Nura Finally Goes Completely Wireless with NuraTrue Headphones – TechCrunch


As i write this, I have no less than five recently reviewed headphones sitting on the desk in front of me. And you know what? They are all pretty good. Some are better than others, of course, which is why they invented device reviews. But when it comes to consumer electronics, the category seemed to mature, and the products became ubiquitous, practically overnight.

Almost all hardware manufacturers have entered the category, some multiple times. You can get a really great pair for over $ 200 and a pretty decent one for under $ 100. There’s a wide range of quality on that spectrum, of course. But features? A few things here and there, but overall, the headphones settled into a kind of smartphone-like homogeneity before them.

Image credits: Brian Heater

Differentiation was definitely a big theme during the release of Nothing’s Ear (1). It has also been a fundamental part of Nura’s DNA from the beginning. But where a company like Nothing sees its headphones as the first piece of a larger ecosystem, Nura is, simply put, a headphone company. And there is a pretty simple reason behind that. Everything Nura does is based on its audio technology, something that has remained that way since before I had a chance to test the original Nuraphones as a prototype with a large, unsightly circuit board attached.

Announced today, NuraTrue marks the company’s third entry into the headphone market, following over-the-ear Nuraphones and connected Nuraloop. The “true” is supposed to refer to the truly wireless design, ditching the behind-the-neck design that gave last year’s Nuraloop its name.

The decision to launch wired headphones seemed odd at the price of $ 199 four years after Apple released the first AirPods (the year Nura was founded). There were some practical technical concerns, and Nura made the most of them with a magnetic connector that allows them to double as wired headphones / monitors (something I appreciated when I was still taking a couple of plane trips a month).

Image credits: Brian Heater

When I raised the question of being totally wireless with Nura co-founder Dragan Petrovic, he replied:

We wanted to launch a fully wireless product only once we were able to guarantee an exceptional user experience and (most importantly) exceptional sound quality. Fully wireless headphones have been around for about 5 years, but only recently has the underlying technology matured to the point where it can do music justice. These enhancements were delivered by wireless chip vendors, which is why many of the fully wireless products released this year are considerably better than what was available before. For NuraTrue, we took the finally mature wireless technology provided by chipmakers and added Nura’s custom sound (or rather, the listener’s) to deliver the best sound quality in the most convenient form factor.

While it’s true that everyone and their uncle have offered their own take on the category, Nura’s entry wasn’t as simple as putting together some ready-made components. The company offers one of the most unique listening experiences, courtesy of onboard technology that transmits sound to the wearer’s ear and reads the faint returning transmissions.
By Nura,

Information about how well you heard the incoming sound is encoded into the returning sound wave. The Nuraphone uses an extremely sensitive microphone to detect this returning sound wave and a self-learning engine built into the Nuraphone to create your profile. No buttons or knobs. Everything happens automatically and in about 60 seconds. It is a bit magical.

Image credits: Brian Heater

The experience is the same on all three devices, which is why we have written about it several times. Essentially, the system creates a kind of custom sonic fingerprint based on the reading it gets and uses it to adjust settings accordingly. It feels like a bit of magic the first time you try it, especially when you switch between default and custom settings.

The original Nuraphones quickly became one of my most recommended headphones, a solid achievement for such a young hardware startup. However, since the original on-ear headphones were released, I’ve been waiting to see what the company could do in a fully wireless form factor. And on most accounts, I’d say the NuraTrue are a hit.

The great sound is largely intact, a solid achievement. There are nuances you’ll hear in these headphones that you’ll all too often miss in comparably priced technology – subtle details that get lost in the mix with less balanced headphones. Of course, it will continue to lose other nuances depending on the source of the music you are listening to. What Nura is capable of is impressive, but not miraculous.

Obviously, you lose something with the smaller size. The great differentiator of the Nurphones is the incorporation of powerful tactile bass, courtesy of the headphones. This experience is achieved to some extent by the immersion slider in the app, which is designed to adjust the level of experience provided by the buds. But again, you can’t replace the cocoon effect of over-ear cups.

Image credits: Brian Heater

But listen, at this point I think we all understand implicitly that different form factors offer different compromises. Otherwise, we would only have one style of headphones. The NuraTrue are quite light; in fact, I was surprised, given its size. Each sprout weighs 7.4 grams. They are also extremely comfortable. As with other Nura products, the earbuds will detect for a tight seal upon initial testing. However, of its three products, the NuraTrue gave me the fewest problems on that front.

As someone who frequently experiences earache due to different buttons, I have had no trouble using them effectively all day. Weight distribution and a design that basically screws into the ear means they fit quite well. I have not had a problem with them falling in the gym or in some short races.

Active noise cancellation is decent. It is not an industry leader by any means, but it gets the job done safely. However, it is a bit annoying that you have to access the application to activate and deactivate it, as well as the immersion function. These things, along with the fundamental importance of sound profiles, means that headphones are tied to your application much more than other headphones. I guess it’s the price you pay for being different.

The battery is rated for six hours on the buttons and 24 with the included case. There’s no ultra-fast charging here – it takes about 2.5 hours for the case’s 500mAh battery to go from zero to full. That’s probably not a problem unless you never remember to charge it up or are planning on doing a couple of long-haul flights. The inclusion of four battery lights on the front of the case is a nice touch.

Image credits: Brian Heater

My biggest complaint here surprises me a bit. Most of the headphones that I have tested recently have not had Bluetooth connectivity issues. Honestly, I thought we were over that. While the NuraTrue doesn’t use the latest version of Bluetooth (5.2), the 5.0 it uses is the same version found on, say, the AirPods Pro (Apple, of course, has the decided advantage of making its own phone, operating system and chips). The connection is fine in the house, but I have experienced falls while walking that I have not had with other recent couples.

It’s more annoying than the end of the world, but it’s worth keeping in mind, and it’s certainly something the company should consider addressing for Gen 2. The built-in mic also left something to be desired, creating distortion when taking calls.

From those, there really isn’t much to complain about. The NuraTrue are well rounded (figuratively and literally), comfortable, and the company’s sound profiling technology is a standout enough feature to set them apart from an army of similar buds. For my own specific needs, I would say that they also make the Nuraloop largely redundant, although Petrovic tells me that the company keeps the product as such. “[s] our product portfolio by offering things that no true wireless product has, most importantly, over 16 hours of battery life and the ability to connect to an analog audio jack. “

Image credits: Brian Heater

Fair enough on those two points. Again, if one headset did everything, variety wouldn’t make much sense. Overall, I think NuraTrue has a much broader appeal to most users. The ability to wire has its appeal, but it’s pretty limited for most of us right now. And 16 hours of built-in battery is great, but most of the time, six on the button and 24 with the case should be enough.

Overall, it’s nice to see a legitimate hardware startup continue to make waves in the consumer space by taking on the big names with differentiated technology. In the early days, I envisioned that Nura would be bought by Samsung or Apple, but I’m glad the company chose to go its own way.


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