(Pocket-lint) - Nura's first foray into wireless earbuds really impressed us last year, pairing the incredible personalised audio experience we've come to expect from the brand with a new level of portability and convenience.
Now, the Australian company is launching a Pro version that, on paper, offers many improvements, including aptX Lossless audio. They won't be replacing the NuraTrue, but will instead run alongside them as a more premium option.
Are they worth the potential hassle of a crowdfunded campaign, though? And how do they compare to their non-Pro sibling?
We've been lucky enough to get our hands on an early prototype to put them to the test.
A host of sensible updates make the NuraTrue Pro earbuds an appealing upgrade for current NuraTrue owners, as well as being a futureproof option for newcomers, too.
Nura's sound personalisation tech is as impressive as ever, while the improvements to battery life, charging, build quality and audio options make the NuraTrue Pro a delightful daily audio companion.
We wished the price increase wasn't quite so steep, but early backers of the campaign will be able to snag a serious discount, so long as they are happy to wait a little while to receive them.
Even after some initial testing, then, it's clear the NuraTrue Pro are the most compelling earbuds from the company so far, and easily one of our favourite options for serious audio on the go. Stay tuned for our full verdict.
- Premium feel and amazing sound
- AptX Lossless future-proofing
- Wireless charging and faster wired charging
- Improved battery life
- Better ANC and call quality
- Much more expensive than the standard NuraTrue
- Only available via Kickstarter at launch
- Some quirks with Social Mode
- Plastic build with ceramic details
- IPX4 splash-proof
- 8.6g per earbud
- 4x silicone ear tip sizes; 1x foam tips
- Wireless or USB-C charging
The charging case makes a good first impression; it's very similar to the standard NuraTrue case, but it has a more attractive matte finish and a sturdier, weightier feel. It's about 15g heavier by our measurement, and this weight change is likely mostly down to the addition of wireless charging support. The original NuraTrue case had the Nura logo debossed on the lid, whereas the Pro features inset glossy ceramic lettering. It's a subtle but classy touch.
The earbuds themselves also feature glossy ceramic highlights, both on the logo and as a ring around the edge of each earbud. Elsewhere, we see the same matte plastic in the charging case, and Nura tells us this offers a higher level of scratch resistance than regular plastics.
It's definitely a more attractive and more premium-feeling design than found on the standard version, though we did find that the earbuds were harder to remove from the case, due to the slickness of the ceramic ring.
Elsewhere, things are pretty similar to the original NuraTrue. You get the same ear tip options, including a choice of 'wings' to keep them firmly in place, and a USB-C charging cable included. The NuraTrue Pro are IPX4 rated, too, just like their predecessors, so they'll handle light rain or sweaty runs - just remember to take them out if you're about to dive into a swimming pool.
Features and performance
- Qualcomm aptX Lossless support
- Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint
- Adaptive active noise-cancelling (ANC)
- 8 hours of playback (24 hours more in case)
The biggest change with the NuraTrue Pro is the jump to Bluetooth 5.3, and the support for Qualcomm aptX Lossless as a result. If you're not familiar, we've got a feature that'll give you the full rundown on aptX Lossless, but, essentially, you get CD-quality audio over Bluetooth.
The only catch is that you'll need a device that supports aptX Lossless, and, currently, it seems that's limited to phones with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processors - most of which will be released in the latter half of this year.
So, chances are you won't be able to take advantage of the lossless capabilities right away, but it's excellent in terms of futureproofing, and definitely our first encounter with the new tech. If you're subscribed to a high-res streaming platform, like Tidal, you'll definitely want to keep an eye on this to ensure you're getting the most from your music.
With Bluetooth 5.3 also comes the support for multi-point connections, which is super convenient for anyone who uses more than one device. We were able to seamlessly switch between our Windows PC and Android phone with no fuss - something that is much more of a hassle with the standard version.
Another improvement comes from the addition of 'dynamic primary earbud switching'. This allows you to remove either earbud and continue listening with just one earbud, no matter which one you removed from the case first. Previously, you needed to be careful which earbud you removed first if you were intending to use one on its own. It's a small change, but a great one in real-world use.
The actual size of the battery remains the same, meanwhile, but, due to improved efficiency, the overall life has seen a significant improvement. You now get eight hours of playback, up from six, with an additional 24 hours in the case (up from 18). When you do run out of juice, the wired charging speed has doubled, so you'll be up and running in no time. And, if you'd prefer, you can just chuck the case on a Qi charger and do away with wires entirely.
The noise cancellation has changed quite significantly, too, and, in turn, so has the Social Mode. It now reacts to your surroundings on the fly and adapts when the earbud shifts in your ear. The result is a much better suppression of persistent background noise, like the hum of an engine, and it works very well. As you move about, sometimes you'll hear new sounds a bit louder than you'd expect, but the processing quickly catches up and gently fades the sounds out. It's clever stuff.
The Social Mode does a much better job of amplifying voices on the NuraTrue Pro, including your own voice. This is supposed to sound more natural, but, for us, it took some getting used to. When using the social mode in the office, we found it amplified the keyboard sounds louder than we'd like, but we could definitely hear people that wanted to get our attention much easier, so it's a little hit and miss. In some ways, we prefer the less effective Social Mode on the NuraTrue, but the Pro still gets the job done better than most of the competition.
Rounding out the new features, voice calls have been improved, as well, thanks to the addition of extra microphones - including a bone conduction microphone that helps to better separate your voice from any background noise. It's not an earth-shattering change, but the mic sounds pretty decent, and you'll definitely not be receiving any complaints from those on the other end of the line.
- Personalised sound profile based on your hearing
- Spatial audio processing
- Up to 16 bit 44.1kHz over Bluetooth
The setup process is essentially identical to what we've experienced with previous Nura products, and that's not a bad thing. The app smoothly guides you through creating a custom hearing profile to generate an EQ that's perfect for your ears. The speed of the test has been improved somewhat, but, since you'll typically only need to do it once, it's not a hugely noticeable improvement.
Once set up, the sound is largely similar to the NuraTrue, too, and that's fine with us. The highs sparkle with detail, and, if you crank up the 'immersion slider', the buds can deliver some massive bass - all without muddying the details. It's a gorgeous sound that's quite addictive, and it made us want to go back and listen to all of our favourite tracks to see if we could pick out new details.
Of course, there's the feature that changes the sound, though, and that's aptX Lossless. We got to try it out streaming via Tidal, and, while the difference is subtle, there's an audible improvement that we think will delight serious audiophiles. Could it be the beginning of the end for wired headphones? Time will tell, but the early signs are very impressive.
Instead, Nura's sound processing, engineered by Dirac, tries to replicate the experience of music being played from studio monitors, rather than headphones. In practice, turning on Spatial Audio mode feels like it brings the sound out of your head and into the room around you. It's not wildly different, but it makes the soundstage feel much wider, and we love the way it works. After testing everything else, we rarely turned Spatial Audio off - it might be our favourite addition.
While the NuraTrue Pro earbuds are not wildly different from the standard option, every upgrade is a welcome one. The user experience is better than ever, and the quality of construction is a big step in the right direction. If you're looking for the ultimate in customised audio on the go, the NuraTrue Pro are the earbuds for you.