Bang and Olufsen has long marketed itself as a prestige brand, calling out its own quality of sound and performance. In that regard, the Beoplay E6 Motion earphones lives up to the name and reputation. The wireless earbuds feature crisp, orchestral sound quality with deep bass, easy connectivity and sleek controls. It's just a shame that they're joined by the world's most annoying cord.
Sony recently dropped its latest offering to the sound gods - the WF-1000XM3 truly wireless noise cancelling headphones. This inner-ear music delivery system is a bold move. It's notoriously difficult to achieve both noise cancellation and great sound quality in non-over-ear headphones. Let's see if Sony managed to deliver.
The Beoplay E6 Motion earphones are priced at $399, occupying a high tier in the upper echelons of the bluetooth earbud market. They're on par with the recently announced Apple AirPods Pro, and share a similar battery life of 5 hours.
So, what are they?
The Beoplay E6 Motions are luxury bluetooth earphones from Bang and Olufsen, designed for activity — hence the "motion" moniker. The earphones, while technically wireless, are corded at the back so you can take them out easily when needed and let them dangle. There's a magnet on either end of the earbuds that you can join together to stop playback.
The E6 Motions come with an array of different fin sizes and fits for all kinds of ears, so finding a snug fit shouldn't be too much of a drama. For me, the standard size already fitted to the earbuds was perfect.
What's good about them?
There's some things that are great about the E6 Motions, despite the inflated $399 price tag.
The Beoplay E6 Motions really do sound fantastic. In reviewing these earbuds, I was taking a leap from my $300 Jaybird Vistas, and the difference in sound quality was enormous. The E6 Motions have bass. Deep, resounding bass. To compare the different, listening to the Jaybird Vistas was like standing in a lounge room surrounded by musicians. Listening to the E6 Motions was like standing in an opera hall.
There's no hint of tinniness or excessive vibrato. Sounds are crisp, clear and smooth. Wearing them was one of the rare times I felt like my music (some tracks of which are still leftovers from the LimeWire days) wasn't taking full advantage of the capabilities of the earbuds. Yes, they're priced as a luxury product, but when it comes to sound quality, I was genuinely impressed.
Ease of use
The other great thing about the E6 Motion earphones are how easy they are to use. The corded link means that any time you want to stop and chat, take a break or pause your music, you're just a button press and a quick flick of the ear away from peace and quiet. While I didn't love the cord (more on that later), it's hard to deny that removing the earbuds easily and comfortably without the risk of losing them was very welcome. When not in use, they sit nicely around your neck and as long as you're not wearing a jacket, they don't slip 'n slide too easily.
What's not so good?
The real mystery is where to start... As much as I praised the phenomenal sound quality, there's still more than enough to complain about when it comes to the design and concept of these earphones.
Yes, the cord was great for protecting the earbuds and making sure I didn't lose them. And it is very durable. But it was the source of the vast majority of my frustrations with the earphones.
Firstly, rather than hanging neatly down, the cord means the earphones curl strangely around like extra large earbuds. Here's what I mean:
Because the corded connection is so thick, there's also no adjusting it, so it just hangs there. The other thing is that if you need to take out one earbud and leave the other dangling, it tends to drag and pull on your ear. I ended up losing a few stray hairs to it when I wasn't paying attention, and it also makes turning your head in any direction feel awkward. I was not a fan of the cord.
The E6 Motion earphones do not come with a carry case, unlike a lot of the other wireless earbuds that came out in 2019. Instead, these are charged via a corded plug system, as below.
They snap on and charge easily, but not particularly quickly and not nearly enough. In total, the battery life lasts 5 hours. In more practical terms it meant that after two days of very light use, I had to charge them again. I can only imagine how often people who want to use them for work, during commutes and while working out will have to recharge. And they can't even do it on the go.
And the proprietary charger means that you can't simply charge it from any handle USB-C, micro-USB or lightening cable cord.
When the E6 Motions are competing against other earphones that are capable of closer to 24 hours without a plugged-in charge, the battery life comes off very poorly. If power longevity is a requirement for your needs, the E6 Motions won't serve you well here.
Look, the E6 Motion earphones sound great, but there are far better value for money headphones on the market. This includes the aforementioned Jaybird Vistas, which, at $100 less, still has solid sound quality, but also offers a completely cord-free experience and 16 hours of charge.
The Sony WF-1000XM3s, which are sold on the same price tier as the Beoplay Motion E6s at $399 are altogether a more complete package. Alongside fantastic sound quality, they also offer 24 hours with a single charge between the earbuds and the case, no corded connection and noise cancellation.
There's also the excellent $349 Powerbeats Pros vying for attention, and they also boast phenomenal sound with great battery life. And if you're an Apple fan, some new noise-cancelling true-wirless AirPods have just been released. Once again, they're the same price as the E6 Motions.
In that regard, the E6 Motions don't really stand out in the market or offer many unique points to get excited about.
Should you buy them?
If you're looking for exceptional sound, you'll find them in the Beoplay Motion E6 earphones. With crisp bass and booming tunes, they're sure to satisfy even the most discerning of music critics. But the cord really is a pain, and it gets in the way more often than is practical. There's also some solid competition on the market from the Sony WF-1000XM3s, which feature great sound quality as well as exceptional design choices, as well as other similarly-priced headsets. There's just not enough here to differentiate B&O's offering when there are so many other options at the same price point or cheaper.
So while the Beoplay Motion E6s are well-designed and constructed, the general annoyance of the corded earphones and disappointing battery life are major obstacles, and ones that should definitely be considered when purchasing.