The nwm MBE001 True Wireless On-Ear Speakers occupy a peculiar space within the tech market. Along with companies like Shokz, NTT Sonority is aiming to bridge the gap between regular earphones and typical speakers. These devices bring a fresh approach to audio delivery, with the nwm MBE001’s in particular utilizing NTT Sonority’s “Personalized Sound Zone” (PSZ) technology.
The nwm MBE001 Wireless On-Ear Speakers are now available in the US via Amazon.
When the product first arrived, I was quite surprised to discover how these things were packaged. The packaging is entirely made from paper and card. This is obviously a big plus for the environmentally friendly among us, but it doesn’t exactly feel or look premium. Frankly, if I had paid the $178 that NTT is charging for this device on Amazon, and it came packaged in something that resembles an egg box, I would not be too happy.
With that being said, it is easy enough to get to the product itself, with no need to peel off sealing stickers or wrestle with zip ties. The speakers themselves were neatly nestled in their charging case inside the box, which itself sat within a cardboard contraption resembling a clamshell. The charging case is thin and sleek-looking, although it does feel unnecessarily long, especially when slipped into a pocket.
The design of the actual speakers themselves, is unfortunately not quite as sleek. Although the black color works well, the design itself feels a bit chunky and dated. While wearing the speakers for testing purposes during my day-to-day activities, I had three people ask me if I had started wearing hearing aids on three separate occasions. The last thing that I want to do is throw any shade towards those who use hearing aids. However, it isn’t exactly the most flattering comparison in the world, especially not when it is aimed at a gadget worth almost $200.
Thankfully, the nwm MBE001’s are extremely comfortable to wear. The earpiece contains padding on the part that makes contact with the user’s ear meaning that the device never digs in, even during extended usage. They don’t always feel the most secure when using them in the gym, but these earphones are incredibly comfortable.
The speaker itself hovers above the user’s ear, although not directly above the earhole. Initially, I was a bit sceptical about the placement of this, as there is a bit of distance left for the sound to travel. As it turns out, my concerns were completely unfounded. The sound quality on these things is fantastic, with both music and podcasts sounding great.
Diving a little deeper into the sound quality of these things, while they might not offer the crispest audio clarity on the market, they do deliver a level sound quality that is more than acceptable. As promised, they also allow the user to clearly hear their surroundings while playing music through them, just as advertised. Phone calls were also surprisingly clear when tested.
The exclusive PSZ technology works even better than I expected. Even when I cranked the volume up on some of the loudest tunes on my playlist, my partner still couldn’t hear what I was listening to. Despite having bass-heavy tunes blasting into my ears, I could also hear everything that she was saying alongside the music.
The earpiece itself is also surprisingly flexible, making the speakers easy to put on and take off. They do feel pretty secure once hooked around the user’s ear, allowing you to confidently go for a walk without worrying about them slipping or falling off. Running is a slightly different story though, as I’ve had a few close calls on the treadmill.
When receiving a new device like this, it is good practice to charge them before the first use and thankfully charging these headphones is straightforward. After taking the speakers out to have a look at them, just place them back into the case, lining them up with the case’s two inbuilt magnets to ensure that they are sitting in correct spot. Then, plug the included USB-C cable into a USB slot and you are good to go.
The first time setup of a Bluetooth device like this is always a make-or-break moment. Thankfully, the nwm MBE001’s are a breeze to connect. Literally all that I had to do was take them out of the charging case after they had finished charging, place them on my ears, and then open up the Bluetooth settings on my phone. They appeared on the list of connectable devices almost immediately, and I was paired up and playing music in no time.
To wrap up, the nwm MBE001 Wireless On-Ear Speakers are a solid choice for those looking for the ability to listen to music, while simultaneously remaining aware of their surroundings. Even if the sound quality isn’t mind-blowing, it is far better than one would expect. It is just a shame that the visual appeal of these things doesn’t match up to the technical quality of the audio experience that they provide. Sadly, there is just no getting around the dated design of the nwm MBE001 Wireless On-Ear Speakers.
nwm MBE001 Wireless On-Ear Speakers – 8/10
nwm MBE001 Wireless On-Ear Speakers were provided to FandomWire for review by NTT Sonority.