V-MODA Forza Review (Page 2 of 4)
Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
The V-MODA Forza, as mentioned previously, is available in three different color schemes, and that is orange, black, and white. Of course, the orange today is not fully orange, but rather has many orange highlights. In terms of appearance, the Forza takes a few cues from previous V-MODA earbuds, but generally looks pretty distinct from the rest. It does not carry the same sense of polish or flash as we have seen in other headsets like the V-MODA Zn, though these two earbuds are in different price brackets, too. More notably is the lack of metal as V-MODA often puts in with their earphones. Even so, I like the relatively minimal design and cleaner look, at least for the earbud head. All of this does not apply when it comes to the bright orange wires the Forza comes fitted with, which really goes the opposite end in terms of simplicity. Even so, I like this design. In terms of quality, the company claims they have done tests beyond the MIL-STD-810G standard on the Forza, and passes "sweat, weather resistant, high and low temperatures, humidity and UV exposure tests". While I have not performed any of these tests on my particular pair, V-MODA has a pretty good track record with their products, so their claims are not too surprising either.
Taking a closer look at the V-MODA Forza, rather than using the standard metal housing we have seen before, this looks more like a polycarbonate exterior. There is a metal version of the Forza available dubbed the Forza Metallo, which Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan will look at in his review. The company's logo are found on the outside of each head, in the same orange found around the body. The "L" and "R" markers are also found on the bottom of the head, near the cable. The small head itself is pretty basic, with a hexagonal end rounded into a circle closer to the drivers. As noted previously, these headphones have been rigorously tested, and are mechanically sealed to be sweat and weather resistant. This should mean the Forza's will be fine for movement.
Down the orange cable, we get to the remote, found on the cable of the right earphone. As we have already mentioned, the V-MODA Forza earphones are available in two variants; one for Android devices, and the other for Apple devices. The real difference comes in the implementation of the remote pod. Unfortunately, I was given the Apple version one, while I only have Android devices. This is not to say the headphones will not work at all on the opposite device, but certain functionality will be limited, such as volume control. Otherwise, the three buttons on the remote provides good tactile feedback. The top and bottom button provides Volume Up and Down, respectively, while the middle button is a multipurpose one. While in music, the middle button is used for Play/Pause functionality. Pressing it twice skips to the next track, while three times makes it go back to the previous track. When receiving a call, the middle button can be used for picking up and hanging up calls. The remote also holds a microphone on the other side for your calling needs.
Moving to the bottom, the V-MODA Forza earphones connect to your audio output device via a forty-five degree 3.5mm 24k gold plated connector. This halfway design choice between a ninety degree and straight connection is pretty interesting, but personally I am not a huge fan of it. While it still maintains the easy ability to plug and unplug, this design also takes up more room compared to either a straight or ninety degree connection. The cable and plug is rated for over 60,000 bends for maximum durability. The cable is definitely tough, but it is also tangle-proof. Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan has praised V-MODA products for its durability, and from my everyday use in the last month or so, I can definitely attest to its tangle-proof property. Overall, the cable is about 114cm long, with 81cm from the plug to the Y split, which should be a good fit for most users.
The V-MODA Forza is very light at 13.5g. They are designed to go straight into your ears, but you can use the included sport earhooks to wrap it around your ears as well. I would like to commend V-MODA for making such lightweight earphones for improved comfort, as well as being compact in size, so it still fits well for most people, including me. I have to say, I was quite surprised when I saw not three but four different sizes of sleeves included, which was a welcome addition. These sleeves are dubbed BLISS 3.0 by V-MODA, which stands for Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone. In addition to the eartips, three sizes of V-MODA's ActiveFlex sport fins are provided, and these fit over the entire casing. These provide even more stability in your ears, as they hook to the front of your ear, making it harder for the Forza headphones to fly out.
Inside the earbuds we have a 5.8mm neodymium dynamic-type driver in each side, with a rated frequency response of 20Hz to 40kHz. These specifications are beyond the hearing range of any normal human being of around 20Hz to 20kHz, though we will see what this translates into in our testing. The rated sensitivity is 99dB @ 1kHz 1mW with an impedance of 14 ohms. The low impedance will work well with unamplified sources such as your smartphone. Like most in-ear monitors, the drivers aim directly into your ear for a more direct and transparent sound reproduction characteristic. At the same time, it makes the earphones much easier to clean in the long run too. The sleeves assist the aim into the user's ear canals. As these earphones are designed for a closed configuration, the V-MODA Forza are made for passive noise canceling.
Based on my experience, the microphonic characteristics of the V-MODA Forza are pretty similar to other in-ear monitor microphones I have used. Thus, rustling noise from the contact between the cable and other surfaces is inevitable. The Y-split junction helps a bit in reducing mechanical vibrations half way down the cable, but the upper segment is considerably audible. An included shirt clip can be used to reduce the effect of this problem.
We can see the V-MODA Forza follows in with other V-MODA headphones, and to be honest, there does not seem to be many drawbacks in physical design, despite being quite a bit cheaper. In fact, a lot of the durability claims seen from pricier V-MODA headsets remain with the Forza, so I can only wonder how the audio is like. It is time to wonder no more, as we can now take a dive into how the Forza performs!
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis