoma specifies the frequency range as 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The impedance is 20 ohms. The sensitivity is 95dB +/- 3dB (1 kHz).
The NuForce BE6i presented as Bluetooth earphones with a (moderate) U-sound curve. As a result, the earphones are (still) geared towards conventional consumers, but they also show clear hi-fi tendencies. The bass range is only slightly raised, but is still noticeable. The bass reproduction is precise and anything but intrusive. Bass lovers are guaranteed to miss powerful and particularly rich bass! The mid-range reproduction is successful. The middle sounds particularly easy to grip with a colored note. The height range, especially the upper heights, are also slightly raised. The treble reproduction can be described as smooth, without being distorted in any way by sharp sibilants.
The display of details is not necessarily one of the strengths of Bluetooth headphones. Many headphones of this type tend to sound muddy. The NuForce BE6i, on the other hand, impresses with its particularly clear and, above all, noise-free music reproduction with a comparatively high level of detail. With the support of the aptX codec, a more stable Bluetooth connection with a higher data rate (up to 352 kbps) is possible, which further improves the sound quality. The prerequisite for this, however, is an aptX compatible mobile device.
The Bluetooth standard is version 4.1 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate). The following Bluetooth profiles are supported: HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6, A2DP 1.2, AVRCP 1.4, APT-X, AAC. The earphones can remember connection data from a maximum of 8 different devices.
The Bluetooth connection quality and connection range are very good. Optoma specifies the maximum transmission range of 30 meters. The tested, lossless range was around 20 meters. Only from this range onwards there were isolated dropouts.
Wired remote control and microphone
As already mentioned, the wired remote control unfortunately does not win a prize. The processing quality does not correspond to the rest of the earphones, especially the high-quality aluminum sound bodies. Among other things, it is possible to control music playback via the remote control. There are a total of 3 control buttons. The earphones can be switched on using the middle control button. As a multifunctional control button, songs can also be paused and continued, as well as incoming calls can be accepted, ended and rejected. The other two control buttons are used to control the volume. In addition, songs can be skipped by holding down for a longer period of time.
Further features of the wired remote control are a status LED, a micro-USB charging socket and the microphone. The recording quality of the microphone is good and sufficient to make phone calls via it.
The sound bodies of the NuForce BE6i are comparatively heavy and large. The total weight of the earphones is 19g. When wearing the in-ear, the rather long housing protrudes far out of the ear, which, in combination with the high weight, means that the earphone tends to sag. Readjusting was not uncommon during the test listening! The pair of ear wings that Optoma includes in the scope of delivery is an advantage. The ear wings significantly improve wearing comfort and hold, so that the BE6i can also be worn for sports without any problems.
A cylindrical 80 mAh lithium-ion battery is located in the housings of the earphones. The measured capacity is a total of 135 mAh. The runtime measured at medium volume is 7 hours. The deviation at higher or lower volume is approximately +1 / -1 hours. By pressing all the control buttons on the cable remote control, you will be informed of the current battery status via voice announcement and LED indicators.
The earphones are charged after 2 hours. As the test showed, the earphones cannot be charged with any charger. The NuForce BE6i cannot cope with the fast chargers that come with most smartphones these days. Charging on the PC or with a 5V 1A charger worked without any problems.
Optoma NuForce BE6i
Extensive scope of delivery
High quality aluminum housing
Detailed sound with a U sound curve
Good battery life
Processing quality of the cable remote control
Comfort and support
Doesn't charge with any charger