Sudio Nivå true wireless earphones review. How does the Swedish manufacturer’s first true wireless product fare in terms of design and sound quality?
Having enjoyed the design and sound signature of the Sudio Regent, I was greatly looking forward to reviewing the Swedish manufacturer’s first true wireless earphones. True wireless, as in there are just earbuds with no connecting wires in between.
As old fashion as I sometimes insist on being, I’ve concluded I’ve put up with wire salads and tangled cables for too long. Why not take advantage of technological minimalism when it’s available, yes? Especially when it’s also meant to look good? With that in mind, I eagerly tested the black Sudio Nivå for a week, pairing my sponsored set with all my gadgets and toys. How do I feel about the design and sound quality? Read on to find out!
Sudio Nivå Technical Specs
- Play time: 3.5h per charge
- Portable case: Holds +4 charges
- Earphones battery: 55mAh
- Case battery: 500 mAh
- Bluetooth version: 4.2
- Range: 10 m
- Driver: Dynamic
- Siri function
- Type: 6,2 mm dynamic speaker
- Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm @ 1kHz
- Frequency Response: 18 Hz – 22 kHz
Unboxing and Contents
Stylish minimalism is a key attraction of Sudio’s products. A design direction one is immediately reminded of when examining the packaging of the Nivå. Lightweight with a silky matt finish, the box conveys all key details at a glance. Within, contents are also snuggly packaged, with an obvious emphasis on the portable charging case, that being a key feature of the Nivå. (More on this later)
Some reviews by other bloggers have highlighted the lack of a pouch for the charging case. I agree this would have been a nice touch. But unless one is that rough a user, or carrying the charging case with half-a-ton of other stuff, I don’t see an absent pouch being a big issue.
As for the actual contents, there’s the charging case with the earbuds held within them. There’s also a USB charging cable, two sets of alternate silicon tips, a guarantee certificate, an instructions manual in many languages, and an addendum containing important usage information.
I’d be honest here. I requested for the black Sudio Nivå for I felt I currently have too many white gadgets. After checking out the white version online, though, I felt I should have stuck to white. I mean, take a look here. Isn’t that dash of gold in the middle such an exquisite touch?
That said, there’s nothing very wrong with the black version too. Overall, it still looks much better than any of the wired earbuds I’m using. The glossy bevelled edge of the front side also adds a certain classiness, although this is probably only noticeable by someone within kissing distance of me. In short, clean simplicity is the key visual feature of the Sudio Nivå. Once everything is properly paired and set up (see below), that simplicity includes straightforward ease of use too.
Special mention must be given to the charging case, which plays the role of a USB chargeable power bank for the Sudio Nivå.
Firstly, it’s light. Half as light with the earbuds removed. It also holds four full charges, which eliminates the need for daily recharging. I believe this feature is invaluable given the number of toys we need to juice up daily, especially when traveling.
To assist with easy return to the charging case, the slots are also magnetised. (It’s the pins, I believe). Once in position, the earbuds power off by themselves with the charge meter switching on. The whole process is very streamlined, if you ask me, not too unlike the design direction of the entire product. This would probably be very beneficial to busy or easily distracted users too. The risk of running out of power is minimalised.
On the flipside, the plastic charging case does feel a little, what’s the word, delicate? I doubt it would weather scratches, drops, or hard pressure very well. For myself, I need to ensure I do not carry it together with pens, in between hardcover books, with metallic objects, and so on.
How Safely Does the Sudio Nivå Fit?
My header sounds awkward, doesn’t it?
But if you’re new to wireless earbuds, like me, I suspect you’d have the same concern, this being how securely the earbuds fit in one’s ears. With no wires connecting them to an audio player, you can guess what happens if they pop out without you noticing.
The Verdict: They fit wonderfully well. The trick is as shown in the picture above, which it to tilt and rest the buds on the concha. By the way, it’s pretty comfortable too, provided you fitted the earbuds with the right silicon tips. In my opinion, the overall feel is even superior to conventional wired earbuds. I wore the buds for over an hour without feeling any strain.
Powering On, Off, and Pairing
I have a confession.
I have a certain trepidation towards electronic gadgets with minimal buttons and lights. While that seems to promise ease of use, what happens when something goes wrong?
There are no lights to tell me what’s wrong! Argg, what am I supposed to do next???!
To be honest, there’s a little bit of this with the Sudio Nivå, especially if one doesn’t read the instructions. The voice prompts issued by the earbuds do not help, given the buttons are not touch-sensitive. Most people, during first use, are unlikely to have the buds in the ears too. Instead, they would be holding them as I did in the picture below. I.E. Unable to hear the prompts.
Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s pretty straight-forward and simple, with Bluetooth pairing a breeze. One other thing to note, and this is important because it is not addressed in detail in the instructions manual. The Sudio Nivå is controlled by the right earbud. The left “follows” what the right does. Because of that, there is the possibility of the earbuds falling out of sync. Should that happens, one needs to do the re-syncing procedure here. In my case, I’m glad to say that has not happened to me after a week of use. Of course, I can’t be sure about the future.
Sudio Nivå Sound Quality
Right, the most important part of this review. Sound quality of the Sudio Nivå.
Previously, I described the sound of the Sudio Regent as “warm.” For the Nivå, I would use the less colourful description, neutral.
Yeah, neutral. As in everything is crisp and clear, but largely without noticeable enhancements or distortions. To put it in another way, the Nivå delivers the goods as they are. Clean and neat. There are no additional embellishments.
To go into slightly more technical details:
- I said “largely” instead of “entirely” because I do notice some over-enthusiasm with the highs. For some tracks, this gets a tad tinny. (Coarse, if that makes more sense)
- The lows i.e. the bass are decent. As I said, everything is crisp and clear. Quite punchy as well. However, some listeners might prefer more kick in this area, or a more encompassing presence. (Personally, this area doesn’t really matter to me as I prefer listening to tracks as they were recorded. And which audio player doesn’t come with some sort of EQ function nowadays?)
- Soundstage is more than respectable. Smooth, natural and immersive sounding.
- Vocal reproduction is great! I did an hour of language learning with the Nivå and goodness, I could hear every enunciation of the tutor.
- Overall, for something that’s Bluetooth powered, these earbuds are impressive performers. It would have been great if volume was slightly louder, but in terms of clarity, it’s a winner.
Noise Isolation/Cancellation, and Battery Life
The Sudio Nivå is not equipped with noise cancellation but frankly, I feel they are the next best thing. This is probably due to the design i.e. the recommended fit, which quite effectively blocks out environmental noise. On the subway, the “howl” of the carriage while underground is reduced to a background wooooh.
As for battery life, I’ve not measured it by the clock but after a whole week of 1-2 hour usage per day, the music’s still going strong. Down the road, I think I’d probably just need to recharge the charging case once per week.
Sudio Nivå True Wireless Earphones Review Conclusion – 6 Usage Scenarios
What would I use the Sudio Nivå for? What do I think it’s great or not-so-great for?
I think the Sudio Nivå is splendid as travelling gear. It’s lightweight. The charging case also eliminates the need to recharge often. For a tropical guy like me who’s unused to heavy winter clothing and all that, the lack of messy wires tangling with the rest of my belongings is definitely something I’d appreciate when travelling.
Overall chic design and respectable sound mean the Nivå is great for street listening, provided one isn’t too demanding about sound enhancement. Hey, have I mentioned the right earbud works like a Bluetooth phone earpiece too?
I prefer wired over-the-head headphones while at home, for all sorts of neurotic reasons I wouldn’t go into. After watching a movie with these earbuds though, I discovered, what have I been missing out on!? The Nivå is comfortable and decent. More importantly, the Bluetooth connection is also stable enough for me to pop over to the kitchen now and then for snacks without missing anything.
Erm, there’s no reason not to, except I tend to go at it for hours. I don’t think having earbuds blasting explosions in my ears for 5 hours is a healthy thing. So, no.
While I’ve mentioned they are secure, it’s not exactly a lock on one’s ears. So no. I don’t want to finish a jog and discover, oh gosh, I dropped one!
Home Music Production/Practicing
The overall neutral sound profile is likely to highlight the hidden weaknesses of my instrument selections, I believe. Unfortunately, none of my gear is Bluetooth enabled. So this is out.
Keen to own the Sudio Nivå? Head over to the official Sudio website today to place an order! You’ll enjoy a 15 per cent discount if you quote my discount code, scribblinggeek2018.
Check out my other gadget reviews.