Optoma is one of the those underdog headphone brands worth knowing about, continually providing a lot of quality for a good chunk less money of their counterparts. The sound quality of the ~$100 BE Free8, for example, left us pleasantly surprised, and can easily stand up with the best in its class, as well as the even lower costing BE Free5.
However, right when we thought Optoma couldn’t be even more aggressive with the price/quality ratio, the BE Live2 show up at our door. Sure, as opposed to the “Free” models, this pair follows the less appealing “wired” type of wireless earbud. But at a measly $50 MSRP, it’s hard not to have peaked interest, especially considering its slick design and Optoma’s know-how in earphone audio. This Synopsis lays out the key user details about the BE Live2 to determine if it really is all that.
We’ve seen cheaper, sub-$50 wireless earbuds time and time again, where the unboxing experience and earphone design are quite bland. The BE Live2 is above average in this respect. You’re presented with shiny, premium-looking earpieces upon flipping opening the box and neatly partitioned contents, but still find only the essentials when digging in, such as a short USB to micro USB cable and three different sizes of silicone ear tips.
- Unique, attractive, and magnetic earpieces
- Thought-out ear tips
- Quality cable design
- Healthy 10 hr battery life
- IPX5 waterproofing
- Decent sound quality for the price
- Earpieces are rather large, and stick out of ears
- 3-button remote is also on the large side
- No higher fidelity aptX audio codec
What it’s like to use
- The BE Live2’s earpiece design is the first thing that catches your eye upon unboxing, both because of its unique, symmetrical capsule form and inescapable sheen. Regardless how you feel about it (we think their streamlined, uniform look as slick in person), the fact of the matter is that they’re larger than average. But what you gain from chunkiness is a nice grip for insertion. The amount of surface area available to grip outweighs the slippery chassis.
- According to Optoma, the BE Live2 is “crafted from aluminum with polycarbonate and equipped with a Kevlar reinforced cable.” That description sounds like more premium-feeling device than the Live2 really is (the earpieces’ capsule exterior feels like commonplace plastic to the touch, though a nice heft elevates it past a lot of the cheapo’s out there). But we will say that the all-around construction does feel more solid than its price tag would suggest.
- From the rubbery smoothness of the thin, flat cable, to the attachment point transitions, everything feel quality and effortless. There’s not much to this kind of wireless earbud design, so we do appreciate the couple of extra touches, like the cable tightener and magnetically attracted earpieces.
- The fit of the Live2 is spot-on. They effortlessly go in our ears, right into a proper and deep seal (thanks to a good nozzle and ear tip length). No need to wiggle/struggle around until it’s properly seated.
- It’s not the most secure fit we’ve tried (there’s no ear fin reinforcement, for example). But it won’t weakly fall out either, even in moderate workouts.
- There’s a little bit of tug from the cable when routed behind your head. However, the earpiece seating remains uninterrupted. It feels like what helps is the sizable stress reliefs that directing the load in a perpendicular direction (which can be annoying on the ear if you tighten the cord slider too much). Either way, the design is sufficient, and kudos to Optoma for nailing a lightweight, thin, and unobtrusive cable.
- The 3-button remote is fairly standard for this type of earbud. It’s on the large side, but you what tell it from a weight perspective. The buttons aren’t the easiest to tell apart, and the subtle symbol imprints don’t help much, but they’re large enough to make the success rate of hitting the right one acceptable.
- The Bluetooth connection is rock solid. As long as you’re in a few feet vicinity of the source device, you won’t see any dropouts.
- At only $50, we’re never expecting sound quality that wows us. It’s usually a matter of how smartly a company has handled their compromises and how well they’ve done their tuning. In this respect, we’d say that Optoma knows what it’s doing.
- Though, we wish the aptX wireless audio codec made the cut (which has a transfer rate up to 384 kbps). AAC is the best offered here (up to 256 kbps).
- The Live2’s presentation is just right. There’s fullness in the mid-range that not only delivers a blood-moving punch but an engaging openness to vocals and instruments. The reproduction in this range is also a smooth and easy listen. Dimension is clearly detectable, but with more width than height.
- There’s also a real nice clarity up through the treble. You do have some treble drop-off at the higher frequencies (can’t have it all for $50), but there is plenty to enjoy prior to that point.
- Bass (particularly, mid-bass) is strong with this one. A little too strong in our opinion. The mid-bass totally dominates the lower frequencies. It’s not completely overdone, ala Beats style, but does exhibit a little boomy and loose quality. It’s a great thing that the upper half of the spectrum matches it for presence and clarity, or else this would be just another warm-dominated sound signature (where the bass overshadows and muddles the other ranges). It is not. Optoma was smart with the tuning.
Optomo’s Nuforce BE Live2 is a definite recommendation from us if you’re into this type of wireless earbud. No, it’s not some magical cheap earphone with sound quality that can stand up with the best, but it does a lot of things right. It’s a fun, engaging, open, and smooth listen. Build quality and ergonomics are also notable (via a company that has plentiful experience), as well as the functional execution. We just wish aptX was on board, which should be standard these days, even at this affordable price-point.
Also See: Best True Wireless Earbuds