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NuraTrue Pro reviewed: ready for the future

Quick review

NuraTrue Pro
The good
Lovely warm sound with solid bass
Capable of lossless high-res audio
Comfortable fit
Spatial audio built-in
Hearing test is still a great feature
Great battery
Wireless charging
The not-so-good
No head-tracking
Noise cancellation isn't as impressive as the competition
Social mode appears louder than life
High-res lossless streaming requires very specific devices
Hefty price

Spatial and hi-res don’t always go together in truly wireless, but the NuraTrue Pro are marrying the two for a pair made for future phones, albeit not quite ones today.

It’s been an interesting journey for Australia’s Nura, a company that makes headphones that stand out. The whole thing started with a unique pair of headphones that tested your ears, and did so with a combination of around-ear and in-ear design, something not everyone liked. We did, as we noted in our Nuraphone review, but the fit could be grinding past an hour of listening.

That was four years ago. In that time, Nura has dabbled with a corded wireless option, plus last year’s NuraTrue, easily one of the better conversions, as Nura jumped on the truly wireless earphone bandwagon and threw all that technology into something smaller and more convenient.

But the company isn’t done, and with the latest pair, the NuraTrue Pro, it’s an evolution of what worked last time with some improvements to the sound plus support for new features that lovers of audio are sure to love.

We checked them out in pre-production, and now they’re ready for release to buyers around the world and Australia. Are the NuraTrue Pro worthy of your ears?

Design and features

Slightly on the big side compared to most in-earphones these days, the NuraTrue Pro almost appear a bit of a fashion item. They borrow the design of the previous NuraTrue with a large circular pad that sits in your ear, with the main difference being what’s inside.

Measuring 26mm on either side, the NuraTrue Pro house a 10mm titanium driver, with eight microphones covering four on each side. There’s a whole heap of technologies on-board these earphones, from a chipset powered by Qualcomm to help deliver lossless over aptX as high as 24/96, spatial audio by Dirac, Nura’s immersion mode that amps up the bass, and an ambient mode known as “Social Mode”.

The look is very much like what Nura offered in the NuraTrue before them, and that’s much the same for the case, though there are subtle difference in the accents, not to mention the inclusion of Qi wireless charging, which is new to the Nura earphones and was absent last time. You can charge both by Type C USB, however, as that’s more or less the standard for everything.

Good luck telling the difference between the NuraTrue Pro (left) and the NuraTrue (right) simply by looking at them. There’s a slightly different and more shiny accent on the Pro, but they’re very close.

In-use

You use them the same way, though, with a series of customisable touches allowing you to pause, play, and change tracks, plus decide on whether you can open the sound up for social mode or close it back up for the noise cancellation mode on offer.

Of course, you can also use the Nura app to tweak the sound for you, and that’ll come in two ways: EQ and using the otoacoustic emission sound test Nura’s audio gear has become known for.

The latter is something you need to do: find a quiet room, equip the right tips to the NuraTrue Pro earphones, and run through the steps of the Nura sound test to have it fire sound from one side of your head to the other, measuring the response of sounds in the inner ear. Nura’s use of otoacoustic emissions is its very bread and butter, and one of the main things that made Nura’s gear stand out upon launch, first seen in the Nuraphones.

It’s one of the more interesting sound profiling technologies around, and so far the only sound test for a pair of earphones that can somehow bypass the feeling of blocked ears when you’re sick, delivering clear sound throughout (just make sure to test it again while you’re sick).

The other feature new to the NuraTrue Pro is a built-in EQ, allowing you to tweak the sound to your liking, not just for what your hearing profile is delivering.

Performance

Of course, none of this matters unless the sound is good, which is why we’re running these earphones through the same sound test we run for everything else, which you can listen to for yourself.

That starts with electronic, as Tycho reveals a more earthy sound with better lows, and slightly more punch and mids than what we experienced in the regular NuraTrue, which is much the same with Daft Punk. The low end isn’t overkill, so don’t expect those ears to be hit too hard, with the sound like a good speaker, and then a bit of control for the bass.

As usual, Nura’s “immersion” control is back here, found in the app and able to deliver some control to just how much bass you feel. It’s not quite as much of a vibration as the groundbreaking Nuraphones, but it’s still a bass controller directly in a slider, and that’s handy for folks who like it more impactful than others, or even less.

Across pop and R&B, it was much the same, with warmth in Maroon 5’s “Animal”, not to mention the classics, such as Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain”. The spatial doesn’t overwhelm, either, and neither does the volume, with the NuraTrue Pro delivering a staggering amount of loudness if you need it. We found we needed to keep the earphones at one quarter volume for them to be loud enough for our ears, which means you shouldn’t need to bombard your ears with sound.

Overall, the sound is solid, with plenty of warmth and impact to go around, but the noise cancellation could be better. While you’re getting a high-grade sound, the ANC tech doesn’t feel quite as strong as other earphones, and the same is true with Nura’s ambient “social” mode.

Touch the button on the earphones or trigger it via the app, and you’ll find Nura’s transparency mode is louder than life while also simultaneously lowering the volume of the music. It’s more of a “listen to the real world while your music takes a back seat” mode, and less like the properly transparent modes we see from other earphones.

Battery

Keeping the earphones going isn’t a problem, though, as battery life is quite strong, matching what is largely becoming the norm for noise cancelling earphones: 8 hours in use with an extra 24 in the case, totalling 32 hours all up.

That’s a little higher than normal these days, but close to being about the same, so there’s little to complain about on the battery side of things.

Value

The price is one area that gives us pause, however, because the $499 Australian price tag is hefty, not just for Nura, but also for noise cancelling earphones in general.

At $499 in Australia, the NuraTrue Pro are a hundred dollars more than the both last year’s Sony WF-1000XM4 and this year’s second-gen Apple AirPods Pro, not to mention the very solid Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 ANC earphones, all of which retail for around the $399 mark right now.

They even manage to be more expensive than the $430 Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds, which are one of the best pairs we’ve seen.

In fact, the $500 mark is largely not hit in Australia, with high-end audio brands Bang & Olufsen (B&O) and Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) the only players hitting over the $490 mark locally.

Nura is in a unique spot here, and we’re not entirely sure it’s a great place to be, because they’re just too expensive, especially compared to the NuraTrue, which can be found for under $350 and are quite similar. We’re not entirely sure an addition of almost $200 is worth it, and that dents the value just enough to be concerned.

The NuraTrue Pro (left) are more expensive than the NuraTrue (right), and that might throw some people.

What needs work?

The other reason to have pause with the NuraTrue Pro is the feature set, because you mightn’t get a lot of use out of all the extra whiz-bang features Nura offers. That’s not really Nura’s fault, mind you; it makes the earphones, but you need the rest of the tech stack to make them do something amazing.

Unfortunately, that “rest of the tech stack” isn’t as easy to gather up, at least not by the end of 2022.

Take the main reason you might want to grab these earphones, though they’re a hard ask for the other reasons.

We’ve already noted the price: they’re more expensive than pretty much every other pair of truly wireless noise canceling earphones, and we’re not sure the lossless factor is as much of an advantage as we’d hoped. Audiophiles will like it, but the lack of compatibility means it’ll only make sense if and when you’re upgrading your phone, too. And right now, the pickings are slim.

You need a phone with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 minimum with support for aptX Lossless, which right now means a confirmed list of two phones: the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro and the Asus Zenfone 9. Moving forward, we know the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will support the lossless tech, and that will appear in quite a few 2023 phones, but at the launch of the NuraTrue Pro, there aren’t a whole heap of options.

It means you’re basically buying for the future, because you’ll get a great sound experience now with your current handset, but you won’t get that truly amazing one unless you get a new phone.

Aside for this, the noise cancellation could be improved, because it doesn’t really match the high-end competition. The ones to beat include the Apple’s 2nd-gen AirPods Pro and the Bose QC Earbuds II, and Nura is no match for either. Both are less expensive, making the NuraTrue Pro a questionable choice when it comes to noise cancellation.

Final thoughts (TLDR)

While there are some obvious question marks with the price and the lack of immediate support for high-res lossless streaming, these things are doing something so few earphones achieve by planning for tomorrow. The NuraTrue Pro are essentially ready for the future of phones by packing so much in.

They sound great and deliver that sense of spatial too many pairs of Android-friendly noise cancelling earphones miss out on, partly because spatial has largely been an iPhone-only affair for a year, but also because no one else is thinking about it. Using Dirac’s take on spatial audio means Nura is thinking about it, and that’s great news for folks who love their audio big and expansive, even if the earphones themselves are not.

Right now, the lack of handsets that talk to Qualcomm’s lossless tech makes the NuraTrue Pro hard to vouch for their high-end price, especially when that great ear-testing technology can be found in the less expensive NuraTrue.

Essentially, you can spend less and get something almost as good. You won’t get the special spatial audio stuff, but it’s 90 percent of the way there, with a balanced sound, less like the warm sound of these. But for the price, they’re easier to justify.

The same can’t be said of the NuraTrue Pro. They’re more expensive than they probably should be, and don’t feel quite there yet on all the features.

But if you’re looking to your next phone in 2023 and thinking it’ll be a flagship Android, and you’re a lover of great sound, these can make the case. Just like that high-end phone you’re thinking of buying, these are high-end earphones made to keep you going for a while yet.

NuraTrue Pro
Design
Features
Performance
Ease of use
Battery
Value
The good
Lovely warm sound with solid bass
Capable of lossless high-res audio
Comfortable fit
Spatial audio built-in
Hearing test is still a great feature
Great battery
Wireless charging
The not-so-good
No head-tracking
Noise cancellation isn't as impressive as the competition
Social mode appears louder than life
High-res lossless streaming requires very specific devices
Hefty price
4.3
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