In the market for an in-ear headphone to use for my gym sessions, I got the opportunity to review the NuForce NE-600X/M and compared them to the Apple headphones that come bundled with the iPods and iPhones.
Packaging & Contents
The NE-600X/M, unlike other headphones I’ve bought and seen at the store comes in an easy to open plastic shell. The top cover is released by depressing the tab. While not designed to be used as permanent storage for the headphones, it does provide a convenient way of storing the headphones without having to find another case for it.
Available in lime, black and red colors, the headphone packaging also contains 3 sizes of tips to fit most ears. The medium tip fit me perfectly without feeling too cramped in my ear or feeling like the headphone would pop out with moderate movements.
Design & Comfort
The ear piece design is traditional with a tip that can accept 3 different cushion sizes. The cables are flat and semi-rigid and impervious to tangling which was a big complaint of mine with the Apple headphones.
Using the medium sized cushion, the headphones fits snuggly and stays in place through moderate movements. Aggressive head shaking does dislodge the ear bud, but that is a very unlikely use case for in-ear head phones.
The cushions provide ample comfort for extended usage with no tiring or pain afterwards. The ear buds are sufficiently light to not feel like they are tugging at your ear.
WIth it’s one size fits all design, the Apple headphones fit my ear OK, but never tended to stay in place and would require constant adjustment to ensure it stays in place.
By far, where the NE-600 X/M excels over the Apple headphones is in the sound quality. WIth the proper cushion use, external noise is virtually eliminated, though these aren’t noise canceling headphones. The speakers themselves are capable of producing a great amount of bass and voice quality.
In comparison, the Apple headphones sounded very distant and underpowered, while the NE-600 X/M’s soundstage was more alive.
I tried music ranging from Classical to Rock and the NE-600 X/M delivered a solid performance in all music types to make it enjoyable to listen to.
If listening to songs with a good amount of bass is important, the NE-600 X/M delivers in spades. The amount of bass being generated by these little speakers and delivered directly into my ear required me to tone down the bass (iPod equalizer Bass Reducer) to make the music enjoyable.
Microphone & Playback Control
The inline playback control works well to play/pause the music on my iPod Nano with a single click, while a double click goes to the next song.
The microphone works well enough since it’s positioned slightly below chin level for best performance. There were no discernible audio artifacts when compared to the microphone on the Apple headphones. The performance was no better or worse between the two headphones.
Pros and Cons
- No tangle cables
- Excellent sound quality
- Excellent sound isolation with the proper ear piece cushion
- Stays firmly in place through moderate movements.
- Might be a tad too “bassy” for some people and music types
- Cable could be a little bit longer to accomodate putting the music devices in pant pockets comfortably.
The NuForce NE-600 X/M are an excellent pair of in-ear headphones that provide good comfort while delivering excellent sound/bass performance.
Overall, Highly Recommended (3.5 out of 5 stars)