The BE10 are unlike any other wireless earphones that I’ve ever come across, but does that make them an instant buy?
In the box
With the BE10 you get
- A set of small, medium and large eartips
- 1 Micro USB charging cable
- 1 hard shell carry case
- 1 earhook
- A modular add on earpiece
- The documents
- Sweatproof – IPX4 rating
- Weight: 18.5g
- Main body dimensions: 70mm (L) x 20mm x 15mm (D)
- Overall dimensions: 700mm (L) in the configuration I’m using, but you can lengthen or shorten depending on how you use them.
Design and Build
The style of the BE10 is quite unique and honestly I have never come across a pair like them before. They come in three colour options too, you can either get them in Black, Red or the Gold I have here.
So you maybe wondering what makes them so different and that is their ability to swap out parts. With the BE10 you get a single earpiece, a dual channel set for music and of course the main body.
Its the main body that makes this modularity possible. On the top it features a Micro USB port in which you can swap between the solo earpiece and the earphones. Its so simple, but it sets the BE10 apart from other wireless earphones.
While we’re on the main body its quite nice, its slim, low profile and lightweight. Its features a not to my taste Gold finish with a flake in it, the Black is more to my preference but the Gold does look quite classy. There is also some subtle branding on the front too, along with an LED indicator. This Gold section has a chamfered edge and it adds a little flourish to the appearance. This is then all wrapped in a Black shell. Again the Gold is not my style, but I have to admit it looks pretty nice paired with the Black.
The main body is made from plastic and to be honest it isn’t that well made. Yes it looks nice but the construction doesn’t feel solid. There is a lot of flex and it feels hollow. In all fairness, this is not likely to see any wear but it would have been better if it was more durable feeling.
The top section where the USB port will do though and this is decent, its well mounted in the plastic and it has two screws holding it place. Yes it is fixed to quite a flimsy body but as long as you’re not rough with it, it should be okay.
The sides feature the volume control and main power button. These are both finished in Gold. The power button feels okay but the volume control is a little wobbly.
The final addition is a small cutout for the microphone, its position isn’t ideal for when using in earphones, but in its secondary use, its placed ideally. But more on this later.
Onto the single earpiece and this has a removable silicone section that allows it to fit nicely in your ear. This is mounted onto a nozzle that connects to the main section and its here where you’ll find the USB port which couples with the main body.
The next and final section is the earphones and these are both familiar and different at the same time. The top section looks just like a set of normal earphones. These are again Gold and the colour matching is quite good between these and the main body.
The earphones also feature a inner glossy Black section where the nozzles are. It does look nice, but I wish they would have made the finish more flat to match the rest of the design.
On the plus side they are made from a combination of plastic and metal and feel really solid. This part also has some good strain relief too, so for build there is no real concern here.
The cable next and it has a faux braided effect, by that I mean its plastic coated but its style mimics the look of a braided cable. Honestly I’m not of fan as its really shiny and looks a little cheap.
The cable is pretty different though, when you get down slightly there are a set of management sliders and these can be used to adjust the cable to different lengths. I’ll talk about this later on the review.
The next section of the cable houses the connection to the main body. This is pretty much identical to the solo earpiece, minus the earpiece. They both use the same mounting method to fasten to the main body and it works well.
The build of the cable is pretty good, it feels robust, solid and I don’t think it will be braking anytime soon. Yes the finish does look cheap but its really durable. The bottom section is decent too, its made from plastic and its fairly strong, it could possibly break given enough force, but if you’re careful it shouldn’t pose any problems.
Well, what can I say these are comfortable. The angled nozzles on the earphones fit really well in my ear and they just seem to sit really nicely. If you’ve read my past reviews you’ll know that earphones occasionally don’t fit me well, but these do.
The eartips are nice too, they are soft and pretty pliable. They cause very little fatigue in my ears at all. Usually I can wear earphones for an hour or possibly two before needing a break, these I was able to manage three hours plus before needing to have a short break. That might not sound like much, but as a person who prefers headphones, three hours for earphones isn’t bad at all.
The BE10 is light too, they are barely noticeable when you’re wearing them and as you wear them around your neck, that takes pretty much all of the very little weight.
Pairing and Range
The BE10 use Bluetooth 4.1 and have A2DP, AVRCP, HSP and HFP support.
Pairing the BE10 is a breeze. All you do is press and hold the main power button until the indicator light flashes Red and Blue. When it does, simply active Bluetooth on your device and search for the BE10. Its then as simple as selecting the BE10 option and letting the device and earphones do the rest.
Repairing is straight forward too. As long as Bluetooth is turned on, you simply turn on the BE10 and they should automatically pair back to your device.
The BE10 have a quoted range of up to 10m and that is pretty accurate, well as long as you don’t throw too many obstacles in the path of your device and the BE10. With a straight line of sight the connection is stable and solid, it even works through thinner walls. If you place a heavy duty brick wall in the path then it does effect the signal, but chances are you’re likely to be using these with your phone that will be either in your bag or pocket, so for that its great. No issues at all.
There are two main ways to wear the BE10. The first way is for regular use and sports. To do this you have to manage the cables to allow enough room to fit over head. Once you’ve done that you can then shorten or increase the length of the cable to suit. You can have them longer for more casual use and shorter if you are using them for exercise.
The next way is the for designed for conversations. This utilizes the single earpiece and lets you have better conversations than in the traditional mode. The single earpiece design fits really well and stays nicely in place thanks to the silicone earstay. This means you can walk around and have a good chat and well be hands free. So you’d use this if you needed to take a business or very important call as the quality is a lot better than when in necklace mode.
To answer calls you press the main power button once and to reject a call you long press.
Swapping between the two is really simple, all you have to do is disconnect the one that you’re using and reconnect the one you want to use. Its so straightforward and I’m honestly surprised that I haven’t seen something like this before.
The BE10 is using a 50mAh Li-ion cell and although not massive it gives you a quoted time of up to four hours music and four hours talk time. My testing gave me a time of four hours and 28 minutes at 65% volume. You also get a battery low prompt which to be honest is a little irritating. Once would be enough, but this insists on letting you know every minute or so. Quite frustrating really and its something that companies should stop doing. One low warning is plenty and that should be the standard. You do also get a visual indicator as well, the LED will flash Red when in need of charging.
Charge time is stated at up to two hours. Mine only took 50 minutes to charge via my Anker Powerport 5. But keep in mind that battery life and charge time will vary depending on the volume and also what you are using to charge it. During the charging cycle the LED will be Red snd this will turn Blue upon completion.
Noise isolation and Leak
Isolation is okay, if you find the right eartips then they can block out a decent amount of external noise. I always do my testing on public transport and for the most part they cope really well. I listened to them at around 65% volume and they do a good job. I could still hear some more prominent noises like a babies cry, but other than that conversations were not an issue nor was traffic noise. If you in a even louder environment then they do fair worse, but as they are not noise cancelling they do fairly well.
The isolation does work better if you crank the volume as that acts as the block, but there are risks with doing so. If you really want to block out external noise I’d suggest investing in some foam tips as they do a much better job of keeping external noises at bay. The only issue with this is I have yet to see any foam tips that fit the elliptical shape of the nozzles. But maybe if you dive into the web a bit deeper you may find some compatible ones.
Leak is again well handled if you find the right tips. Yes they do leak a small amount and if someone is sat right next to you then they may get a hint of noise but nothing overwhelming. If you’re on a bus or train you are not likely to bother anyone, but if you often visit libraries then you can of course keep the volume down and reduce leak.
- 10mm drivers
- 32 ohm impedance
- 20 – 20000Hz frequency response.
Sound quality is good, I wouldn’t say that its any better than other Bluetooth buds I’ve tested, but its not worse either.
The bass is nicely handled and packs a decent punch. The drop is nice and low, not the lowest I’ve ever encountered but still pretty good. Its fairly tight too and is sufficiently controlled. On the downside side its a little thick and not overly detailed. As a whole its okay but I think you bass lovers out there will be left wanting more.
The mids are where it falls down a little, they are a bit closed in and lacking space, this unfortunately is a pretty common trait of earphones like this. Detail is okay, soundstage isn’t that good and neither is separation. You can pick up some points of the mids, but for the most part its closed off and lacks any expanse.
The vocals are okay, the tonal quality is nice, its not the most accurate I’ve ever heard but its alright. Its lacking a but of power too, the drivers just don’t have the chops to properly deliver a solid vocal. Its clear and detail is okay but its just a bit lackluster. Its a bit flat and its lacking warmth.
They also seem to struggle at higher volumes too, there is some noticeable distortion and if you push them they become a little unwieldy.
Overall they are average for the price, it sounded like I was being a bit critical but the sound as a whole is average. There is nothing about it that makes it different to any other pair of buds at this price.
To sump up are these a must buy? I would say maybe. Yes that is a bit of a cop out but hear me out.
I mean the design is great, its unique and it does set them apart. The build is good in places and not so good in others. They are comfortable, the battery life is decent, they are easy to use and can be used in more ways than most other earphones. The sound is not that great but its not terrible either, so as a pair of wireless earbuds they are decent.
But where they set themselves part is that if you are a person that often takes important calls, but likes listening to music too, then they make sense. If you think about it, they do both and at a reasonable price. If you were to factor in a good quality earpiece for say around £15 to £20 and then add a set of decent Bluetooth earbuds in at say around £25 to £30 and the BE10 with there price of around £40 and the value is there. Plus you’d only have to take one item with you instead of two and its also one less thing to charge.
Now approximately £40 is what these will cost you if you pack their kickstarter, but I couldn’t say what they were going to retail for. If they are more than £40 then the story is different. But when I find out the price at retail, I will readjust this review taking the price into consideration.
Back onto the summary now and if like I said you need both a earpiece and earbuds then these make sense. But if you don’t need that function then you could probably find some similarly priced earbuds that perform better as a whole.
To sum up the summary. Take a serious look at these if you require both an earpiece and Bluetooth earbuds but don’t want to have to carry two separate products. Don’t look at these if you just need a good set of Bluetooth buds for listening to music as honestly there are better out there.
Pick some up here via Amazon UK
Bluetooth Headphones, 2 In 1 Innovative Necklace Earphone for Fashion, Sports and Business – Darkgray