NuForce and Massdrop’s new wireless earbuds pack clear sound at a nice price

NuForce's BE Live5 headphones

True wireless earbuds (aka, fully wireless, super-duper wireless earbuds, etc.) are all the rage these days, thanks to their succinct profiles and ultra-cool form factor. They’re still pretty pricey, however, especially when it comes to performance for your dollars — leaving a large market for the still-loaded field of tethered wireless earbuds. Called the Stride, the latest pair of tethered buds to come across our desk was spawned from a partnership between NuForce and the electronics dealmakers at Massdrop.

Priced nicely at $75, the Stride are essentially just an iteration of NuForce’s BE Live5 headphones. They pack a stylish design with a metallic purple casing, along with plenty of features and a fabric-covered hard case that makes it easy to take them along for the ride. We’ve given the headphones a test run and we’re happy to say that, especially at their $75 price point, the Stride are a convenient and value-packed way to get your wireless tunes.

The goods

The Stride arrive (rhyming) in pretty basic cardboard packaging, unraveling from their foam home to reveal slick housings of aluminum and polycarbonate connected by a sturdy rubber tether for a sporty look and feel, with a bit of business thrown in.

The buds offer a solid selection of eartips to customize your fit, but oddly, they don’t offer the sports fins you’ll get with the Be Live5 (even though they’re shown in the manual). This may be a cost-cutter, but frankly, it seems like a fairly miserly one. That said, the sound tubes protruding from the rounded housings are set at an angle, making it easy to insert the 8mm drivers for a relatively tight fit. They’re far from the sturdiest fit we’ve experienced, and we worry a bit about the right side falling out during long runs due to the relatively weighty control/mic piece, but the buds should stay put for basic workouts and tomfoolery as long as you select the right eartips.

As teased above, the Stride come with an attractive, fabric-covered case that fits easily in your pocket, along with a teensy USB-to-Micro USB charging cable. Points off for the latter — we really wish all headphones would just move on to USB-C connection already — but we still have plenty of extra Micro USB cables hanging around, so at least they’re good for something. Speaking of charging, the earbuds charge in about 1.5 hours, according to NuForce, with a solid 8 hours of playback — they can’t get you to the moon and back, but we’ll take a solid day of tunes at this price.

NuForce's BE Live5 headphones

An IPX-5 rating means the Stride can withstand a sweaty workout (and a solid spray of low-pressure water), so they’ll work in just about any environment. An easy-access control piece dangling below the right earbud, which is pretty standard, offers pause/play/calling from the center button and volume controls above and below (which also default as song skip keys by holding down the button). Another cool feature we’re seeing from NuForce and other wireless earbud makers is the inclusion of magnets at the backs of the housings, making it easy to keep the buds together when you package them up to hit the road.

The sound

As we’ve come to expect from NuForce, the Stride offer a clear and balanced sound signature, with some nice weight in the low end and solid detail in the midrange and treble. The word “accessible” gets thrown around a lot for price-conscious headphones, but it’s always nice to find earbuds that don’t try to make a statement by ratcheting up the treble to scream or (much more commonly) blasting you with bulbous bass.

Adding codecs like aptX and AAC gives the Stride a sonic leg up on a lot of earbuds around the $50 to $75 price point, and while we did hear a bit of Bluetooth connection noise, it’s nothing most folks will hear once the music is rolling. The treble can sound just a tad synthetic — we could use a bit more cream in the coffee there, but overall the Stride offer smooth and well-balanced sound that should please a wide variety of listeners.

If you’re interested in picking up the Stride, you can check out the Massdrop link to select them for pre-order, but be aware that — as with all Massdrop deals — this is a limited offer that ends at the end of January and may or may not be available again down the line.

Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.

Check out our favorite Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus accessories

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are two of the most talked about smartphones of 2018. If you've managed to get your hands on one, you're no doubt looking to score some new accessories. Here are a few of our favorites.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.

Amazon drops price of 65-inch Sony 4K Smart TV by $300 for March Madness

You can get a fantastic 65-inch Sony LED TV for $300 off right now, in what's best described as the perfect TV deal to lead you and your living room into this year's March Madness tournament.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?