The tech industry seriously hates wires. Not content to simply eliminate their use connecting headphones to phone, manufacturers have now turned their attention to killing them off between the earbuds themselves.
Apple wasn’t the first to embrace truly wireless buds, but its AirPods bFrought the form factor into the public consciousness in the way that only that particular tech giant can.
Now, three years on from the AirPod’s original reveal, the market for ‘true wireless’ earbuds is getting very crowded, and its this market that one brand has entered into with its Beam earbuds.
Their controls work well, but we could definitely do with a little more functionality. While the likes of the BeoPlay E8s have come up with innovative control schemes that manage to make the headphones small without compromising on functionality, the Beam earbuds feel a lot more limited.
On the left earbud you’ve got a single button which handles turning the headphones on and off and pairing them (NFC is also supported from the charging dock). Once you’ve got the earbuds paired, you probably won’t end up using this button much since the earbuds pair automatically when you take them out of their charging case.
On the right earbud there’s a single button for playing, pausing, skipping tracks, and answering calls.
When we asked a representative from Beam earbuds about this, they said the company wanted to avoid having people struggle to push small buttons on an already small device.
The headphones hold six hours of charge, and come with a charging case that provides three additional charges. Beam earbuds also advertises that the headphones will be able to gain 75 minutes of playback time from just 15 minutes of charging.
Sound and noise-cancellation performance
It shouldn’t be surprising that noise cancellation has been so successfully miniaturised (as with everything else in the world of technology), but even so we found it hard to believe just how good the noise-cancellation of the Beam earbuds were.
It’s especially strange considering the fact that most wireless noise-cancelling earbuds still make use of a neckband to contain their batteries.
In our tests the Beam earbuds did an admirable job at cancelling out most ambient noise. Like other noise-cancelling earphones, this effect is most pronounced on low frequency rumbling, making them perfect for public transportation.
High-frequencies still leak through a little, but this wasn’t any worse than what we’ve experienced from comparable noise-cancelling headphones.
The sound signature of the Beam earbuds verges on the chunky side, but that’s not to say they’re a pair of headphones that are overly lacking in detail.
Play a busy track like The Fall of Math by 65daysofstatic and the detailing in the guitar work is preserved magnificently despite the multiple layers of piano and synthesised drum work.
Bass has punch and heft to it, but it doesn’t overwhelm at any point. It adds weight without bulk.
Meanwhile, spin up some Regina Spektor and the detail preserved in the vocals of a track like ‘Laughing With’ is excellent. There were moments when we honestly thought we were listening to a pair of wired earphones rather than the true wireless buds in our ears.
With a pair of earbuds that need to not only maintain a solid connection with the phone but also with each other, good wireless connectivity is an absolute must, and it was only this that would occasionally remind us of what we were listening to.
The Beam earbuds come tantalisingly close to being perfect, but we did experience a couple of instances of the signal being lost on the right earbud.
Now, no pair of wireless headphones in existence so far are completely flawless, and the streets of London, being filled as they are with competing wireless signals, are an inevitable challenge.
With everyone rushing to bring out true wireless headphones, Beam earbuds has done well to find a unique feature in the form of noise-cancellation.
What’s more surprising is that it achieves this so well, without compromising on sound quality, and while still providing a battery life that should be capable of handling most daily use.
If you’ve been looking for a pair of true wireless earbuds, then the Beam earbuds do enough to impress. They pack in all the features of a pair of over-ear headphones, and they do it with zero wires at all.
If this is what true wireless earbuds are capable of then we can’t wait to see where the form-factor goes next. If you want to get the Beam Earbuds you can pre-order here Indiegogo