True wireless earphones have been around in the tech world for quite a few years now. Touted as a functional solution to woes that come with corded earphones (read: nasty entanglements with a stranger’s bag in a peak hour metro cabin or foul-smelling post-workout wires), these earphones eliminate any tethers between both buds, allowing for greater flexibility and versatile movement without compromising (too much) on sound quality. Joining the ranks of this expanding group is the Sudio Nivå, which I managed to get my hands on.
First impressions of the Sudio Nivå
Instantly recognisable by its extremely clean-cut exterior, the outer packaging sported nothing but a Sudio logo, some detail just below it, and a picture of the product itself. No frills, no flamboyant colour palettes – highly consistent with the Swedish company’s penchant for minimalist design. It was a pleasant sight to behold for first impressions.
I had the earphones that came in black, with a black case that had a brown waxed lace attached to it; a nice touch of colour that nicely balanced its all-black exterior. A micro-USB port for charging could be found at the back. Both channels had also the Sudio logo printed on it, as well as some space grey power on buttons. Along with the earphones came various sizes of bud tips, a micro USB charging cable (for the case) as well as a user manual – the usual package.
At its price point, Sudio has done a decent job in terms of providing a well-rounded listening experience. What stood out most to me was its capability in delivering clear and defined mid and high ranges.
This allowed hauntingly bare vocals like those of Florence Welch and Alanis Morrisette to truly shine through. If you also happen to be into classical music, this pair of earphones would definitely be a pretty good fit. Bass, however, was not particularly impressive, as some distortion could even be noticed when it came to extra bassy tracks.
The soundstage was surprisingly good, proving itself with iconic tracks like ABBA’s Take A Chance On Me or Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days Are Over. Barring such limitations, these earphones do really fare well overall as an everyday listening device.
Resembling a hockey puck, the case was lightweight and fit well in my rather small hands. Its sturdy grip also provided assurance from slipping. Furthermore, the brown wax lace allowed me to hook it around my finger for added protection – an important lifesaver for klutzy ladies like myself. The charging case, however, felt rather brittle, and upon tapping did not sound thick nor hardy. It has however held up fine over the past few weeks, despite initial concerns over its durability and possible breakage.
Usage was fairly foolproof, with sensitive controls for both music and phone. A simple one press for pause and play, and a double press to switch to another track. Similarly, for calls, a single press sufficed for answering and rejecting. A 2-second press promptly switches you back to your phone should you prefer that option.
Voice pick-up was impressive, where a trial phone call to my grandmother (who happens to be hard of hearing) came without any issues as she heard and responded promptly over the phone. Call audio was also consistent for both right and left channels, overall a seamless experience.
The charging ports look identical, unlike similar models in the market that are made for one to visually distinguish left from right. There are however 2 ways to distinguish so: either by visually checking out the L or R engraved at the back, or by attempting to place any bud back into the case. Magnetic forces help to guide the correct bud into its respective port, meaning that placing a right bud into the left port (or vice-versa) will trigger a repelling feel strong enough to tell you-you’re doing it wrong. I found this function extremely useful, especially when keeping my earphones on the go or in the dark.
Battery life was at an underwhelming 3.5 hours per charge but was sufficient for listening during the day to day commute. The case holds up to 4 charges so I only had to charge it once every 4-5 days. Upon insertion back into the case, the earphones are automatically switched off and red static lights would appear to indicate device charging.
SUITABLE FOR EVERYDAY LISTENING
The Sudio Nivå is undoubtedly an elegant companion fit for many occasions. Its sleek and remarkably compact construction wins it considerable praise. These earphones provide a form factor sufficiently close to that of higher tier models – a cost-effective option for those who are looking for a true wireless headset at a more reasonable price point. Notwithstanding the forgivable limitations that come with this pair, the Sudio Nivå definitely holds up well as an everyday wireless solution. With both black and white options available, the Sudio Nivå retails at SGD169 and can be found on the Sudio Singapore website.