I have been impressed with Sudio’s range of earphones and headphones in the past, so when the firm got in touch to say they had some true wireless earphones about to hit the market – I was excited to hear how the Sudio Nivå earphones compared.
I’ve mentioned before how important good quality earphones are for me when running a popular new music blog or even just getting through my dozens of podcast subscriptions, and so I have given these earphones a thorough test over the last couple of weeks by using them as my day-to-day earphones.
Look and feel
True to form, the Nivas have a minimal look to them, with the earbuds made out of good quality matte black (or white) plastic with a selection of three different-sized rubber tips to get a comfortable fit in your ears. The earbuds are slightly larger than your standard earphones, but they are light enough you can almost forget you’re wearing them, and importantly here come without a connecting cable – they are true wireless earphones that compete with Apple’s Airpods.
Each earbud has a single circular button on the outside, which are the only way for you to interact with the earphones from pairing them, to switching them on, to pausing the audio – there are no fast-forward or rewind buttons on these, but that’s a good thing as the idea with true wireless earphones is that they are as minimal as possible.
There is also no way to charge the earphones directly – to avoid the need for an ugly charging port on each earbud, charging is done with the earphones in their “charging case”. This box works very much like the carrying case for Apple’s Airpods in that you charge it (via MicroUSB) and it holds four charges for the earphones without the need to reconnect the box to a charger. This allows for a much smaller battery to be included within each earphone, keeping the size and weight down and making them much more comfortable to wear. The downside, however, is that Sudio’s charging case is a bit too big to comfortably fit in your jeans pocket – it will fit, but looks a bit bulky measuring 75x75x25mm.
Sudio always makes their earphones easy to setup and pair with your smartphone, and the Nivas are no different – there are just three steps:
- Turn off the Bluetooth on the smartphone
- Press and hold the button on each earphone at the same time until the red and blue lights are blinking (around five seconds)
- Switch on Bluetooth on the smartphone and select “Sudio Niva” and connect
As I have come to expect from Sudio’s line of headphones, the audio quality from the Niva’s 6.2mm dynamic drivers is excellent. The sound reproduction is accurate, well balanced, and sounds great whether you are listening to a podcast or Strange Boy’s latest orchestral electronica.
In terms of a comparison, I would put the sound of these on a par with the Klipsch R6 or Sennheiser CX 5.00 (or older CX 500) models, both of which I have admired over the years for their commitment to sonic quality at a reasonable price. I preferred the sound on them to Apple’s Airpods, but I have never got on well with the hard plastic shape of Apple’s Earpod earphones, so it’s not a completely fair comparison.
I used the Nivas as my go-to pair of earphones for over a month, and was generally very impressed by how they performed. After setup, reconnecting them with my smartphone was always near instant, and the larger of the three tip options gave me a comfortable fit and provided decent sound isolation. The earphones are light enough that you barely notice them in your ears, and the sound quality is great as noted above. Moreover, I found Sudio’s estimates of 3.5h of use between charges and 10m Bluetooth range to be about accurate, and there was minimal audio delay when playing videos, an issue that can affect some true wireless options – I really was very impressed with the earphones overall.
However, I was less keen on the charging case – it is too bulky to comfortably carry around with you all day in your pocket, so whilst 3.5h is plenty of use time for a gym trip or for a trip to/from work on the Tube, if you are travelling for longer you will need to take the case with you. If you are carrying a handbag or a laptop carrying case then it is easy to just pop the case in there and forget about it, but if you are heading out for the day with only your pockets for space, then you really don’t want to have the case in your pocket the whole time. In fact, when I was wondering around town for the day without a bag, I chose to leave the carrying case at home and just rely on not needing my earphone for more than 3-4 hours – the gamble worked out for me, but it is a shame that the case is not a bit smaller (the Airpods case is about half the size) to get around this issue. I would also have liked a clasp on the case, so when leaving it in my bag I could be sure it wouldn’t fall open (it never did in practise, but it’s a concern) – hopefully on the Niva 2.0s.
The Sudio Niva earphones offer great sound reproduction and a true wireless form factor for an affordable price (£89 at the time of review), and combined with their light weight and ease of use I am happy to recommend them. It is just a shame they were let down a little by the size and form of the battery carrying case, something which I hope Sudio will address in a future version.
- Play time: 3.5h per charge
- Portable case: Holds +4 charges
- Earphones battery: 55mAh
- Case battery: 500 mAh
- Bluetooth version: 4.2
- Range: 10m
- Siri function
- Dynamic driver:
- Type: 6.2 mm dynamic speaker
- Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm @ 1kHz
- Frequency Response: 18 Hz – 22 kHz
Price at time of review: £89
We managed convince Sudio to offer our readers a 15% discount on the Sudio Niva true wireless earphones with the discount code “techfruit”