NuraTrue Pro Review: Premium Audio Earbuds With A Price Tag To Match

  • Superb Sound Quality
  • Great Battery Life
  • Very comfortable
  • Programmable Controls
  • Fantastic connectivity
  • Social Mode isn't great
  • Quite expensive
  • Physically large

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Earbuds are a common object with a wide range of potential users. Some people are happy buying them from a dollar store, suffering through barely-there audio, and inevitably replacing them after a couple of weeks when they stop working. Then you have brand-affiliated stuff. Some people may want audio devices that work seamlessly with their iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel. Beyond that is the "high end." If you break the bank you might end up with some serious hardware.

That high-end is where the NuraTrue Pro earbuds are trying to land. They cost over $300, come packed with features, and promise to do things no other earbuds have done before. Namely, they promise lossless audio over Bluetooth. To make the most of this feature, you'll need to have music that has been stored in a lossless format. As things stand, you won't have to dust off any FLAC files you have stored, as the Nura app will give you a three-month trial of Tidal HiFi Plus. This gets you plenty of "Master Quality" tracks to try out while you settle into your new listening devices. 

If you don't want to risk dropping what is a large amount of money on something without a Beats logo on it, don't worry. I've spent countless hours testing them out for you. Nura provided a review unit of the NuraTrue Pro for this review.

Setup is strange, but it makes a big difference

Setting up the NuraTrue Pro earbuds involved connecting them to my phone via Bluetooth and then downloading the Nura app — which is available on both Android and iOS. The app checked I had the right attachments on the earbuds, and they were fitting properly ... somehow. Then, it took a couple of minutes to install an update. After that, things got a little weird.

The Nura app is there to test your ears and create a unique hearing profile for you based on your needs. I expected this to be a similar process to the testing and customization process for a set of hearing aids I tested a while back. That involved me responding to a set of beeps that the app used to measure how good my hearing was. What the Nura app did was blast some weird tones into my ear with the earbuds which then sort of worked things out on their own. 

I usually only dig into the press materials on these things for specs and answers as I don't want to have my opinion swayed, but this was worth digging into. This whole "personalized sound" thing is one of Nura's big selling points. Basically what happens is: the earbuds bounce some sound off something in your ear then record what happens on a microphone. Then they use that information to optimize the speaker's output. A few of the sounds were irritating, but the result is worth a couple of seconds of squinting in discomfort. If you want to share ear germs with someone else, additional hearing profiles can also be set up.

They're very large

If compactness is a deal breaker, then these may not be the buds for you. It's not Nura's fault, they're cramming a lot of things and a large battery in there from the looks of things. The case is also pretty compact and portable. But the buds themselves are significantly larger than other things on the market, like Air Pods, Galaxy Buds, and the rest.

It's like a weird middle ground between larger headphones and traditional earbuds. People will probably notice you're wearing these. The plus side is, it does seem to plug your ear canal very well. Not much sound will get past the buds, and they could probably double as earplugs if you wanted to get some additional use from them. Despite the overall size, the interchangeable inner ear fittings mean the buds will fit a range of ear sizes. They're also very secure. At no point has one of these earbuds flown out of my ear, even during periods of vigorous activity. Not even a moderate session on a treadmill could dislodge the NuraTrue Pros.

The size element is a fashion choice. If you're comfortable walking around with a larger earbud in, it's not an issue. If it's not your style, you'll have to go for a more low-profile option.

The case itself isn't that bulky

While the earbuds themselves are quite large, the case itself is pretty similar to other earbud cases with charging capabilities. It can fit quite easily into pretty much any pocket, and won't leave something like a phone or a wallet competing for space. Shapes tend to vary with this kind of case, so making a direct comparison is hard. But the 24 hours of extended battery life the case packs, and the fact it contains a pair of pretty large earbuds, don't lead to a massive increase in size. 

In terms of weight, it's hard to tell with an object this small. You could whip the scales out, but you're not going to notice an extra few grams in your pocket anyway. All in all, the NuraTrue Pro's case has lived in the pocket of whatever pants I was wearing over the last week and a bit. It hasn't slowed me down at all.

The earbuds are very comfortable

The larger size has its benefits. These things seem to mostly rest on your ear itself, and don't put a lot of pressure on your eardrum. As a result, they're incredibly comfortable. There's also a soft fitting in there that conforms to the shape of your inner ear and helps make the NuraTrue Pros even more comfortable. There's a larger one in the bag if people with bigger ears want to give these a go.

At the time of writing, I've had these in my ears a lot. I've gone through at least one fully charged case's worth of battery, and I've gone entire writing shifts without subjecting anyone else to my musical tastes. I don't have any of the usual aches or soreness I tend to get with earbuds, nor do I have to pull them out every hour or so to give the whole thing a wiggle. They're not invisible. I can't say, "oh I put these in and forgot I was even wearing them," but they aren't a problem either. The discomfort level is about on par with a set of foam earplugs, which isn't bad at all.

These sound great

This might be the best set of earbuds I've ever jammed into my head. You can pick out every instrument. There are songs I must've listened to a thousand times, and I'm noticing new things in them. These earbuds have given me an entirely new level of appreciation for Bruce Foxton's bass work and the genius of John Bonham's drumming. It's hard to put into words how good these sound. I could throw a bunch of fruity words at it, or bury you in jargon, but that's pointless. In plain English, these are noticeably better than other fairly expensive earbuds I've used during my life, and if you jam them in your audio holes you will most likely come to the same conclusion.

I am incredibly skeptical of the technological wizardry that goes into these. While I accept using some weird sonar-like tech to map out someone's ear canal is possible — my brain has a hard time accepting that these earbuds have done that.

Battery life is solid

The battery life on these things is impressive. There may be situations where you can run the battery out, but that hasn't happened to me yet. The earbuds themselves last eight hours if all you're doing is listening to music, though you might be able to stretch that longer if you turn the ANC off and keep the volume low. A long conversation will undoubtedly hit them harder. The case also provides an extra 24 hours of charge, and will quickly get some juice back into the buds if you put them away when they aren't in use.

This isn't class-leading battery life, some earbuds will go beyond ten hours on a single charge out there. But it is probably more than enough for the average person. All I do is sit at home typing all day and even I pulled them out and put them back in the case when I headed off to make some food or something.

Deeper customization is available for enthusiasts

If you're dropping north of $300 on a set of earbuds, then the chances are that you both know and care about perfect sound quality and how to achieve it. While the NuraTrue Pro does a great job of customizing your profile on its own, and that will be enough for most people's ears, there is a tool available for those who want to take it a step further. ProEQ allows you to adjust several audio bands to fit your exact needs. You can tweak the 400Hz, 1kHz, 2.2kHz, 5kHz, and 10kHz bands so the sound going into your ear is exactly what you want. If you don't know what you're doing, and you mess it all up, you can either reset the sliders or just turn ProEQ off to go back to the computer-generated custom profile you were given during setup.

There's also another setting that can enhance your experience and is a bit less complex. "Immersion Mode" is a simple slider. Go right for more, and left for less. It is designed to boost the bass levels in a way that makes your albums sound closer to a live performance. This isn't something you'll want to do with every album, so the fact that it's easy to toggle or adjust is wonderful.

Can you connect the headphones to other things?

The NuraTrue Pro has multipoint connection capabilities, meaning you can Bluetooth it to more than one device at the same time. While this is an "incredibly nice to have" feature for many sets of earbuds, at the NuraTrue Pro's price point it's sort of expected. Still, it does make life slightly easier — even if there is an argument that multipoint pairing isn't all it's cracked up to be. It also saps a notable amount of juice, and won't work while your earbuds are running in "low power" mode.

To switch your main audio between devices you're paired with, you'll need to put your earbuds into pairing mode by pressing them both at the same time for a few seconds. Once you get audio confirmation that pairing mode is active, select the earbuds on the device you want to use. Multipoint pairing aside, the earbuds find and connect to other devices very quickly. The signal also has an impressive amount of range on it. There were times when I left my phone or laptop in the living room and wandered to the other end of my apartment without any signal interruption. That's more than the standard 30 feet you tend to get from Bluetooth and it includes a couple of walls.

A better way to do things is "Music Takeover Mode" which can be enabled in the settings. If you're paired to more than one device with takeover mode enabled and hit play on that device, the earbuds will automatically switch to it. Nura also claims its earbuds are the first Bluetooth noise-making devices to support lossless audio. As mentioned, they sound great.

They work well for calls

Given that these earbuds will likely spend most of their lives attached to a smartphone, the ability to make calls on them is pretty important. You may be pleased to know that they are great at doing just that. Whether you're using them for a Zoom meeting, phone calls, or skyping someone around the world — you shouldn't be let down by the NuraTrue Pro. According to the people I called during the testing period, my voice was crystal clear through the mic. Equally, I could hear them all perfectly too.

There is a bit of a snag with using this for calls, but it is partially my "fault." As the earbuds essentially block your ears — and block them very well — then it can be difficult to moderate the volume of your voice when speaking with them. I'm a borderline annoyingly loud person at the best of times, and with these things in my ears, it's incredibly hard to have anything resembling a covert conversation. Lesser earbuds, which don't seal as well and have lower-quality audio, don't have this problem.

There are customizable touch controls

You don't have to use an app to control your NuraTrue Pro earbuds. Instead, like many of their competitors, there are several simple touch controls you can use to prompt certain common functions. By default, a tap on the left ear will enable "Social Mode" which drops your music's volume and is supposed to help you hear what's going on around you. A double tap on the left side takes you back to the previous track. A single tap on the right ear will either take a call or pause the media you're playing, while a double tap skips forward one song. By default, both the triple tap and the double tap and hold gestures don't do anything — but they can be programmed just like the rest of the controls.

Even if you don't use touch controls, this is a good thing. You may find yourself knocking on the earbuds often and accidentally activating the single tap command. Personally, every time I removed the left earbud from my ear, I activated "Social Mode." Rather than tap my ear every time I put the bud in to get the full volume and ANC back, I just modified the options so social mode became a double tap while skipping back became a triple tap.

Social mode doesn't really work

There's a feature called "social mode" which drops the volume of your music, presumably kills the ANC, and allows you to hear what's going on around you. Now I can hear something like traffic with this feature enabled, but I have no chance of holding a conversation. I can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying, and I've been told my voice is pretty raised when I'm attempting to reply. Worse yet, I'm pretty sure "Social Mode" works by relaying sounds the earbuds' microphones pick up through its speakers. The bud blocks your entire ear, so this approach makes some sense. Unfortunately, if you're somewhere with powerful air conditioning or some other droning piece of machinery, there's a downside. That drone is picked up and pumped into your ear at a weird and extremely irritating frequency. If you can put up with that sound for more than a couple of minutes, you have a stronger will than I do.

As a result, I simply ended up taking one earbud out whenever I needed to interact with the outside world. This led to me stumbling across the "auto-pause" feature. When you pull an earbud out, your music pauses, so you don't miss anything while you're dealing with your distractions. I didn't like this as I'd rather the tunes just kept going in the background. Luckily, you can change the settings so auto-pause only kicks in when you pull both earbuds out, or just doesn't happen at all. I opted for both earbuds.

If you want a high-end audio experience, these are spot on

These are priced at the high end of things. If you don't stumble across a sale or sale or discount you'll be parting with $329 plus tax for a set of NuraTrue Pro earbuds. This puts them at a far higher price point than Apple's AirPods 2 and their direct competitors from Samsung and Google. It also pushes it beyond other premium earbuds, such as the Beats Pro earbuds. NuraTrue Pro earbuds are currently out of stock on Amazon and Nura's official online store — but they may be back soon.

It's an awful lot of money for a set of earbuds, but you can see where that money went with these. There's the strange moment of wizardry when you first put them on and they're examining your ear canal, then there are the other features. The ANC does wonderful work — and is usually missing or substituted in lesser headphones. The level of comfort and customization is superb, and most importantly, the sound is absolutely spot on. Nobody enjoys parting with cash like audiophiles, and if you can't take your $1,000+ studio headphones with you on the go, these are an amazing stopgap.