Neckband headsets are my favourite wearable audio headphones for daily use, because I can wear them the entire day around my neck. I cannot do that with on-ear or over-ear headphones, because they are too thick around my neck and it feels like I am wearing a neck brace. Normal wireless earphones cannot stay around my neck when not in use, as they would gradually slip off. True wireless? I cannot even keep it anywhere near my ears when I needed to use.
Then comes the next challenge of neckband headsets: they have a rigid shape that helps them sit on the shoulders securely but are bulky when storing in bags. Makers try hard to make them look nice, but they still look prominent with the thick band.
V-MODA started as a fashion headphone from Chicago and is a popular brand among the DJs. It is not yet a household name in Singapore, but they have established a name globally as an audio brand with pretty impressive sound quality and customisable add-ons to personalise the products. V-MODA in-ear headphones Forza series recently added a wireless option. The Forza Metallo Wireless supports Qualcomm aptX codec to achieve better audio quality than the common SBC codec.
The neckband construct is less bulky than other brands, storing all the hardware on a housing behind the neck. 2 sets of buttons rest in front for easy access of playback controls. On the right are play-pause button and volume buttons. To change tracks, tap the middle button twice or thrice. On the left is the power button. Tap briefly to power up or shutdown. Press-and-hold to activate Bluetooth pairing, hence there is no need to power down before doing pairing, unlike most other wireless headphones.
As the joints are reinforced with CNC forged aircraft grade metal housing, the unit can be lightly folded inwards for storage and transport in the provided cloth bag.
The earbuds house a 5.8mm micro driver that promises vibrant bass, vivid mids and stress-free highs. My ears generally concur the claims: the bass is firm without sounding too overpowering. The midrange maintains good presence of warmth to avoid excessive bloat, and the highs are bright yet not harsh. Classical genres are delivered with clarity and subtle airiness. Modern genres work out really well too, and if you prefer more bass presence, choose one of the 8 pairs of BLISS 3.0 silicone eartips for a tighter seal. Compared to Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless M2 IEBT, the Forza Metallo sounds less exaggerated, yet still achieves the clarity that makes Classical and Jazz genres sparkle.
Battery life is generous at 10 hours, and standby time (powered on and paired) lasts at least a week. The unit auto powers down if it is not connected to a Bluetooth device. A quick 15-minute charge gets enough juice for 2 hours playback. When wearing it for runs (unit is sweatproof), it does not rock and irritate me. The earbuds are snug enough that I do not need to fit the ear fin stabilizers. Even when doing sit-ups, the Forza does not slip backwards.
I find myself wearing them the entire day at work because with neckband earphones like Forza Metallo Wireless, I can wear just one earbud yet the earphones do not slip off the neck. Best part of all: it has a vibration motor to notify you of incoming calls. The neckband does have the tendency to slip slightly backwards because the main unit is behind the neck where the weight lies, though it is not likely to slip off completely. I would recommend wearing them inside the shirt instead of outside. Alternatively, stuff it underneath the collar like wearing a neck tie.
V-MODA Forza Metallo Wireless retails for S$289, available at good audio electronic stores, at Lazada Singapore, or at the official Singapore distributor’s website, Semitse, with 1-year local warranty. It is one of the slimmest neckband headsets.
- Speaker Driver – 5.8mm neodymium dynamic micro driver
- Frequency Response – 10Hz – 22,000 Hz
- Battery – Up to 10+ hours and full quick charge in less than 1.5 hours
- Bluetooth Range – 10m (33 feet)
- Dual-Pairing – Available with 2 devices at the same time
- Weight – 22.5g