Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald
By Jon Johnson
The Nuraphone headphone is a new breed of wireless headphones that not only combines over-the-ear and in-ear design into a hybrid headphone system, the technology of the headphones also personalizes the way it plays to each user’s way of hearing.
That’s right, you read that correctly. The technology “listens” to the way a user hears upon initial startup and personalizes that experience to the individual user’s sound profile through the use of its free app available on Apple IOS and Android. According to Nuraphone, the headphones use a microphone to detect a person’s otoacoustic emission to determine the optimal listening profile for each user. The headphones use Bluetooth technology to sync with a person’s phone or another player.
The user can also further personalize the sound through the app as well, but if one moves the profile too far to the extreme it can come out as having too much bass.
The technology behind the headphones does really set it apart from the rest of the high-end headphone market. With the Nuraphone, there are not a bunch of switches or toggles to deal with, but merely two touch-sensitive programmable spots on each side that the user can utilize for a variety of functions. Also, the headphones don’t require an on/off button and automatically turn on when placed on the user’s head and off when taken down.
Right out of the box, one can tell these are well-made and have a nice heft to them. Through and through, the headphones just feel and look like they are made of high-grade materials. The case itself is impressive and has a magnetic latch and also holds the charging cord in a magnetic pouch. The headphones can also be charged by plugging into a user’s cell phone, and a variety of cords are available to do so.
A couple things really stood out throughout our testing, including the noise-canceling feature and social feature as well as how well the headphones hold a charge on standby mode.
Recently, I had the “pleasure” of diving a van-load of 12- and 13-year-olds back from Phoenix after a birthday party and, happily, while playing music on the Nuraphone headphones I was not able to hear their music and singing along or chatter. When tapped to ask a question, however, I could just double tap my right side headphone to put it into social mode, and then could hear their inquiry while still playing my music. The ability to drown out the youths and their music was astounding. The headphones also can be used to answer phone calls and the sound on the calls were also impressive.
I mentioned the charge time and we really tested this by using the headphones for three months prior to writing this review. During that time, we periodically would test them for an hour or two and then put them down for weeks on end. The headphones lasted that way for more than two months before having to be charged.
We also did another test where we listened for three hours for three days straight, and at the end, we still had 60 percent charge time left. This is unheard of out of any earphones we have previously used.
So, the good points are that the technology is something to behold, they have extraordinary battery life and they have great sound. But while the headphones feature what Nuraphone describe as “TeslaFlow” valves that supposedly suck cool air from below and expel warm air from above, after about an hour of use we noticed (especially on hot days here in Arizona) that the large, black earphones can make your ear sweaty and hot.
Additionally, while the in-ear section is on a spring, after a couple of hours of use our testers found the in-ear to become a little hard on the ears themselves. Also, some people had some trouble on initial setup to get both in-ear sections to seat correctly in both ears at the same time. After a bit of trial, most were able to get it to work and personalize their listening experience.
Second opinion video review by Unbox Therapy
The headphones have a four-star rating on Amazon and retail for $399. They would make a good Christmas gift, especially for tech-savvy music lovers, but if you are looking for pure comfort with excellent sound and noise-canceling there are others that provide that in the same price range without the worry of the in-ear section, including the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, which comes in at $349 currently on Amazon.
All-in-all, the Nuraphone headphones are an interesting leap that delivers great new technology and a great user experience with the ability to continue to improve through free updates.
You can see more about the Nuraphone by going to its website here.