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June 29, 2018

Nuheara IQbuds Dynamic True Wireless Earbuds Review

by John_A


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Headphones are generally simple devices, with the purpose of intimately pumping tunes into our ears. In recent years, we’ve seen several updates to the traditional formula, such as wire-cut solutions and active noise-cancellation, but the general idea remains.

However, if you’ve taken a deeper look, a couple cool developments have also risen to make the headphone more than what is dictated by its musical roots. The Nuheara IQbuds are one of these innovative selected few.

They aren’t just truly wireless earbuds for convenient music listening on-the-go, but also pack intelligent noise adjustment, from canceling noise to amplifying ambient speech. We’ll cover the benefits of this neat system in our review.

Design

On the surface, the Nuheara IQbuds aren’t a big deviation from the slew of true wireless earbuds we’ve seen emerge as of late. That is, an entirely plastic construction and basic, pod-like shape. Nuheara has adopted a lot of what works for this type of headphone, such as a compact and ergonomic design. The earpieces have maybe a bit more girth than average, but this is expected from the extra technology packed in.

You’ll also see the common series of electrical plates on their undersides. These match up with corresponding pins within carrying case for effortless charging. A note is that unlike many of the type, the silos for the buds don’t have a latching mechanism (i.e. magnetic or clip). You get a lack of finesse sense, as the buds easily wobble when seated. However, the tolerance is tight enough that the contact points reliably match up, and closing the lid locks the buds in place.

In typical fashion, the case has its own battery pack, able to charge the IQbuds 4x over (at about 5 hours of playback at a time, that’s 20 hours from a full case). This is great, but if you care about slimness, the case may be a bit thick for your taste. It’s definitely pocket-able, but you’ll have a clear bulge (may be especially concerning for skinny jean wearers).

Nuheara didn’t go easy on the case’s LED indicators. There are six sizable lights in total (which switch between red and green), and it can look like a light show when they’re all lit up.

It’s not complicated; there are three indications shown. The two red interior lights are dedicated to the status of their corresponding earpieces (red for charging and green for fully charged). The four at the front display whether the case is open or not. They’re mainly used to show battery level of the case (they light up green from left to right per 25% of battery capacity). However, every time you place the buds in and close the lid, you’ll see a left and right flash of red (the buds are charging) or green (the buds are already fully charged).

Primary 4-step battery level indication of the case. There’s a small button that will toggle the lights.

You’ll see these two lights flash when you close the case, to show that the earpieces are properly inserted and charging.

Also included in the box is a very generous selection of ear tips. There are no foam tips, but four different sizes of either round or oval silicone tips. We had no problem getting a secure and fully-sealing tip.

Function

The IQbuds are top-notch when it comes to fit. The contour of the earpieces match up with the ear opening immaculately, and the angled and appropriately long nozzle (coupled with the various tip sizes) makes for an effortless insertion. You should even be able to work out with them; they stay in place as good as any true wireless earbud that we’ve tried.

Packaging contents. Charging the case is done through a microUSB port on the back.

Regarding water resistance, Nuheara claims that they’re waterproof but didn’t formally certify them with an IP ingress rating. The company says that the internal components are coated with nano-proof water protection tech that is plentiful, so take that as you will.

The interface of the IQbuds is touch. Both earbuds have a touch panel on their outside surfaces. We’re a little wary of touch controls on true wireless earbuds due to past failed attempts, but it works pretty reliably on the IQbuds. Nuheara limits the number of functions (only within a single tap, double tap, or long tap), so there’s only a slight learning curve.

The outer, flat surface is the touch pad.

The earpiece contour and angle of the nozzle make for a great fit.

The left bud just handles play/pause or answering/ending phone calls, while the right bud turns off or switches among the dynamic sound features. Double tapping on either bud toggles the phone’s virtual assistant. One other control is a longer-press, which puts the buds into Pairing mode.

App tutorial shows how the system works

How to don the earpieces

The available functions. Note that there’s no volume or track controls. There’s no power switch either; the buds turn off when you place them in the case.

To unlock the capabilities of the IQbuds, you must install the company’s app. Within it, you’ll be able to select between presets to suit your current environment. Nuheara has options for settings we are often in, like the office, traveling, outdoor, etc. These specifically tune the earbuds transmission to be most beneficial in these situations.

For instance, if you’re outdoors, you may want to still be able to hear cars approaching. A typical sound isolation system won’t pick and choose what to isolate (hence, the “intelligence” notion behind the IQbuds), and could potentially make for a dangerous situation if you’re walking about outdoors. You can adjust the audio as you desire (complete silence or more/less ambient noise).

Nuheara’s available presets that tunes sound for common situations.

You can easily choose how much of the world to include or tune out of your audio.

Furthermore, you can isolate just speech to come through if you want.

A big advantage of this system is that you can go about your day without having to take the earbuds out. Typically, you have to take your headphones

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