Optoma NuForce BE Sport4View Reviews
Resistant to sweat and moisture
Good for sports and casual listening
Isn't truly wireless
With more and more smartphones dropping the headphone jack in the name of increased slim factor, wireless earbuds are rising in popularity.
While many still prefer the classic 1/8-inch mini-TRS wired experience, there’s no denying the convenience offered by their wireless counterparts. By going wireless, you’ll no longer be at the mercy of long tangled wires, and less clutter is always a plus.
That’s not even mentioning the raw versatility and style points you get. Whether you’re jogging down the street, having a stroll on the beach, or even just listening to tunes as you work, wireless earbuds just work, and they look distinctively modern too, a plus for fashionistas.
I’ve been one of the sceptics when it comes to Bluetooth audio solutions in the past, citing lacklustre sound quality and weak battery life as points to dock. However, technology has come a long way, and Bluetooth earbuds are the new ideal listening experience for the masses.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on earbuds/earphones, as opposed to headphones (which are bulkier, though by no means worse). While different companies and distributors can’t seem to agree on a consistent naming scheme, we’ll keep things simple.
For the purposes of this breakdown, wireless earbuds are products that lack a connecting cable jacked into your audio device, instead connecting via Bluetooth or specific peripherals. We also allow earphones that have a cord linking the left and right earpieces, as is common with sporting variations.
Finally, we allow both earbuds and headphones, as different people have different preferences. Basically, earbuds rest just outside your ear canal, and still allow you to hear your surroundings to a certain extent. Earphones fit snugly into your ears, and manage to deliver a bit more bass, though certain people dislike the pressurized “air-cabin” feel whilst wearing them.
The main things to look out for in wireless earbuds are comfort, battery life, and sound quality.
Comfort is key. Having the best sounding earphones ever made won’t make a difference if they make you feel uncomfortable. Always test out earphones whenever possible, as the shape might not be for everyone (the original Apple Airpods being the biggest offender).
Similarly, decent battery life is a must. If you’re in the midst of a workout, nothing feels worse than having your music cut off. Thankfully, most wireless earphones are good enough to last you through a full day’s use, and charging cases are quickly becoming a standard.
Sound quality is a subjective matter, but different people might have different preferences. Again, a hands on test is the ideal solution, but if the option is unavailable, check out recommendations to find the best possible option.
With that segue, lets cover our personal favourites.
Sounds awesome Resistant to sweat and moisture Good for sports and casual listening Isn't truly wireless
Optoma NuForce BE Sport4
Resistant to sweat and moisture
Good for sports and casual listening
Isn't truly wireless
The Optoma NuForce is marketed as a pair of exercise headphones, and includes the necessary bells and whistles. IPX5 water resistance, quick charging and malleable modular eartips mean this is something that’s ready for just about any action.
Most reviewers have praised the sound quality, and we do agree. These earphones aren’t of the bass heavy variant either, and are perfectly suited for just about any listening situation. The NuForce has been finding its way into my day job bag as well, and I’ve been very satisfied.
While the NuForce isn’t as well-known as its peers, a 97% Metascore is high praise. All in all, the NuForce is a great value proposition for sports, and is well worth the low price of entry.
Excellent sound quality
Best-in-class noise cancellation
Good for just about anything
That price tag
The heavily anticipated update to the earphone that started it all was finally released in early November, and reviewers were practically blown away. After the ‘meh’ AirPods 2 update, this was a marked improvement that makes the AirPods Pro one of the best listening experiences money can buy.
The flagship feature is noise cancellation, which uses phase inversion and built-in microphones to remove background noise and hiss. This feature is common with headphones, but the AirPods Pro are the first earphones to utilize it well.
Also, while the standard AirPods were popular, their rigid shape meant many users couldn’t enjoy them without mild discomfort. The AirPods Pro takes a leaf out of Apple’s previous success, the Powerbeats Pro, and uses in-ears with swappable tips. Progress!
Of course, not all is good. The biggest thing flaw is the price tag. The AirPods Pro are expensive, but you’re getting an amazing pair of earphones for the price. The 90% Metascore is practically an unanimous endorsement.
Well-built for its price Good for sports Decent audio There are better options if you pay more
RHA MA390 Wireless
Well-built for its price
Good for sports
There are better options if you pay more
The RHA MA390 isn’t incredibly popular, but these earbuds are easily one of the best value propositions money can buy. Whether you’re after comfort, convenience, or sound quality, the MA390’s got you covered.
The biggest praise comes from its price to performance ratio. While these aren’t exactly the cheapest pair of wireless earbuds, they serve as a legitimate alternative to the crowd favourite NuForce.
IPX4 sweat resistance and solid battery life are bonuses that elevate the MA390 from being a simple budget option. A solid 85% Metascore is really good for a pair of cheap earbuds, and the MA390s are easily one of the best value buys you can get.
Works well on Android and iOS Noise cancelling functionality Top-tier sound quality Not suitable for sports
Works well on Android and iOS
Noise cancelling functionality
Top-tier sound quality
Not suitable for sports
While the Apple AirPods Pro are the new king in terms of quality and popularity, there’s the lack of full Android support to consider. That and the price that’ll burn a hole in your wallet.
Well, the Sony WF-1000XM3 has been around for a long time, and its easily the best alternative. Noise cancelling and sound quality is available here as well, though don’t expect the same degree of isolation provided by the AirPods pro.
Another minor nit-pick is that these aren’t ideal for sports, unlike the AirPods Pro. Despite those qualms, there’s a reason why the WF-1000XM3 reviewed so well, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Despite our qualms, a 91% Metascore easily solidifies this as one of the best earbuds money can buy.
Built like a tank Control scheme works with gloves Good value for money Not the best sounding headphones
Built like a tank
Control scheme works with gloves
Good value for money
Not the best sounding headphones
This might come out of left field, but more extreme sports like mountain biking and climbing might require a different breed of earbuds. The main issue here is glove support. Conductive surfaces don’t play too well with covered fingers, and the Skullcandy Vert solves the issue with a well-designed glove module.
Sound quality isn’t amazing, but tunes are perfectly listenable on the go. To be fair though, you’re not buying the Vert for listening, and for the purposes of intense biking, the Vert pumps out a good amount of volume.
Considering the Vert’s cost, it’s the ideal choice if you’re part of the target audience. While a 70% Metascore isn’t incredible, it does hit its mark as a unique product.
Purchasing earbuds is tough, especially if you’re going for the high-tech variants that cost a pretty penny. However, these are solid investments, especially with the headphone jack going the way of the dodo.
Regardless, be sure to identify your needs before making a purchase. Are you planning on using the earbuds for exercise or casual listening? Also, consider testing your choices out beforehand, comfort is often overlooked, and its well worth the trip to your local mall.
Finally, be sure to use our website to find potential hidden gems! While our recommendations above scored well, there are hundreds of earbuds released every year, and your searches can help make our product library more complete.
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