Price: $329 / £299 / AU$499
Battery life (rated): 8 hours (ANC on); 32 hours (charging case with ANC on)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 (codec support: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, aptX Lossless)
Water resistance: Yes (IPX4 rated)
Size: 1 x 1 x 1 inches (per bud); 2.8 x 1.2 x 1.4 inches (charging case)
Weight: 0.3 ounces (per bud); 1.8 ounces (charging case)
Until this review I was new to the Nura brand, and I am grateful to have had the time to get acquainted with the Australian company's flagship active noise-canceling earbuds release: the NuraTrue Pro. These earbuds launched earlier this year following a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The company has adopted the crowdfunding approach on its headphone launches before, mainly as a tool to manage pre-orders, and I got an early opportunity to hear a pre production model ahead of the Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. I have since received a full production version to enable me to complete this full review.
The NuraTrue Pro offer the same personalized sound tuning that's appeared on its previous products, including the NuraPhone, NuraLoop, and NuraTrue. Although we've been impressed by Nura's personized sound capabilities in the past, and could make even our top-ranking best wireless earbuds break out in a sweat, we have experienced some connectivity issues with early models.
Robust Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity is among the roll call of top features on the new 'pro' model though, and the NuraTrue Pro wireless earbuds are among the first to take advantage of next-level multipoint connections support, and Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless audio codec is also supported.
Want to know how these new features stack up in day-to-day use and how the new NuraTrue Pro flagship sounded in my ears? Scroll down to read our full NuraTrue Pro review below.
NuraTrue Pro review: Price and availability
At $130 more than the NuraTrue earbuds, which are also an active noise cancelation model, the increased price of the NuraTrue Pro sets the new flagship out as one of the more expensive sets of earbuds in the sector, and an intriguing price point for Nura to aim for.
The NuraTrue Pro are more expensive than the Apple AirPods Pro 2 at $249 (the most popular 'pro' model we know), as well as the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at $229, and even higher than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 (a top-ranking model in our best noise-canceling earbuds buying guide).
So, the NuraTrue Pro have their work cut out to rival the top ANC performers at the price.
NuraTrue Pro review: Design and comfort
- Similar water resistance to AirPods Pro 2
- Slightly bulky but secure fit with good comfort levels
- Good selection of eartips
The NuraTrue Pro look remarkably similar to the Nura True, but come with an improved feature set that includes wireless and fast charging, adaptive noise canceling, call quality improvements, and spatial audio support. The flagship feature though and what really sets them apart from the crowd is Bluetooth Lossless audio support, making the NuraTrue Pro the first to deliver CD-quality lossless audio.
The earbud's large (26mm) circular discs look more like some kind of fashion accessory compared to the majority of earbud designs, with the more familiar architecture for buds hidden on the underside. They're finished in a matte black with a black ceramic brand accent at the center and a matching glossy outer ring providing attractive detailing. The quality of finish is impeccable and the earbuds look remarkably handsome, even if the large disc-shaped design does appear to make them look a little too large to fit my ears.
The disc's larger surface facilitates touch controls though. The greater surface area also works to give them a playback control advantage, but more on this later.
Water resistance is rated to IPX4 for the earbuds, which is as good as the AirPods Pro 2 and means they'll shrug off sweat and rain showers without a problem.
The charging case is identical to the version supplied with the NuraTrue, and feels nicely light but reassuringly robust. The case's matte black finish is a little prone to scuff marks, but provides adequate protections for the buds securely nestled inside. There's a USB-C port on the back of the case to keep it topped up with battery charge, and there's an array of the three lights on the front of the case shows charge status.
The NuraTrue Pro earbuds are designed to be inserted into the ear canal, while the wide outer portion covers a fair amount of your outer ear. The larger surface area of the disc outer makes the Nuras feel a bit bulky compared to rivals and more fiddly when it comes to getting the earbuds to fit, but the twist action ensures they lock into position for a secure fit — a pair pair of wings tips come supplied for additional fit security should you feel the need. Even with the wing tips fitted, the 'buds can still be accommodated by the charging case thanks to grooves in each charging cradle.
There are four pairs of silicone eartips supplied, plus a pair of foam tips are provided to help you get the best seal for your ears.
NuraTrue Pro review: Controls and digital assistant
- Responsive controls
- Effective wear detection
- Next-level personalized sound
Nura has boosted the control scheme on the Pro compared to what we found on the the NuraTrue, but still manages to keep things simple. Each earbud offers single, double, and triple-tap commands, which can quickly be assigned to a list of control functions. Default options include play/pause, answering and hanging up calls, toggling social and immersion modes, skipping tracks and activating your voice assistant, but these can easily be reconfigured to your personal tap control choices, and there's even a double-tap and hold input.
Wear detection is on board and works effectively. Removing one earbud will initiate auto-pause, and placing it back in your ear resumes playback immediately. It's a very handy feature, and particularly useful for impromptu conversations with fellow passengers on routine work commutes where I instinctively remove one earbud to hear what's being said rather than tap to pause playback. You can change the level of wear detection in the settings menu to only auto-pause playback when both earbuds are removed, or turn the auto-pause behavior off entirely.
There's no mention of digital assistant in the specs as far as I can see, but Siri fired up without hesitation when I spoke the wake words, and was impressively responsive to my commands.
As with the NuraTrue, Nura's personalization is on board to assess earbud fit for individuals as well as assess hearing capabilities to personalize the sound output specifically to your ears through a short listening test analysis. It's something of a theatrical process, but the benefits make the process entirely worthwhile once you hear how they sound. Additionally, the Pro adds a five-band EQ to further tailor the sound output should you want to tweak the settings beyond Nura's personalized sound tuning.
NuraTrue Pro review: Sound quality
- Dynamic and energetic sound
- Lossless audio support
- Customizable EQ
I've spent a good amount of time getting to get to grips with the NuraTrue Pro, and in terms of out-and-out levels of engagement these are the best-sounding earbuds I've heard this year. It's important to point out though, that of course the audio output has been tuned specifically to my ears via Nura's mightily effective personalization process, so you'd expect them to sound 'right' to me. Even so, the personalized setup really surprised me, and was a lot more powerful and effective than I imagined. By comparison, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 continually adapt to optimize their sound output to individual ears, but they don't manage to hit the levels of balance and engagement that Nura's personalized sound managed to achieve in my ears.
Once the tuning process was completed, switching between Nura's "Neutral" and "Personalised" presets feels a bit misleading. The Neutral preset doesn't feel like the best starting point for these earbuds, and seems to have a deliberately mediocre sound balance with all the energy knocked out it to more effectively highlight the enhancements offered when users switch to the Personalised setting. That might sound like I'm overthinking it, but I can't imagine anyone listening to these earbuds in Neutral mode, and judged on this preset alone the NuraTrue Pro wouldn't be rated nearly as highly.
The difference Personalised sound brings to the presence of vocals is tremendous. From "Sunshine on Leith" by the Proclaimers to Wham's "Club Tropicana", the presence given to all kinds of vocal performances is spellbinding. The Personalized preset lifts any vocal free of the mix to give it its own acoustical space. It feels almost three dimensional, and made me feel like I'd just taken a front row seat at an intimate performance.
These earbuds got me close to the kind of sound I expect to hear from a pair of standalone speakers, and make the kind of musical connection that I'd usually associate with a home hi-fi setup. This was almost like having a pair of hi-fi speakers inserted into my ears.
The Spatial Audio setting isn't to be confused with the setting found on Apple's AirPods. The naming is perhaps a bit misleading, as it doesn't allow you to make full use of Dolby Atmos content and there's no head tracking. The Nura version simply brings a more 'spatial' dimension to the soundstage. Personally, I preferred Spatial Audio mode switched off for a more solid sense of stereo soundstage, but the options there should you want to try it.
NuraTrue Pro review: aptX Lossless Audio performance
- Confirmation that aptX Lossless is selected is unclear
- Subtle improvement in sound quality
The headline feature is compatibility with Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless Audio codec. The new codec promises to stream 16-bit/44.1kHz, CD-quality audio over Bluetooth at data rates of up to 1,200kbps — for a perspective on how significant this is aptX Adaptive offers a maximum bitrate of 420kbps, aptX HD 576kbps, while Sony's LDAC offers a maximum streaming bitrate of 990kbps.
I've spent a good amount of time getting to know the NuraTrue Pro earbuds connected my iPhone 12 Pro via standard AAC over Bluetooth, so I was pretty confident that I'd be able to hear the benefits the new aptX Lossless Audio codec would bring.
Nura was kind enough to send over a Asus Zenfone 9 mobile phone to try out with its Pro earbuds and demo aptX Lossless Audio sound myself with one of the first mobile playback devices to support the new codec. My listening focused mainly on the audio tracks that Nura had preloaded on to the Asus phone it sent over, plus some of my own tracks for reference. Most of these were Tidal music streams and Nura's lossless audio demo playlist contained mainly high-resolution tracks showcasing a wide range of music taste and styles, although I streamed some additional CD-quality tracks too.
For me, any quality improvements majored on a bit more detail to both the lower and upper frequency ranges, but that's pretty much it. There was a little more solidity and image focus on tracks such as Rag'n'Bone Man's "Human" — the jangly chains and hand claps sounded more natural and less abrasive too. I felt there was a bit more space around Chris Martin's Vocal while listening to Coldplay's "Rush of Blood to the Head" album, and vocals generally appeared to have more space and 'air' around them, but the upgrade wasn't quite the night and day sound contrast I had anticipated.
NuraTrue Pro review: Active noise cancellation
- Mediocre ANC and transparency mode
- Good wind resistance
Noise cancelation isn't among the strongest I've experienced, but it does shush the hubbub of fellow commuters effectively enough, but won't drown them out completely. Although there's only one level of ANC setting available, the NuraTrue Pro seemed entirely unaffected by windy conditions while I stood on a train platform.
I was surprised to discover that the sound balance altered when I deactivated ANC, which seemed to drain all the bass energy from the performance. Thankfully, the balance sounds entirely right with ANC enabled, and I can't see a reason to deactivate the ANC settings.
Nura calls its Transparency mode Social Mode. It's a bit fuzzier than other Transparency modes I've experienced, and seems to simultaneously drop the audio level as well as opening up the microphones to allow you to listen into your surroundings more clearly.
NuraTrue Pro review: Special features and app
- Effective personalized sound
- Five-band EQ
Nura's app looks pretty much the same as we saw on the NuraTrue. After connecting the buds via Bluetooth, the app navigates users through the personalization process, which takes a couple of minutes of listening to different sound options to decide what sounds right to you.
Once the sound setup is tuned to your ears, you can adjust whether you're listening to your Personalised sound mode or the Neutral profile. A slider at the bottom allows you to adjust the amount of "immersion", and mainly seems to control the amount of low frequency bass.
Despite the fact that the buds have been tuned to individual ears, the sound can be further tailored manually via a five-band EQ. It's a welcome and useful addition that has only appeared on the app since the introduction of the NuraTrue Pro model.
NuraTrue Pro review: Battery life and charging case
- Better than AirPods battery life
- Wireless charging
Nura claims that you can get 8 hours of playback from the NuraTrue Pro earbuds, with a total of 32 hours when you factor in the charging case. These figures are with ANC enabled, and seemed entirely accurate over the course of my testing. A low power mode can be selected in the settings menu, but there's no indication of what affect this has on battery life. Charging is via a USB-C cable (supplied), and can be wireless charged too. It takes around 1 hour to fully charge the case.
NuraTrue Pro review: Call quality and connectivity
- Effective on voice calls
- Stable wireless performance
- Multipoint connectivity
The NuraTrue Pro use Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, which was impressively robust throughout the review process and connected to multiple playback devices without any issues. Range was decent and extended beyond 10 feet, and even beyond some room boundaries around my home. If I moved to a different floor level though, playback began to break up.
I'm not one for lengthy voice conversations via mobile, but from the short calls I experienced with the NuraTrue Pro, voice quality seemed to be up to scratch and callers at the other end of the line commented that the clarity was satisfactory.
NuraTrue Pro review: Verdict
I confess that I'm finding it a bit more of a challenge than usual to sum up the NuraTrue Pro earbuds. On the one hand these have the best feature set of any pair of earbuds right now — think multipoint connectivity and support for Bluetooth Lossless audio from compatible devices — with the most totally immersive listening experience I've heard this year.
On the other, if you're not into the Lossless audio codec capabilities and just a want great-sounding pair of ANC earbuds, there are plenty of alternative options to consider that cost considerably less. For me, it's the Personalized sound that's the real clincher here and what makes the Nura buds so attractive, but then I could find the same level of personalization in the entirely more affordable NuraTrue.
As a quality audio fan, I can see the argument for opting for the Nura flagship in the hope that the lossless audio benefits reveal themselves to be more worthwhile as more playback devices gain support. Ultimately though, although I really do think these are one of the best-sounding pairs of earbuds I've heard this year, their cost does make them feel like an overpriced audiophile option, and for that reason alone I can't award them five stars overall.
More: Still not convinced? Find out why I rated these my favorite earbuds of the year.