- Very comfortable for long-term wear
- Punchy bass response creates warm soundstage
- Assortment of tips and sport fins make a perfect fit easy
- Ruggedly built, with excellent extended warranty
- Short cable makes some listening scenarios difficult
Given V-Moda’s track history, we were excited to see its brand-new in-ear option, the sport-focused Forza, come across our desk. But we had to wonder: Can V-Moda compete against a super-crowded $100 headphone market? As it turns out, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes!’ An excellent blend of durability and velvety-smooth sound quality, we enjoyed the Forza as much as any of the other V-Moda headphones we’ve tried — and that’s a lot.
Out of the Box
The Forza emerge from a small black cardboard box with orange accents, where the headphones can be examined via clear plastic panel up front before opening from the rear. Under a foam-built display lies a small mesh carrying pouch with four sizes of rubber tips, three sizes of sport fins, and one pair of over-ear clips. Everything besides the few display tips and sport fins is neatly packaged in re-sealable plastic bags, making it easy to store, replace, and keep track of these tiny accessories.
Features and Design
The small, black earbuds are mostly unassuming, save a tasteful etching of the V-Moda logo on the cap of the earpieces. That said, the company advertises a 3D-printed earcap option (not included on our review set), which would up the style profile of the headphones.
The ear fins are a dark grey that matches the twirled grey pattern of the reinforced silicon cable — a medium-short length of wire which offers three iOS compatible buttons and an inline mic dangling near the mouth on the right side, and culminates in a gold-plated 3.5mm plug. The lower section of the cable also includes a stylish shirt clip, which the company says should be clipped close to the neckline for optimum mic clarity.
The V-Moda Forza may not be the flashiest in-ears we have ever seen, but what they lack in pizzazz, the more than make up for in simple functionality. Everything is easily swapped for size and comfort, and little accent bits like the cable divider — a cool V-shape instead of the standard-issue round sort — are tastefully designed to match the company’s modern Italian racecar aesthetic.
In terms of outright comfort, the Forza are about as good as it gets when it comes to in-ear cans. V-Moda’s supple rubber fittings make long-term wear extremely pleasant, — we found the Forza to be downright comfy over long listening sessions. These are the sort of earbuds you practically forget you are wearing.
Under the hood are a pair of 5.3mm drivers, tuned for what V-Moda calls “Modern Active Audiophile” performance. And while the Forza may lack some of the shimmering clarity of the company’s higher-end over-ear models, right out of the box we notice the core of our much-beloved V-Moda sound signature is front and center. Bass is chocolaty and warm, highs shine, and mids are just present enough to complete a medium-sized soundstage. Nothing overpowers, clarity is ever-present, and the ‘phones are extremely dynamic, especially for a $100 in-ear.
Whether listening to the bluesy telecaster distortion on Blake Mills’ If I’m Unworthy or the basement-dredging bass of Kaytranada’s Glowed Up, the Forza’s profile remains round, fluffy, and fun to listen to. This is a sound signature which isn’t definitively flat due to punchy bass tuning, but that is somewhat deserving of the company’s self-described “audiophile” tag, if just for its outright musical versatility.
Speaking of versatility, the Forza’s are expressly designed for physical use, and they handle the elements well. Water resistance was tested on multiple occasions on multi-mile runs in the Oregon rain, and the Forza show absolutely no signs of being worse for wear.
Performance during physical activity was slightly hindered by cable noise — as it will be with virtually all sport headphones — but can be aided by adjusting the microphone clip location. Though V-Moda does include two sport ear hooks for less noise, we felt the sport fins were simply more comfortable overall, and preferred those during physical activity and otherwise.
Finally, as a sport headphone, the Forza understandably has a shorter cable. At the risk of sounding greedy, it would have been nice to have an extension handy for use in the office – but at this price, who’s complaining?
V-Moda offer a two-year limited warranty on the Forza, allowing buyers to return the headphones for any factory-related defects. In addition, they will email all purchasers a 50% off code towards a comparable product if the headphones are damaged in any way outside of normal warranty and are sent back to V-Moda – the company calls this its Immortal Life Program. This is especially useful for headphones like the Forza, which will likely see more wear-and-tear than less sport-focused in-ears.
Durable, water-resistant, and perhaps the most comfortable $100 in-ear headphones on the market, the V-Moda Forza are an all-around pleasure. This classy no-frills product doesn’t skimp where it counts: Excellent sound quality remains are the fore.
Those considering a $100-or-less pair of in-ears have plenty of options for different uses. On the upper end of the range we love 1More Triple Drivers for audio quality and the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Special Edition for rugged sport performance with enhanced fitness tracking, with other options like the Shure SE112m+ providing decent sound toward the middle of the price range.
How long will it last?
Given V-Moda’s history of creating solidly-built headphone offerings, as well as their willingness to stand by their products long-term, we have no reason to believe the Forza won’t last buyers for years to come.
Should you buy it?
Yes. At its $100 price point, the V-Moda Forza offers an impressive blend of high-end audio quality, rugged sport performance, and ease of use, making them an extremely cost-effective option for consumers that desire the best of all in-ear worlds at a realistic price.