Home Reviews Entertainmnent Nuforce BE6i – superior sounding Bluetooth buds (review)

Nuforce BE6i – superior sounding Bluetooth buds (review)

Optoma Nuforce BE6i wireless Bluetooth in-ear phones support aptX and AAC, are IPX5 rated, offer a full sound vista, and come with eight sets of earbuds to fit anyone – and with the reassuring neck strap and magnetic clasp that means they won’t be easily lost.

Optoma is a leading manufacturer of professional projectors. In 2014, it acquired California-based Nuforce a manufacturer of high-end audio peripherals. At the core of its research and development is the heritage of Swiss audio maker Goldmund’s laboratory AudioNetworks SA.

These buds are amazing – great build, sound, and lots of replacement tips but more importantly the ability to get the best sound from any device that supports aptX (Qualcomm) or AAC (Apple and now others). It will faithfully reproduce 20Hz to 20kHz — good bass to clear treble — a Balanced sound signature.

Balanced sound signature means the BE6i sounds good with all types of music, retaining good stereo separation, clarity and controlled bass. It is not a “heavy metal” bud – bass is adequate but not overpowering. It is good for almost all types of music and voice e.g. podcasts.

Out of the Box – Nuforce BE6i

  • Earphones with inline controller and microphone
  • Silicon tips – 6 pairs of small, medium and large
  • Comply tips – 2 pairs medium and large
  • Stabilisers – 1 pair if needed
  • Cable loop
  • Zippered hard carry case
  • Micro-USB charge cable
  • Quick start Guide

Nufrorce wing tips

The earphones are made from aircraft grade aluminium and have magnets inside the flat back to stick together – very handy to ensure they don’t get lost. They are largish and will protrude from the ear – not overly so.

I tried the stabilisers that fit inside the outer ear, but unless you are doing something very strenuous you don’t need them.

Lots of tips for better listening

Nuforce tips

The Comply foam tips provide superior external sound blocking. I found them best for extended periods of music listening — perhaps on a plane or train but Nuforce recommends them for working out — the non-slip memory foam soft ear tips provide moisture and sweat resistance. Replacement tips are readily available online.

The silicon provides that reassuring fit, lets in a little more ambient sound (important for runners) and is more sweat and water resistant.

In the end, it is up to you and depends on your needs and comfort. I suspect the silicon tips will be the most used.

Battery

Battery charging took about 2.5 hours for eight hours use. The LED indicator turns blue when full and it has voice/beep prompts and LED indicators to show charge remaining. It powers down after three minutes of inactivity.

During two tests, I got eight hours and seven hours respectively – maybe it was the choice of music or perhaps the latter was due to an increased distance from the smartphone.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth pairing is as normal for any iOS, Android, MacOS or Windows device. It will store pairing information for eight devices at one time – multipoint connections (active pairing with two devices – primary and secondary) is supported.

aptX support depends on using a suitable Qualcomm-powered smartphone and AAC is an Apple standard. I tested the aptX using a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and it made a significant difference to sound transmission quality and latency over standard wireless buds.

Handsfree calls

If paired to a smartphone, you can take an incoming call and use the power/function button to answer, decline, redial, end a call etc. It is also Siri and OK Google compatible.

Specifications

  • Bluetooth: 4.1 aptX, AAC, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6, A2DP 1.2, AVCRP 1.4, 30m range
  • Codecs: SBC, aptX, AAC
  • Neck Cable length: 55cm
  • Drives: 2 x 10mm
  • Battery: 120maH, 8 hours normal use, 2.5-hour recharge (works from 500mAh to 3A sources)
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Voice prompts: all main functions
  • Speaker output: up to 75dB – safety limited
  • Weight: 19g – grey and gold colours

Nuforce construction

Pros

  • Battery life
  • Sound quality – Balanced signature allowing for the paired device to use EQ. Bass is strong but not overpowering
  • Build quality – solid aluminium
  • Bud tip choices
  • IPX5 (sweat proof)
  • Flat tangle resistant neck strap and magnetic clip together

Cons

  • 19g is noticeable in ear
  • Very short micro-USB cable
  • 5-hour zero to 100% charging is fairly long
  • If you use Comply foam tips you will need to replace them regularly

Summary

As more smartphones ditch the 3.5mm audio jack Bluetooth buds will gain more prominence. I have tried several including those from Bose, Plantronics, Jabra and some generic sets. Each has strengths – some include heartbeat monitoring.

In terms of sound quality and build these are a premium set. I also like the reassuring neck strap and magnetic clasp.

Whether you want a set to do strenuous workouts or simply experience some of the best sound and external audio isolation from buds, these are it.

Price

Recommended price is $174.99. Astute buyers will find them online for less.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!