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Of all the different headphone categories out there today, the Bluetooth “sportbuds” market is easily one of the most crowded of the bunch. With every company trying to outperform and outshine the other with increasingly loud drivers and bright colors, will new buds like the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 find a place where they can compete? Read our Mistakes to Avoid when buying new, high-end headphones.
Read on in my Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 Bluetooth headphone review to find out!
Price: $79.00 on Amazon
Summary: With its revolutionary SpinFit TwinBlade earbuds, the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3’s are a deeply satisfying pair of headphones to listen to for hours at a time, and won’t ever slip out during especially sweaty workout sessions. For another pair that’s secure over your ears, too, you’ll want to read our Creative Labs MP-250 wireless sport Bluetooth headphones review.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
It’s hard to find any kind of unique design philosophy in the current state of Bluetooth earbuds in 2016, an issue that goes double for brands in the space that bear the “sport” moniker somewhere in their name. I’m not sure when the meeting was when everyone got together and decided that ultra-bright, eye-piercing neon would be the de facto color choice for any clothing or equipment products released in the exercise market, but I can say from experience that these days you pretty much need a pair of sunglasses when you go to the gym to save your retinas from the strain.
Following in that trend, the NuForce BE Sport 3 headphones from projector-giant Optoma feature two sets of earbuds in equally loud neon colors: cornea-crushing yellow, and pupil-punishing pinkish-orange. Luckily, the company also includes a final matte black option, if you don’t want to attract more attention to yourself than necessary the next time you’re running the trails at night. But, for more discreet earbuds, you’ll want to give our review of the Optoma Be Free8 a read.
Similar to the Tenqa Fit Bluetooth headphone, the BE Sport 3’s features many of the same style choices you’d find on competing headphones. This includes their offset driver housing which encourages you to drape the cord over the back of your neck, as well as the included mic/volume rocker/command button lanyard hanging from the right earbud. While the SMS audio sync 50 wireless Bluetooth headphones have similar button controls on the earphones, it’s unfortunately not a set of earbuds.
One unique feature we haven’t seen before was the two small magnets sitting at the back of each bud, which lets you stick the two of them together when you’re not listening to form a sort of “headphone necklace”. This prevents the headphones from swinging around or falling off your neck, and while the whole necklace look may not be for everyone, the magnets are more of a case of function over form than anything else.
Personally, I like the feature as I haven’t seen it before, and it came in handy whenever I had to pull the buds out during my errands to talk with cashiers or listen for cars while riding past on my bike.
The Optoma BE Sport 3 earbuds use the same silicone oval-tipped design that first made an appearance in the Klipsch S4 headphones back in 2011, and just as much as I loved the style back then I appreciate it just as much today. The oval shape fits perfectly into the ear and slides in like a dream, and actually takes quite a bit of rustling to get loose.
That said, because these are a behind-the-neck pair of buds, you might still find them slipping out of place if you’re running on a treadmill or sweating a lot during a heavy session at the gym. Without the help of the included ear wings, I found myself pushing the buds back into place after just a few minutes of running, but with them in, the buds stayed put for a solid hour before I needed to futz with the positioning again. All of these problems evaporated, however, as soon as I swapped over to the included “SpinFit TwinBlade®” earbud tips. These are double-flared, two-stage tips that sit inside your ear and actually conform to the dimensions of your ear canal to create a complete seal, resulting in an unbelievably snug grip that didn’t need any additional wings or gizmos to keep in place.
Also Read: 6 Bluetooth Headphones Built for Working Out
The volume rocker and command button was easy to use, and responded to light pressure when we went to press to answer a call. Other than that, overall the BE Sport3’s worked just as well as everyday headphones as they did in the gym, and although separate from the company’s main BE line of earbuds, could fit in just fine with the others without anyone noticing.
To test the sound profile of the Optoma BE Sport3 headphones, we ran them through a series of tests after a standard break-in period of around 30 hours. Some experts would recommend stretching that number to 50, but in my experience, I’ve found that 30 hours is generally enough time for mid-range Bluetooth headsets to show their true colors (neon or otherwise). These tests included listening to 320kpbs audio streamed from Spotify, a collection of local 320kpbs files downloaded to an iPhone 6s, as well as phone calls and podcasts to test the speech clarity.
See our article on Aftershokz Openmove Vs Trekz Air to see our own comparisons between headphones.
Overall, the BE Sport3’s performed well or above the curve of what you’d expect here, with rich, sultry bass tones and balanced mids. The only complaint I have is that at times the treble would kick just a bit too high on snare drums, though this was quickly corrected once I made some adjustments to the digital EQ.
Of course, no matter how good the sound is, it will always be hampered however slightly by the limitations of the Bluetooth transmission standard. Love it or hate it, A2DP is the way that all Bluetooth buds need to get their audio from the phone to your skull, and as good as the BE Sport3’s are in the category, they’ll still never sound as good as they might if they were wired directly to your device instead.
If the sound quality wasn’t already impressive enough to warrant a “buy” rating already, the insane battery life might be the final push you need to pick up a pair for yourself. In our testing, we found that the buds would often last anywhere between 8-11 hours on a single charge, depending on the volume and how often we utilized the buttons/mic on the attached lanyard.
That’s plenty for all-day listening, but in case you have to stop to plugin, it only took around 1hr and 30 minutes to go from a dead battery to full charge so we could get pumped back up with bass for our next workout.
From the outset, the Optoma Nuforce BE Sport3 headphones look like just another in a long line of exercise-centric Bluetooth buds, ones that don’t really do anything to shake up the category in a meaningful way. But with the help of the TwinBlade silicone tips, the drivers for the Sport 3’s rest almost directly next to your eardrum, with bass that resonates through from the front of the ear canal to the back to create an immediate, punchy sound that I haven’t found on any other pair of Bluetooth headphones to date.
Add this to the intuitive magnet/necklace system and strong call/voice quality, and you’ve got a great pair of buds that’s more than easily worth the modest $79 price tag.
Read More: Best Headphones for Running