Though last year's BE6 Bluetooth earphones were targeted at mobile music lovers who value supreme sonic quality, we found a somewhat lackluster low end delivery marred an otherwise surprisingly unBluetooth-like performance. They were not the most comfortable ear candy we've pushed down our canals either, and play time between charges fell slightly short of expectations. Was Optoma taking notes? The new BE6i earphones are reported to boast improved audio performance, a better fit, and extended battery life. And they're also water-resistant.
"We created the BE6i in-ear headphones based on feedback from our users – audio enthusiasts want a high quality sound experience that fits their active lifestyles," said NuForce's Jyri Jokirinta.
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The BE6i earphones retain the same outward appearance as their predecessor, but Optoma has popped a newly-developed 10 mm driver inside each lightweight and stylish aluminum housing. The company is promising a distortion-free (even at high volume levels), premium listening experience thanks to the use of titanium, magnesium and inert metal to help "eliminate unwanted reverberations."
Optoma gives the frequency response as 20 Hz to 20 kHz, with 95 dB sensitivity and an input impedance of 20 ohms. The earphones are compatible with both AAC and aptX streaming, with a wireless range that's quoted as up to 100 ft (30 m).
And they come with a water resistance rating of IPX5, which essentially means that they should be good for a music-assisted run in a heavy downpour, as well as being able to handle whatever sweat you manage to work up.
The earphones are not truly wireless in the same sense as the Earin buds, but the flat cable running between left and right units does allow for an inline remote, which is used to control playback, take calls from a paired smartphone or chat to a digital companion while out and about. Claimed battery life is up from 5.5 hours on the BE6 (though we averaged about 5 hours) to 8 hours on a single charge of the integrated Li-ion cylindrical battery.
The BE6i Bluetooth earphones are available now in gray or gold for US$129. Each pair comes with six sets of NuForce silicone tips are included, together with a pair of Comply foam tips and a pair of redesigned ear wings.
Product page: NuForce BE6iView gallery - 6 images