Of all the headphones we review, for our workouts we have always gone back to our trusty sweat-proof Jaybird Bluebuds X. Our pair was long since discontinued, lacked the most recent Bluetooth technology, and its battery was showing signs of age, but when you have something that works, it’s hard to put it away. Imagine our dismay when, after four years of service, they finally stopped working just a few weeks ago. As luck would have it, Optoma’s newest sport Bluetooth headphone arrived the same week. The NuForce BE Sport4 is a sport-focused Bluetooth headphone that proved a worthy successor to our old Jaybirds. Coming from us, that’s high praise.
The thing that first got us excited about the BE Sport4 is how similar in design they were to the Bluebuds X that fit us so well. The BE Sport4 feature what appears to be the same large sound channel and fit the same ear tips as the Jaybirds; that similarity combined with their compact driver housings meant that they fit us exactly as well as the Bluebuds X, with comparable isolation and comfort. Everything else about the BE Sport4 is an upgrade. Where the Bluebuds X were sweat resistant, the BE Sport4 features an IPX5 water resistance rating. The BE Sport4 supports AAC and aptX, with a 10-hour battery life (confirmed in our testing) and a quick-charge capability that gets you two hours of playback after just 15 minutes of charging.
A wide variety of ear tips and wings are included, as well as one pair of the double-flange SpinFit TwinBlade tips for extra security and isolation. The dizzying array of included wings practically guarantee a fit far more secure than those of the old BlueBuds X — the square-ish shape of the BE Sport4’s housings keeps them in place, where the circular housings on the Jaybirds made it possible for them to rotate when wet. The only detractor from our experience wearing the BE Sport4 was that the included wings are a bit stiff and pointy, which could make them uncomfortable at times. The housings of our review unit were finished in a smooth, attractive anodized black colorway, and hidden magnets enable them to stick together when hanging from the neck.
The BE Sport4 worked nicely with our iPhone, with volume linked to that of iOS and battery level displayed in the notification shade. Its three-button control pod works in a familiar fashion, but can be a little difficult to use — the buttons are under a single sheet of silicone, and plus, minus, and center button indicators aren’t raised enough to make them easy to discern without looking. That said, the BE Sport4 survived many sweaty workouts without a problem; Optoma says that its Kevlar-sleeved cable has high tensile strength, but we didn’t actively try to break them.
Inside the BE Sport4’s housings are 6mm graphene drivers — one of the first implementations of this high-tech material that we’ve had the chance to test. In this application, at least, the graphene drivers sound good, although not the most detailed headphones we’ve tested. There is a bit of a veil to the BE Sport4’s sound, and bass notes are a bit “rounder” or “softer” than we might have hoped for. Still, especially at this price point, the BE Sport4’s sound is more than adequate for its sport-focused intended use. We think the BE Sport4 are a solid value.
Company and Price
Model: NuForce BE Sport4