Optoma is a great name is projectors, but they’re much less known in the bluetooth headphone game, but if these BE6i’s are anything to go by, they’ll get a similar reputation in the wireless headphone game.
Disclosure: Optoma sent me (Dom) a set of the BE6i along with the ML750st projector, and although the device was provided for free, Optoma have no editorial control over the outcome of this review. The BE6i’s were used on my Huawei P9 and Lenovo YogaBook for about a week and a half.
The BE6i’s are your standard Bluetooth earbuds, they aren’t on the level of AirPods or the Bragi Dash, they still have a tether between them, and to contrast the gold earbuds, they have the white cable. The Control Box is biased towards the right earbud, but it is really quite large, compared to other bluetooth earbuds I have, The control box size isn’t uncomfortable, but it is noticeably larger than others.
Each of the earbuds is made of metal and houses the 10mm drivers which sound phenomenal, and where the cable attaches to the earbud there is a moulded white rubber type material, and the cable is a flat, tangle proof type with a soft touch rubber material covering the entire length.
So sound wise, how are they? Honestly, I was blown away. I’m not the biggest proponent of wireless earbuds, I like them, but they’ve always been just kinda okay, audio quality over bluetooth has always been lacking, range was never that great and battery life was just something to be mourned over, but these buck all those trends.
Starting with audio quality, with the introduction of APT-X a few years ago, and the maturation of it over the years, means that quality over bluetooth has gotten tremendously better over time. Let’s be clear, a £100 pair of in-ear wired buds will still sound better than these, but if you took a pair of £100 pair of bluetooth earbuds from 3 years ago, these are leaps and bounds better, and you’ll likely love listening to them.
How about range? Well that is also one of the areas that has come along so far in the last few years. With the newer versions of bluetooth that introduced low energy modes and high range modes, Bluetooth has gotten insanely better insanely fast, and every compatible earbud set benefits from it, it just so happens that Optoma built some amazing ones.
So once again, how do they sound? Better than I was expecting, and so good that I’m sad to send them back. The vocals on the podcasts I’d listen to sounded great, from the mids to the high end in the orchestral pieces I could hear everything, and the amount of stereo separation and instrumental separation in these was just so much better than I could have ever expected.
If you mainly listen to spoken word work, such as podcasts or audiobooks, you will not be disappointed with the BE6i’s, listening to specifically the Android Central podcast, Florence Ion and Daniel Bader’s voices had some nuances that I hadn’t heard before, Daniel’s Canadian twang was more apparent and some of the higher points of Flo’s excited voice came through without being clipped by the speakers I was using. If you’re an audiobook person, listening to “The Martian” by Andy Weir and narrated by R.C Bray, It was a way to re-live the book without watching spending hours of time dedicating to it that I don’t have. Spoken word art, and it is art, sounds phenomenal on the BE6i’s.
What about instrumental music? Well, listening to “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and Starman and Space Oddity by David Bowie, I was nearly brought to tears by how these sounded. I have heard these tracks and albums on multi-thousand-pound stereo and Hi-Fi systems, and the soundstage that I had with these was phenomenal. If you like Orchestral pieces or Operatic songs, I have a hard time thinking that for£100 you’d have a better time listening to them wirelessly.
I’m coming from a weird place with the BE6i’s, I’ve only used them with Comply Isolation Plus memory foam ear tips, which are premium memory foam ear tips which expand to the ear canal or you and offer near perfect isolation and fit, so if you only use the included Comply foam tips, it’s a near perfect fit, if you’ve got a shallow ear canal like I have, the BE6i’s do stick out a fair bit, but they’re no unusable.
What about comfort? They’ve got that in spades as well. But yes, I am once again only using them with the Comply tips, but even on a 3 hour listening period (I binged a load of podcasts I’d missed, don’t judge me) My ears weren’t fatigued, they didn’t have an uncomfortable level of heat or sweat, and there wasn’t a weird vacuum type effect when eventually pulling them out after hours of use, so bravo Optoma
This is one I don’t feel comfortable really talking about yet, I’ve charged them twice, but I don’t think i’ve used them nearly long enough to have a handle on the battery life just yet. On that 3 hour binge time it drained what appeared to be half its battery, which is about in line with the roughly 8 hours that Optoma claim, so that’s impressive, however you look at it.
Most people aren’t also listening to things in long binges, they listen in bursts, while they’re at the gym, or when they’re writing and doing essay writing etc, when you take into account how most people use them, the 8 hours actually starts to look quite feasible, which is even more impressive when you realise that all there is powering it is an 80mAh battery pack.
Charge Time is surprisingly short, once again due to that 80mAh battery, I never measured the charge time, but a half hour charge is likely to top off your BE6i’s long enough for you to use them for another few hours until you get home to overnight them, good job Optoma.
If you’re buying a somewhat expensive pair of bluetooth earbuds, I’m going to have a hard time not recommending the BE6i’s to you. If you aren’t set on wireless, for £100 you can get better sound quality than these give you, but they then won’t be wireless, which is what you need to decide is whether it’s a purchasing decision or not. Originally I wasn’t that excited to get the BE6i’s, but after my time with them, I really didn’t want to send them back, So Good job Optoma, maybe I’ll get a keeper next time.
Optoma NuForce BE6i£99.99
- Great fit (with Comply's)
- Beautiful rendition of vocals
- Orchestral representation is stellar
- Instrumental separation was stellar
- Battery life
- For some people, £100 is a lot to spend on earbuds
- They do stick out of my ears a fair bit.