Who would have thought that something as old and simple as in-ear headphones could also get a modern upgrade?
The challenge is in making them wireless as well, and this means shoving all the electrical components, including a battery, into the body of each earpiece.
The ideal end result would be a pair of wireless compact earphones that are light enough to not fall off the ears, yet powerful enough to offer great sound.
The BE 6 from Optomo Nuforce offers just that, and it even throws in a multi-function inline remote for volume and playback controls, as well as for answering calls.
The earphones are not entirely cable free, as there is a wire running from one earpiece to the other and this is where the remote sits. This tether also serves another purpose, as I can hang the earphones around my neck when not in use, and it prevents me from losing one earpiece.
PRICE: $199 (www.qoo10.sg)
INLINE REMOTE: Multi-functional, phone, volume, pairing, voice prompts activation
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz to 20kHz
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
The inline remote leans more towards the right earbud. Each cylindrical earpiece is 2.5cm long (including the rubber tip), and the gold version makes it look like there is a bullet shoved in each ear. The flat end on each piece is magnetic, and you can attach both earpieces together to wear the earphones as a necklace.
The surprising thing is how light the set-up is, at a mere 16g. With the right rubber tip (five different types are included), the earphones felt snug and secure in my ears even when I was walking briskly.
Pairing is simple as there is a voice navigator to walk you through the process. A blue light comes on during pairing mode; while charging, the light is red, and goes off when the battery is full.
The 10mm drivers produced crisp audio without the domineering bass that I have heard from some brands in the same price range.
Audio separation is distinct - I was able to hear separations between the different instruments in the music. And I did not hear any distortion in the audio during my two weeks of using the earphones.
But while the construction of the earpieces is top notch, the cable itself is not. The flat cables lack rigidity, and the biggest culprit is the cheap rubber guard that protects the USB port to charge the unit.
The battery itself lasted just over five hours, which is less than the advertised six hours. Six hours is not much to sing about, but there is only so much that can fit into something that is already petite to begin with.
• Verdict: The BE6 is an impressive pair of earphones that are comfortable and deliver a good listening experience.