Since Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 in late 2016 wireless headphones have greatly increased in popularity for both iOS and Android users. For many iPhone users, the default choice are Apple Airpods, but the wireless market is now busy, with many options to choose from many brands.
Nura first entered the market with the NuraPhones – over-the-ear headphones with a unique trick – offering a “personalised” sound via a microphone and some magic algorithmic sauce that measures your ears to create a sonic profile that is specific to you. With the NuraTrue, the Australian company is bringing the same technology to the wireless earbuds format. Packing that technology in means that the NuraTrues are not the smallest earbuds around, but even so, they don’t stick out too much from the ears, which is good.
Comfort and Fit
The NuraTrue earbuds come with a selection of four different sizes of silicone ear tips and one pair of foam buds, so you can get the best fit for your ears. You also get two types of wing attachments – one that has a longer bit that will help it fit inside your ear and one without. It’s worth spending time and experimenting which one suits you best and you may need to chop and change for a while until you find what works best for you. It’s worth taking the time to do so and getting a snug fit will pay dividends in terms of sound quality and comfort and mean they won’t fall out. You want to have a solid seal to keep out external noises and get all the benefit of all the bass they can produce. It’s possible to put the wingtips on either earbud and I only realised I’d put them in the wrong way round when I tried to fit them in the case.
I found the foam tips offered the best sound isolation, but the silicon tips were more comfortable, which is important. Overall, I found them to be comfortable to wear for extended periods. They also passed the crucial running test and stayed in place when pounding the streets. The IPX44 rating means they are also sweat resistant.
As these are earbuds you don’t charge each bud directly – you place them inside a small charging case, which charges over USB-C (a short cable is provided). The earbuds themselves offer up to six hours of battery life and the case itself will provide an additional 18 hours – so a total of 24 hours. Therefore, as long as you’re careful to place them back in the case and keep the case battery topped up, you’re unlikely to ever run out of juice.
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The NuraTrue buds feature active noise cancellation technology which does a decent job cutting out outside noise. It’s not a strong as some headphones – the NuraPhones are an immediate comparison, but they are effective enough for blocking out chatter in the house while working and street noise when running (do look where you’re going!). If you do need to hear others there is a “social mode” so with a tap on the buds you can hear someone talking to you.
How the touch-sensitive sides behave can be set in the app – and a software update arrived recently adding more options into the mix, so you can choose to turn the “immersion” mode on or off (essentially a bass boost), or to activate your voice assistant, answer and end calls, or even alter volume. For example, you can set it so audio will pause with a tap. I found there was a small but noticeable delay which you have to get used to, otherwise, you’ll press it again so the music will stop, and then start again so you’ll find yourself mashing at your ear. It does work though – patience is a virtue. Equally, you can choose to just take a bud out of your ear and that will pause and it will automatically resume when you pop it back in again.
In a nice touch, when you put them on the earphones, a female voice greets you with a “Welcome back [insert your name here]. NuraTrue connected” – which is good because you then know they’re working and connected.
When you first place earbuds in and install the app on your phone the NuraTrue earbuds run a series of tones to measure how your ears respond. I know that having advanced in years somewhat my ability to hear higher frequencies has sadly diminished, so it’s good to know that there are headphones out there that will effectively compensate for this.
You can easily compare the sound with and without the profile activated in the app and there’s no doubt they sound a lot better with it activated. Indeed, there seems little point in using Nura headphones unless you have the profile activated.
Once I got a good seal by using the correct sized ear tip or foam I found the NuraTrue to produce very impressive sound quality. Sure, swapping over to larger over-the-ear headphones such as the NuraPhones showed the limitations of a bud, but the NuraTrues did a great job at presenting a balanced soundstage with good bass and plenty of detail. I had to reign in the “Immersion mode” to ensure bass didn’t swamp the soundstage but with care, the NuraTrue offered a good overall balance of sound and I was able to pick out parts of instruments and even picked out some details that I’d not noticed before. They’re an enjoyable listen whether it’s the futuristic sound of the Weekend the rock of Van Halen or for just listening to podcasts, the Nurabuds gave a deliciously detailed 3D sound that belied their size.
Should you buy them?
With an RRP of $199/£199/AU$299, the NuraTrue are a relatively expensive option. However, they still undercut the Apple Airpod Pros that also offer gesture control and active noise cancellation. Thanks to their personalised sound feature, they do sound excellent, and if you are looking for an alternative to the Airpod’s or have an Android phone, it’s easy to recommend the NuraTrue earbuds. And if you can pick them up for a discount, such as the £160 they on offer for at the time of writing, then frankly they’re a steal.