As I continue on my quest to find the “perfect” wireless earbuds for “me”, I jump at every opportunity to review whatever earbuds come my way. The Optoma BE Free5 earbuds seem interesting, so with much anticipation, here we go:
What is it?
The Optoma BE Free5 wireless earbuds are a pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds that can be used for both listening to music and receiving and making phone calls.
What’s in the box
1 x BE Free5 Wireless Earbuds
1 x Charging Case
3 x Pairs Ear Wings in three sizes
3 x Pairs Ear Tips in three sizes
1 x Micro USB Cable
1 x Instruction Booklet
Design and features
The Optoma BE Free5 wireless earbuds are designed with grapheme audio drivers with AAC Bluetooth codec support for both Apple and Android Oreo. They feature mic noise canceling, a charging case that can charge the earbuds 4 times on one charge for close to 16 hours of listening time, an IPX5 rating for water resistance, and on and off and touch controls for phone and music functions, and for Siri and Google Assistant. They also include 3 sizes of Ear Wings and Ear Tips for the perfect fit and comfort, and they remain in your ears while exercising and moving around during normal daily activities.
All of the control functions are handled via the surface of the earbuds.
When you first use the earbuds, you press the right earbud surface and hold it down until it flashes red and blue, and this puts it into pairing mode.
Once paired, the next time you use the earbuds, you power on the earbuds by pressing the right earbud for 2 seconds. It then engages the Bluetooth connection, and it is confirmed by voice command. Pressing either earbud for 2 seconds turns them on individually as well, and pressing either one for 4 seconds turns them both off. They can also be turned off by placing them in the charging case. When placed in the charging case, the LEDs on each earbud light up orange when charging. On the outside on the front of the case, there are 2 LEDs. The one on the left Lights up orange when the case is less than 25% charged and white when it is greater than 25% charged. The LED on the right lights up orange when the case is charging and white when it is fully charged.
When in playing mode, touching and holding the left earbud for 2 seconds lowers the volume, and touching and holding the right earbud for 2 seconds raises the volume. Pressing either the left or right earbud once controls play and pause. Pressing the left earbud twice, forwards to the next track and pressing the right earbud once answers and hangs up calls. Pressing the right earbud twice activates the mic for Siri and Google Assistant, and once the mic is active, pressing the right earbud once will mute the mic. If that all sounds confusing, it is, and it takes some time to remember the controls and to get used to them.
At the back of the charging case, there is a micro USB port for charging the internal battery of the case.
These earbuds perform quite well in most categories. The sound is very good and clear, and the Lows, Mids and Highs all sound present and bright. However, I did encounter a few issues that knock the performance rating down a bit:
1: While on phone calls, I could hear the person on the other side of the call quite clearly, by everyone I tested with said that I sounded as if I had my hand over my mouth and that they could tell that I was using a device.
2: While not very frequent, the earbuds either both lost the Bluetooth connection, or sometimes one side would drop out and then come back while the music continued to play in the other ear.
3: Several times, when I placed the earbuds in the case and assumed as per how most wireless earbuds work, that they disconnected from the phone, they did not. I would miss calls and then after checking to see why I did not hear the phone, I would discover that the Bluetooth was still connected and I would have to go into the phone settings and disconnect. The other way to avoid this is to power off the earbuds before placing them in the charging case.
4: Since there are no individual buttons for functions, touching anywhere on the surface of the earbuds, activates some function. This is a bit annoying for me when placing them in my ears or adjusting them, since touching them on the surface is the only comfortable way of handling them.
What I like
I like how nicely these earbuds fit in my ears, and that that stay put even during rigorous activities. I also really like the style, the sound, and the range of the volume. I like that they would last quite a long time on each charge, and I like the convenience of access to Siri which worked quite well on my iPhone.
What can be improved
- The Bluetooth connectivity
- The phone call clarity for both parties on the call.
The Optoma BE Free5 wireless earbuds are quite promising, and with a few adjustments could be one of the better earbuds that I have tested. I know that each person is different and that the things that I find as both positive and negative may not be the same for others. I do like how they sound, and I love that they are completely wireless and fit my ears nicely, with the included options for comfort. I will continue to use them and likely submit an update in the weeks or months to come. Regardless, for $99 they are a decent deal, and in my opinion, buyers should give them a try.