The Sudio Nio is an affordable, enjoyable bassy experience. If the wingtips feature works for you.
I’ve seen the Sudio Nio around for a while now, and I’d be lying if I say I wasn’t intrigued.
With a price tag that’s just slightly more than half of that for the Ett and Elva, is the Nio the Swedish designer’s version of a budget product?
When Sudio describes the Nio as “earphones for the people,” what exactly did they add, remove, and retain? As in when compared to older Sudio products? In terms of sound quality, this the most important for any audio product, does the Nio match up to its siblings?
Let’s find out!
This Sudio Nio review was written using a sponsored set. If you’re just looking for the discount code, just scroll right to the end of this review.
Sudio Nio Specifications and Features
Before all else, a quick look at technical specifications and key features. Other than the absence of noise cancelling, that being a feature you shouldn’t expect at this price range, the Nio actually looks pretty decent on paper. It comes with all the specifications and features a typical user would ask for:
- Compatibility: Android, iOS
- Playtime: Up to 20h total
- Built-in microphone
- Range: 10 m
- Bluetooth version: 5.0
- Sphere Codec: SBC
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Sweat resistance: For daily use
As for key features:
- Adaptive dual-microphone technology for voice clarity
- Each set comes with four sets of removable wingtips, for customisation of fit
- Warranty: 3 years with Sudio
I think what’s most noteworthy here would be the IPX4 resistance, followed by the “dual-microphone” technology. Simply put, this means that the Nio will survive a walk in the rain or exercising at the gym, and be clear enough for use during Zoom meetings.
Removable “wingtips” is also a feature that’s brand new; no other Sudio wireless earphones has this. On that, I’ll just say at this point that these tips make a world of a difference in more ways than one. But I’ll go into details later.
Lastly, SBC is a standard, low-power consuming audio decoder capable of 48kHz/16-bit/345kbp playbacks. If that’s too many numbers for you, just know that it means every Bluetooth device will be compatible with the Nio, thanks to this codec.
Unboxing and Contents
To highlight, the Swedish manufacturer recently did a revamp of their packaging. The new design direction is still clean and straightforward, but the product image and name are now much more prominent. The color of the product name reflects the contained earphones too.
A Different Charging Case
About the charging case, unlike older Sudio earphones such as the Ett and the Fem, the Nio’s doesn’t come with a matt finish. Instead, it’s glossy and smooth. I’ll say this makes the case (slightly) harder to scratch and easier to clean. On the whole, the compact size of the case also makes it easy to bring about. It certainly doesn’t create an excessive budge when within a shirt pocket.
The lid is also magnetized and it’s noticeably easier to open compared to the above-mentioned older products. On the other hand, the hinges are a little wobbly. Not exactly loose but you can hear a sound if you tremble the lid.
Coming back to scratch protection, this is further minimised because the Nio is packaged with a customized black pouch. To be honest, the pouch isn’t particularly attractive but it does shield most parts of the charging case. It also comes with an elastic band and is made of Apple Skin Leather. The latter being Sudio’s effort at sustainability.
Bluetooth Capabilities and Pairing
I’ve never had any issues with Bluetooth pairing as far as Sudio wireless earphones are concerned, and it’s the same this time around.
Once removed from the charging case, the earbuds entered pairing mode right away. Momentarily after I activated Bluetooth on my phone, “Sudio Nio” shows up too.
One more click later on my phone and everything is done. As expected, the connection is also decent, even after I moved to another room.
The same goes for my laptop and desktop.
With the Nio hardly Sudio’s first wireless product, I’d say I expected nothing lesser.
Sudio Nio Touch Controls
The Nio features touch controls on both earbuds – this NOT the metallic button-like protrusion on the back of the earbuds but the area below.
I’ll be frank here. I had difficulties with these controls, and it’s not just a matter of managing the one-click/two-clicks difference. I kept accidentally activating something when adjusting the fit of the earbuds. In the middle of a song or movie, I would absent-mindedly nudge one earbud, and yikes, I froze everything!
On that, if you need to adjust the buds during playback, I strongly recommend touching only the stem segment.
As for the controls themselves:
- One click: Play or pause
- Two clicks: Previous or next song
- Three clicks: Volume increase or decrease
For Phone Calls
- One click: Accept call
- Hold for 2s: Hold call
- Hold for 3s: Terminate call
Per the case for the Fem, I found it way easier to just manage all the above using the connected phone. For a start, you’d be able to actually see what you’re doing.
This is a key new feature, and I have a lot to say about it. In case that sounds inane, it’s because these wingtips “make or break” the Sudio Nio listening experience. Believe it or not, they also affect sound quality.
But before I proceed, some clarifications. While the names sound similar, these aren’t ear tips. Instead, wingtips are plastic sheaths that you wrap around the front of the earbuds. With four different sizes/cuts provided, they are meant to help the Nio fit better. Or should I say, sit better in your ears.
Compared to ear tips, these are WAY easier to fit or remove too, which was what I immediately thought of when reviewing the features of the Nio. On the other hand, that convenience comes with certain setbacks.
Simply put, the Sudio Nio doesn’t extend into the canal of your ear, it sits right outside the canal, with the wingtips performing the function of keeping the earbud in place. Because of this, passive noise isolation is compromised because the earbuds do not seal off the canal. Environmental sound is quite audible.
In my case, I also couldn’t achieve a great fit no matter which wingtip I used. Correspondingly, the Nio ended up feeling kinda loose in my ears all the time. To be clear, neither earbud dropped after I walked around for fifteen minutes, but that sensation remains.
More importantly, how great a fit you achieve with these tips affects sound quality, not kidding when I say that. A better fit means the earbuds rest nearer to your canal. That few millimetres of difference, incredibly, transforms the music track I was playing from a neutral profile to a heavily bassy one.
It’s, well, a complicated experience. Furthermore, the earbuds require some pushing-in when returned to the charging case, if you’re using the largest wingtips. Otherwise, the lid wouldn’t close perfectly.
To repeat, it’s a complicated experience.
On the bright side, since the Nio doesn’t probe into your ear canals, it’s much more comfortable to wear for hours compared to other Sudio wireless products. In this area, it’s an absolute champion.
I suppose regular changing of the wingtips also means you can enjoy different sound profiles. Again, this sounds silly in writing. But I’m sure you know what I mean.
Sudio Nio Sound Quality
On to the sound quality, part of which I’ve already touched on above.
To repeat, it all depends on the wingtips. If you opt for a looser fit, the sound comes out mostly neutral. If you manage to get a tighter/closer fit, the bass presence dramatically increases.
On the latter scenario, I am aware other reviews have issues with the heavy bass, some reviews even describing it as overpowering. Quite frankly, I didn’t encounter any issue in this area, except when I’m literally pressing the buds against my ears.
I should highlight too that compared to the Sudio Tolv, which really rounds and thumps the lows, the Nio is actually quite mild with what it does.
Coming to other segments of the spectrum, I feel the Nio does a decent job with mids and highs. There is some noticeable harshness with strong highs, and if you’re going for the tight/close fit, the emphatic lows bring on some murkiness. But as a whole, the Nio’s sound profile is respectable to me, especially when considering the price tag. I have no issues too with stereo panning and soundstage. In fact, for these two areas, I think the Nio is superb.
As for voice quality, I have only one word to say. LOUD. The incoming audio is louder than when I’m playing music. Very slightly garbled too because a lot of environmental sounds are captured/amplified. Since the people I bothered with test calls didn’t have any confusion with what I was mumbling, I would assume the dual-microphone feature is doing its magic.
In other words, the Sudio Nio is great for teleconferencing. It is especially wonderful for long use since it exerts lesser pressure on your ears compared to other Sudio earphones. Because your ears wouldn’t be hurting when your boss blabs for 30 minutes.
Sudio Nio Versus Older Sudio Earphones
I usually have a comparison section in my Sudio reviews. However, since the Nio is more or less in a category of its own, given its lower price tag and wingtips feature, I shall instead do a summary this time.
In short, I think you should “get” the Sudio Nio, instead of other Sudio products, if:
- Price is an issue.
- You’re looking for a smaller charging case. All older Sudio wireless earphones use larger charging cases.
- You’re a rough kind of person. I.E. you need a pouch to protect the charging case when bringing it around.
- You prefer wireless earbuds not to “probe” into your ear canals. Rather, to just sit outside. (I personally do)
- You don’t mind fiddling with the wingtips to get the right sound.
- You don’t mind the lack of active noise cancelling (ANC). You don’t mind environmental sound seeping in too. On these, I’m going to be blunt. The Sudio Fem, to cite an example, does a much better job at reducing environmental sound, despite not having ANC.
Sudio Nio Review Conclusion – 5 Usage Scenarios
To end, what would I use Nio for? What do I think it’s great or not-so-great for?
I didn’t mention this earlier. Although the Nio’s charging case is smaller, it’s NOT lighter. (I even feel it’s heavier than that of the Ett). That said, it’s so compact. With an environmentally friendly carrying pouch, 20 hours of battery life, and USB C quick charging too. So yeah, I’m looking forward to traveling with it, when traveling is finally the in-thing again.
It’s a bit of give-and-take in this area. I do find the Nio more comfortable than “in-ear” earphones. However, they don’t really shine as far as keeping out environmental din is concerned; I tried them on a bus and I had to jack up music volume. The summary, I’ll still use them for street listening, but they wouldn’t be my favourite pair.
Phone and Talk
Absolutely no issue here at all. Since I find the design more comfortable to wear, I’d probably be using the Nio for all of my longer Zoom meetings from now on.
With the variety of streaming services available nowadays, many of us would be using earphones more for this purpose than for music? Well, I watched two hours of Ragnarok Season 2 using the Nio and on and off, the bass emphasis made some parts of the ominous soundtrack too buzzy. I also needed to jack up volume on my laptop because of environmental din. But other than these, the Nio works well. I think they’d especially be great for binging too, given their comfort of wear.
No. As I mentioned earlier, I just couldn’t achieve a secure-feeling fit with any of the wingtips. While I ultimately didn’t have either earbud popping out while walking on the street, I don’t want to risk it. So regrettably, no.
Keen to own the Sudio Nio? Head over to the official Sudio website today to place an order! You’ll enjoy a 15 percent discount if you quote my discount code, scribblinggeek
The discount code is also usable for all other Sudio products, no matter where you are.
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