Another pair of sports earphones have crossed my review desk, with the new entry to the Australian market, Nu Force, submitting their BE Sport 3 bluetooth earphones for testing.
At $125, they’re right in the mix with the competition undercutting the usual $200 price-tag of most of the earphones on the market. In terms of what they offer you get an IP55 rating so they’re sweatproof – a definite must for sports earphones – and you get a claim for 10 hours of battery life.
The BE Sport 3 are quite colourful, available in either black or white and come with a bunch of colourful eartips/wings etc. They’re certainly one of the most eye-catching bluetooth earphones I’ve tried, but it comes down to how they handle that’s the real challenge.
So, how did they do? TL;DR: Not bad, but there’s some things I’d like to see changed in the next version. For the full run-down, read on.
What’s in the Box?
You start with the earphones themselves, but you also get a quick start guide buried right at the bottom of the box in a cardboard cover that’s built-in to the box. If you can’t find it, you can find the instruction manual online on the NuForce website.
In a separate box you find the rest of your accessories. This includes a tiny microUSB to USB cable for charging – as usual there is no actual charging brick, simply plug it into a USB port on your PC to charge. You also get six pairs of wings in three different colours (two different sizes in three colours), and six pairs of rubberised tips in 2 different colours (three different sizes in each colour). You also get a pair of ‘Twin Blade’ eartips designed to ‘keep the earbuds securely in place during strenuous activity’.
A neoprene carrying pouch with a carabiner attached rounds out your included accessories, it makes for a nice carrying bag, but really once you’ve played with all the fins/tips you don’t really need to carry this stuff. It does protect the earphones if you want to carry them in your sports/gym bag though.
|Connection type:||Bluetooth 2.4Ghz|
|Bluetooth Profile:||HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6, A2DP 1.2, AVRCP 1.4 ,|
|Codec:||SBC, aptX, AAC|
|Cable Length:||580 +/- 20,mm|
|Battery life (estimated):||Up to 10 hours|
|Battery Type:||Lithium-ion battery, Cylindrical Type,|
Typical 3.7V/75mAh x2 pcs
|Frequency Response:||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Sensitivity:||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Power Consumption:||15mA at A2DP mode, speaker output 75dB|
|Range:||Up to 10m|
|Weight:||13g (without tips/wings and cable loop)|
Fit, Design and Comfort
The fit on the BE Sport 3 is variable. I spent time with each different set of tips, and while my right ear was perfect, the left never really felt comfortable. The decision to include only silicon/rubber tips instead of a foam option which you find included with some higher end options was a little disappointing.
The upside is that these are the best looking designs in terms of colour, I was a bit hesitant on the pink/green colour option I was sent, but in the end I quite liked it. There are a number of options to choose from though, so make sure you check out what’s available.
In terms of comfort, it was again hit and miss. The ear tips never sat correctly in my left ear, so I found myself constantly re-adjusting the earbud. I’ve accepted I have a bit of an odd shaped ear-canal here, so your mileage may vary.
As a helpful design decision, the wings, as well as each of the metal earbuds, are labelled left (L) and right (R) to make it easier to fit them.
The other downside I had with the BE Sport 3 was the neckband. The rubberised cable that joins the two bands kept rubbing on my neck, not a terrible thing, but when you’re sweaty and it then catches on your neck it continually pulled the left ear bud out of my ear. There’s an adjustable ring to shorten the cable to somewhat offset this effect, but it didn’t maintain the tension, loosening off as I worked out.
The metal housing of the BE Sport 3 buds is quite premium for the price they’re selling for. They’re also magnetised, so when not in your ear they snap together to hopefully not get tangled. The magnetic back did give me one experience I never thought, while bending down to adjust the height of a cable weight machine, the earbud stuck to the rail, popping out of my ear. Weird, but that probably won’t happen too often.
Sound Quality and Volume
The sound quality of the BE Sport 3 buds is decent without going over the top. The sound is great for podcasts, but you tend to lose a bit of clarity when listening to music. As you’d expect with the smaller drivers in the BE Sport 3 buds you get a lot of treble, but you don’t tend to get a lot of bass. It’s enough to get by for a workout but for the true audiophile a higher end set may be better suited.
The volume on the BE Sport 3 is very good, offering a big sound that makes up for the lack of bass for the most part. I’ve had issues previously with bluetooth earphones being quiet but for the BE Sport 3 you shouldn’t have any of these issues.
You don’t get any noise cancelling on the BE Sport 3, but with the buds inserted properly you don’t actually need it really. I had to remove them in order to have a conversation with anyone while wearing them, that said it’s always nice to have noise-cancelling, but at this end of the range it’s not worth the added cost of adding in the additional hardware required.
Volume control for the BE Sport 3 is available on the inline controller, which also acts a playback and phone control. Using the three buttons: +/- volume buttons and the Function/Power button, you can take and end calls, raise and lower volume, pause/play and skip/reverse tracks on your mobile.
The inline controller also holds the microphone you’ll use for taking and receiving calls. It’s a decent quality mic, but nothing fantastic simply enough to make/receive calls.
Battery and charging
The inline controller also contains the charging port – a microUSB connection – for the BE Sport 3 hidden behind a rubber port cover. You can plug the BE Sport 3 into any computer or phone charger using the cable supplied – or just any microUSB cable you have laying around. The charging time is around 2-2.5 hours, but an LED built into the controller will switch from red to blue when it’s fully charged.
Usage time is advertised at 10 hours, but a more realistic expectation is about 8 hours – this is about average for this type of wireless bluetooth earphone. The unit will alert you to low-battery at 50% capacity, and again when you reach about 20 minutes left, but you only get one warning at that point so heed it and charge your headset when you get that warning.
As a pair of sports earphones, the Optoma NuForce BE Sport 3 are quite good. They’re pretty comfortable to wear and you get a decent quality sound from them.
I’ve been using these earbuds for a month or more now, and I’ve been fairly happy with them. There’s small things that could be improved, but for the price they’re a great set of wireless sports earbuds. If you’re willing to spend more, you will certainly get more for your money – but if budget is your deciding factor then the BE Sport 3 are for you.
You can find the BE Sport 3 earphones anywhere from $99 if you shop around, so shop around and find the best deal for you.