Rating: ★★★★★

We’ve all seen jokes about people “talking to themselves” while on their bluetooth headsets, but love them or hate them, they’re a virtual necessity these days, especially in places where they’re required by law if you want to use a phone while driving. The NuForce BT-860 bluetooth headphones may not be as sleek or futuristic looking as the industry standard, but they make up for that with an incredibly comfortable on-ear fit, and great performance as far as range, audio quality, and battery life.

Packaged with a USB wall outlet charger, the BT-860s only take a couple of hours to charge, and once at full power, I was able to get about 8 to 10 hours of use out of them using them for talking as well as listening. There are the occasional pops and clicks in the audio, but they’re not so bad as to detract from the sound, and has more to do with the bluetooth range than the actual audio quality. While I wouldn’t recommend them as a main set of headphones for someone dedicated to audio quality or in-depth music listening, they still do their job quite well. The levels are all decent, with good highs and noticeably strong bass.

Getting used to the controls can be a little odd for first-time bluetooth users, but are all handled using the control panel on the left ear piece and the commands, LED indications and audio tones don’t take very long to learn. They also don’t stand out, blending in fairly seamlessly with the overall design concept of the set in a natural, ergonomic way. Whether I used them for listening to music, as an accessory with my phone, or even for voice chat during online gaming on my Playstation 3, the NuForce BT-860 headphones performed admirably every time. The fact that they can be simultaneously configured to an MP3 player or other device at the same time as a phone is a great feature, making sure that you don’t have to worry about missing any phone calls or not hearing alerts while enjoying personal media on a laptop or tablet computer.

One thing that can’t be stressed enough is how comfortable the feel of the BT-860 set is. There were multiple times while wearing these headphones that I simply forgot over long periods of time that they were still there. Considering the band design of just one solid part with rubber over it, how light and flexible the headphones are came as a huge surprise. Stylistically, the look of these may not be for everyone, and they can be somewhat clunky to carry around in a bag, but they do have a sort of retro charm while still being quite functional. The solid rubber design seems sturdy, but considering how stiff the design is, I’m worried that something might break for good if it ever gets accidentally bent beyond a breaking point.

As a set of bluetooth headphones, built-in microphone and all, the NuForce BT-860′s do just about everything better than I expected. If you need something multi-purpose that’s going to work and hold up under stress, or need something to use for hours at a time, I can’t recommend these headphones more. For a reasonable price point, you get almost twice of what you pay for in terms of quality and usability.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, comfortable, and sturdy
  • Excellent battery life and packaged charger
  • Good sound quality

Cons:

  • Rigid design limits portability
  • No packaged receiver or headphone jack means pairing to every device you want to use them on
  • Foam earpads can start to wear down over time and usage

NuForce BT-860 Headphones are available on Amazon for $79.










Michael Radon

 
Born in the Midwest, living in the Southwest, Michael Radon grew up wanting to make video games for a living before finding his calling as a writer. Though he often heads out on spur-of-the-moment adventures with little to no preparation, he's just as sure to remember his toothbrush as he is at least two portable consoles, a laptop and five to ten games on his person at all times just for those lulls in the action where he can squeeze in a few levels of gaming.