Optoma NuForce BE2 review

Optoma’s crazy-affordable NuForce BE2 wireless earbuds prove you can have it all

Optoma makes it easy to go wireless on any budget with the impressive NuForce BE2.
Optoma makes it easy to go wireless on any budget with the impressive NuForce BE2.
Optoma makes it easy to go wireless on any budget with the impressive NuForce BE2.

Highs

  • Good audio quality
  • Durable design
  • Solid battery life
  • AAC codec support
  • Great price

Lows

  • No aptX support
  • Fewer ear gel options
  • No wings or foam tips

Paying less for anything that sounds decent these days isn’t always easy but, as you’ll discover in reading our Optoma NuForce BE2 review, these earbuds take things much further with impressive audio performance and battery life.

Hardly a household name, Optoma’s NuForce brand quietly resonates for those who get the chance to try their earbuds. Cutting the cord to listen to music wirelessly is no longer a luxury expense, especially when it comes to this pair.

Out of the box

While you won’t be wowed opening the box, Optoma loads the package with all you need, including four pairs of ear gels in small, medium and large sizes, plus a standard size of the brand’s SpinFit TwinBlade eartips found in many of its earbuds to help keep them snug and in place. A short Micro USB charging cable and basic user manual round out the goodies inside. An illustration on the accessories box explains how to quickly pair the BE2 with a mobile device.

The budget price is evidenced by the lack of a carrying case, Comply Foam tips, or ear wings to further customize the fit. But then again, we didn’t really expect to see much in the way of extras.

Features and design

If Optoma’s naming conventions have you confused, it’s really a matter of counting backwards in the case of the BE2. Though it launched later than the BE Sport3 and BE6i, , the Qualcomm codec widely adopted for higher quality Bluetooth streaming. Optoma left out aptX support, so the BE2 should sound a bit better on an iOS device than they would an Android one. When using Android, Bluetooth streaming reverts to Subband Coding (SBC), a mandatory codec found in all Bluetooth devices that isn’t as good.

Audio performance

We’ve liked the NuForce line for its ability to deliver solid audio fidelity that punches above its price range, and the BE2 stand as a real testament to that. Playing it safe with the sound signature, the BE2 don’t stand out for any one genre above others. Bass lovers may wish for a bit more love down low, but overall the BE2 more than deliver there for the price point.

It’s a consistently warm sound, with just enough detail to appreciate a good composition of instruments.

We played through The Weeknd’s Starboy album during a workout to put the buds to the test, and came away impressed with how punchy the bass sounded. Wireless earbuds from other makers have struggled in the past to keep the low end of the spectrum pumping, and one of the biggest culprits is often audio leakage from a loose fit.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest the BE2 compare well against the pricier BE Sport3. No matter the track we played, the similarity was obvious. We tried an eclectic playlist to gauge that including Confessions Pt. II by BadBadNotGood, Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, Vaults’ One Last Night, and Peter White’s Who’s That Lady. While the songs offer a diverse array of tonal colors, all sounded good enough to appreciate wearing the BE2. Apart from being “safe” in not skewing too far to either side of the frequency spectrum, we felt a little déjà vu in our evaluation.

It’s a consistently warm sound signature, with just enough detail to appreciate a good composition of instruments. The more instruments involved, however, the flatter the sound gets, and that includes live tracks where reverb and crowd noise serve to widen the spectrum further and mask subtler details.

Optoma NuForce BE2 review
Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends
Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends

Without the ear wings, the BE2 don’t have much to anchor to in the ear, which is partly why the SpinFit ear gels are included. We could appreciate how they isolate noise, but we had to adjust their fit more often than with the regular gels. It’s not hard and fast though. Every pair of ears is different, so you might find a tighter fit with them than we did.

In louder settings, like a busy gym or street, we did have to crank up the volume a little, regardless of what gel we had in.

Warranty information

Optoma offers a standard one-year warranty covering parts and labor for repair and replacement.

Our Take

It’s hard to argue with a $50 pair of earbuds that are not only wireless, but also last long enough to keep on playing through a few runs and workouts. Even better, Optoma didn’t cheap out on the audio quality to match the budget price.

That said, while the lack of aptX is one of those details that isn’t especially obvious, it affects a huge subset of people: Android users. SBC is inferior to both aptX and AAC, so we caution Android users seeking out the highest fidelity for the money to keep this in mind. If you plan on using the buds mostly for your daily work out, though, it may be a negligible quibble.

Is there a better alternative?

NuForce includes aptX compatibility in both the BE Sport3 and BE6i, though at $80 for either model, you’ll have to shell out a bit more cash.

Other than that, you’ll likely need to step up your budget significantly, though pricier options obviously come with added benefits. The $150 Jaybird X3 Sport or Sport Coach Wireless Special Edition offer heart rate monitoring and exercise tracking, in case you want the extra push, but all three will extend your budget significantly.

How long will it last?

The biggest danger to the NuForce BE2’s longevity is probably sweat. They may have some sweat resistance, but to avoid any needless damage, cleaning them with a wet wipe helps get rid of excess salt from all that perspiration. Bluetooth is consistent with these earbuds, so we don’t expect any degradation to occur over time. Treat these well, and they should reward you by staying vigorous.

Should you buy it?

If you’re an iOS user, these are definitely worth buying because you don’t have to compromise on Bluetooth streaming audio quality. Android users should consider the slightly pricier options from the brand to get a comparable experience.

Trash

The best MP3 players of 2018 cram tons of music into a small package

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? Don't sweat it. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? No worries. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Trash

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Run to the beat of your favorite music with the best running headphones

Running is a great source of exercise but isn't always the most thrilling, especially when you're fiddling to keep your headphones in place. Check out our picks for the best headphones for running, so you never have to miss a beat again.
Trash

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video and what’s leaving in May 2019

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in April and May, from new original series to classic films.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Product Review

JBL’s Live 650BTNC are a wonderful everyday listening companion

A long-lasting battery, solid active noise cancelation, and vibrant sound make the JBL Live 650BTNC a great pair of headphones for everyday listening. Looking for feature-packed wireless headphones at a low price? These are just the ticket.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Mobile

Spruce up your Lenovo smartphone with the best Moto Mods for the Moto Z-series

Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories compatible with Lenovo's Moto Z-series smartphones add a lot of value without adding a lot of bulk. Looking to try one out? Here are a few of our favorite Moto Mods.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu in May 2019, and what’s leaving soon

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for May 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

The best Black Mirror episodes are disturbing, mesmerizing, and provocative

After watching all 19 episodes across four seasons and one movie, we selected and ranked the best Black Mirror episodes released so far. Read on to find out if your favorite episode from the award-winning Netflix series made the list.
Movies & TV

From comedies to biopics, these are the best movies about music and musicians

The best movies about music range from hilarious comedies to powerful and informative biopics that illuminate the world of sonic expression from all possible angles. Here are our current favorites.
Home Theater

Here's how to turn off subtitles on Netflix, no matter the device

Subtitles are great if you want or need them, but they can be a major headache if you’ve somehow turned them on by accident and can’t figure out how to get rid of them. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it seems.