Swedish earphone brand SUDIO has been quietly building a following for their collection of sleek headphones over the years – they still manufacture their products in small batches, and each one comes with a serial-numbered ‘guarantee certificate’.
In line with their design-forward models, their latest release is the Nivå which is an in-ear model that’s totally wireless with a choice of 4 colours (white, black, pastel blue, and pastel pink). The Nivå comes with a portable charging case, a charging cable, and four different-sized ear tips. So how does this earbud sound?
Design: The design of the Nivå is pretty simple – two separate buds that have an on/off button each. While the size of each bud is smaller than your thumb, it may feel a bit big for those with smaller ears. The simple design means they’re easy to plug into your ear, and feel quite secure as they’re designed to ‘rest’ on your antitragus (the bottom of your ear).
Like many totally wireless buds out there, it makes it very convenient to walk (or sit) around without getting accidentally pulled out – having said that, you wouldn’t want to go running with them since they do tend to feel a bit heavy and jut out a bit.
While they’re convenient in many ways, like many earbuds of this kind, it does make it a bit inconvenient when you need to talk to someone because you can’t just yank it out of your ear with the cord – and there’s the possibility of accidentally losing just one side if you’re careless.
The sleek carrying case/charging pack looks like a fatter version of a makeup compact – it comes in the same colour as the earbuds – and has a leather strap. On the outside of the case there are four dots indicating the amount of charge available, and when the earbuds are placed inside you can see red dots shine through from the charging buds.
Usage: To turn the buds on, there is a flat button on each bud which you press for 3 seconds – each will come alive with a blinking blue light (red light if it’s low on charge). It automatically connects to your phone or laptop (it verbally tells you that there’s a ‘second device connected’). The Bluetooth range on this is an impressive 10m – unless there are physical obstructions like walls.
The buttons on each bud control the play – press once to play/pause your music, or double-click to skip to the next track. You can press either side of the buds since they are identical, but it does take a bit of getting used to since you’re technically pressing the bud into your ear. Also, if you’re adjusting the buds for a better fit (which is inevitable after wearing it a while), you’ll have to avoid accidentally pressing the buttons. As there is only one button to play with, there is no space to fit in volume control – you’ll have to adjust it on your phone/laptop.
For those of you who use iPhone’s Siri, you activate it with a press-and-hold (which can be tricky because if you press for too long, it turns off after 6 seconds). And yes, the Nivå can take calls, but the audio and microphone is only on the right earpiece (you press the right earbud to take calls). But who takes calls these days?
The buds are designed to have a 3.5-hour playtime when fully charged; to charge, simply drop them into the charging case’s ports (it also automatically turns the buds off). You can also charge them on the go as long as there’s enough charge in the case (it’s capable of holding more than 4 charges). This means you can get 17 hours of playtime on the go. Oddly, you do get one earbud going low on batt faster than the other, but you do get a verbal warning (‘battery low’).
Sound: The Nivå stands out in this department – it’s designed to bring a clear and crisp sound signature thanks to its noise-cancelling capabilities. We’ve used them in an open-plan office with colleagues having a meeting nearby, and they sound miles away (and it’s not due to the volume of the earbuds either).
As each bud is individually powered, it has a high impedance (32 Ohm) which means it can produce better sound fidelity, and really delivers sound that feels like it’s going directly into your head.
If you’re using Spotify, the sounds are much more immersive on smartphones because you can adjust the equalisers to however you like your music. We like more bass, and the Nivå certainly delivers thanks to its 6.2mm dynamic driver which plays well even at higher volumes with clear but deep reverberations.
Summary: The Nivå is a sleek earbud that’s most suited to those who really like their music immersive (and bass heavy), and are only using them for enjoying music during commutes or solo homework sessions (we wouldn’t use them for prolonged sessions).
Get a pair of Sudio Nivå
Sudio Nivå is available via www.sudio.com/sg/ at S$169, with FREE shipping plus 1-year warranty. To get a 15% discount, quote campus2018 in your checkout.
What’s more, you can get a gorgeous set of coasters from Sudio as their limited seasonal offer for September.
Overview of the Nivå: