Bluetooth headphones: There are a ton of them out there, right? Why review another one? Because we’re The Gadgeteer, and that’s what we do. I’d been on the hunt for a good set of wireless headphones for a while, so I was excited about Julie’s offer to review one of the newer products in this category, the Optoma NuForce BE6 Bluetooth wireless headphones. Let’s see how they performed. Gadget on!
The Nuforce Optoma BE6 Bluetooth headsphones are available in grey (as reviewed here) or while with gold accents color options.
The BE6 packaging has a few nice images of the product, but no windows, cutouts or other methods of seeing the actual product inside the package. This is a bit disappointing because I like to have visibility to the actual product that I am potentially purchasing.
The rear of the package includes a list of the features of the BE6.
Removing the exterior box reveals the interior packaging.
The interior packaging has a lid that flips open to reveal the BE6 and its accessories inside.
The BE6 itself is held snug in a dense foam block which has slits cut in it to secure the headphones and cables. The BE6’s carry case sits right above the the foam block.
Underneath the foam block and the carry case is a ‘trap door’ flap that contains the manuals and other product literature for the BE6. Sneaky.
- Nuforce Optoma BE6 Bluetooth headphones
- 4 Pairs silicone tips (one pair on BE6)
- 2 Pairs Comply™ Sport tips
- 1 Pair stabilizers
- 1 Piece cable management clip
- Carry case
- Charging cable (USB to micro-USB)
- Quick start guide
- Safety instructions
This product actually includes quite a few accessories, as can be seen in the image above. We’ll cover them below.
Right out of the box, I thought the BE6 had very sophisticated look and style to it. I like the dark grey color scheme. The BE6’s cable is also a flat, ribbon-type, made from a material which is a bit grippy, and these feature greatly help reduce tangling.
The “earbud” portion of the BE6 has a matte aluminum, “space grey”-style metallic finish. Very complementary with Apple iPhones. The BE6 includes magnets at the ends of the earbuds that allow a user to magnetically attach them together. One item to note is that, although the matte aluminum earbuds look and feel very appealing, it seems to make them heavy, which may have contributed to them falling out of my ears during exercise (more on this below).
The above photo gives an idea of the relative size of the BE6 earbuds. I found them to be bit bigger than other earbuds I’ve tried, and I was concerned that because of their size, they would have a tendency to fall out of my ears (which is an ongoing problem for me with virtually all styles of earbuds-type headphones that I’ve tried). More on this later.
The BE6 includes the NuForce “nu” logo on the ends of the earbuds, as seen above. Classy, yet understated.
The above photo shows the BE6 silicone tips. They are similar to the silicone tips of many other earbud-style headphones. The BE6 includes four sizes of silicone tips (see below).
The above photo depicts all of the tips that are included with the BE6. The Top row, from left to right, are the stabilizers and two pairs of comply tips (sizes M/L). The bottom row is the four sizes of silicone tips (S/M/L/XL).
The above photo depicts the BE6 equipped with a pair of the comply foam tips as well as the silicone stabilizers. The stabilizers are intended to provide additional stability to keep the earbuds in your ears during more strenuous activity. They are easy to install, but I had to experiment quite a bit to get them to work, but eventually they were helpful in keeping the earbuds in my ears during running and other activities. Maybe I was using them incorrectly, but these types of features don’t ever seem to help me much when using earbuds for exercise. I don’t exercise lightly (I move and bounce around a lot and sweat a lot—if you aren’t going to go hard, why go at all?) and I seem to have large ear canals, so maybe it is just me. In any case, they just didn’t initially stay in my ears during exercise, but I eventually got them to work pretty well.
The BE6 has a small inline remote module that controls all of the functions of the device. The remote has three buttons on the front, Volume Up (+), Power/Function and Volume Down (-). In there is a very small LED Indicator.
To turn on the BE6, hold down the center Power/Function button for three seconds and the tiny LED Indicator flashes blue to show that the device has been activated. Holding down the same button for two seconds causes the LED to flash red, indicating that it is shutting down. Pairing the BE6 with my iPhone 6 Plus was simple. The BE6 can store pairing info for eight devices.
The Volume Up (+) and Volume Down (-) buttons are straightforward to use and responsive. Because they have bit of a rubberized feel to them (perhaps silicone), it does take a bit of pressure to get them to switch, but not overly so. The inline remote has an impressive array of functionality. It offers the ability to control several functions of the BE6 during phone calls as well as listening to music.
The BE6 also offers a Voice Prompt mode which provides a series of voice prompts to indicates various modes or features have been activated. The Voice Prompt modes can be switched off and on, and when off, the BE6 defaults to beeps instead.
The BE6 also touts “Plasma nano-coated internal circuitry for splash-proof and enhanced dirt repellency.” To put it through its paces, I used the BE6 for some of my more strenuous workouts, ones in which I was jostling around and sweating profusely. The BE6 withstood this for a while, but eventually it started to act a bit strange. It got to a point where it spontaneously fast-forwarded songs, adjusted the volume all the way up, and other strange things. So either the BE6 wasn’t all it was advertised with respect to water-resistance, or my level of sweating was way beyond its duty threshold. Once the BE6 dried out, it did work fine again.
On the rear of the inline remote is a tiny microphone portal that is the same size as the tiny LED on the front. This is used to pick up your voice when using the BE6 during phone calls. While making calls using the BE6, listeners on the other end of the line didn’t seem to have any trouble hearing me.
The side of the inline remote has a rectangular silicone cover that protects the BE6’s micro USB charging port.
The cover can be opened with a fingernail. It was a bit tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it, it became easy to open it. However, it does seem to stay fairly well secure in the control box, which is desirable for protecting the charging port during use. The port cover is retained to the BE6 with a very small length of silicone. This makes me a bit nervous, because it seems like it would be easy to tear it off accidentally, but as long at the cover is secured down in the side of the remote, there shouldn’t be issues.
Above is a photo showing the BE6’s included mini USB-to-USB charging cable plugged into the inline remote’s charging port. The BE6 seemed to charge fairly quickly; it seemed like it took just a bit over an hour to fully charge it, although the BE6’s manual states that it takes 2.5 hours. The LED Indicator glows red while charging and turns blue once completed. There is also an interesting function that allows the user to check the battery level. Pressing the Volume Up, Volume Down and Power/Function buttons simultaneously will cause the LED Indicator to flash blue & red. The number of flashes indicates the battery power level: 2 flashes = battery low, 3 flashes = battery 50%, 4 or 5 flashes = full battery. Also, the BE6 will emit either a beep or “Battery Low” voice prompt every 2 minutes when the battery level is below 15 minutes remaining.
The BE6 also includes a cable loop that can be used to adjust the length of the cable. It’s a bit difficult to install, but once installed, is works fairly well and stays in place yet is adjustable.
The above photo depicts the cable loop installed on the BE6’s cable. It works well to tighten up the slack in the cable, but the slack still hangs there. I think I’d have preferred it if there was a way to not just tighten the BE6’s cable, but also to secure the slack in the cable. I think other Bluetooth headphones include this feature and it would be handy.
The above photo shows how I most frequently wore the BE6, with the cable slung behind my neck.
Above, a side view of me wearing the BE6. The flat, ribbon-style cable is a bit stiff and curled-up, which was a bit annoying.
The BE6 could also be worn with the cable hanging down under your chin as depicted in the photo above; however, I found this to be less comfortable, as it seemed as though the weight of the earbuds made them want to pop out a bit.
[EDIT 26 October 2017: The following paragraph was inadvertently omitted from the initial version of this review.]
Let’s talk sound. I found the BE6’s sound to be good. During the time that I was evaluating the BE6 for review, I used it to listen to mostly music, some podcasts, and a few movies, all mainly while working out or sitting at my desk. I went back and forth between connecting it to my iPhone 6 Plus and my Lenovo work laptop and I didn’t notice difference in sound between sources. Music and movies came through crisp and clear in the treble and mid-range, but without a lot of bass. The sound was a bit more impressive than I had expected it to be with a set of earbuds, though the price and construction of these indicates that they are higher-end earbuds after all.
The BE6 has a really nice carrying case. It is a molded into a clamshell shape from semi-rigid foam material which helps protect the headphones from being smashed or crushed. It also has a small metal ring that allows it to be attached to a strap, carabiner or other things.
The carry case also has a fleece-like, soft interior to further protect the BE6 from scratches and scuffs.
In addition, the carry case has a small elastic mesh pocket in the top half. I placed the BE6 charge cable in this pocket.
Overall, I like the NuForce Optoma BE6 Bluetooth headphones. They have a really nice aesthetic look and feel; I really like the light grey color scheme of the sample I reviewed. The controls work well and are straightforward to operate, and there are a lot of functions and features. The sound is crisp and clear, though not a lot of bass. On the down side, the earbuds initially fell out of my ears while performing strenuous exercising (this may have been attributable to my own physical ear canals and sweat level), and the BE6 started to act erratically when I exposed to higher levels of sweat, also while exercising. However, with a bit of experimenting with the stabilizers and foam tips, the stayed in quite a bit better. They are a bit pricey at $99, but this price seems to be fairly in line with similar Bluetooth headphones, and for the styling, features and functions, this seems like a reasonable price. If you are looking for a set of nice-looking set of Bluetooth headphones loaded with features, have a look at the NuForce Optoma BE6.