While the NuraTrue Pro adds a raft of improvements over its excellent forebear, the difference in asking price is a little hard to bear. This is especially true as the flagship feature and primary justification for the higher price tag – lossless Bluetooth audio – won’t be usable until supporting phones and other devices land later on. These will appeal to audiophiles and those wanting to jump on emerging tech, but the regular NuraTrue is better value overall and will satisfy a greater audience.
Personalized, hi-res audio
Lightweight and comfortable
All expected modern conveniences
Lossless audio yet to be established
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Aussie company Nura is back with a new product, bringing its unique brand of personalized audio to yet another pair of true wireless earbuds. As its name suggests, this model is a ‘pro’ version of the NuraTrue, offering a raft of improvements over the older five-star buds and, with it, a premium price tag.
Taking several design cues from the original NuraTrue, the Pro model adds a few refinements such as a ceramic material for the trim and logos on the case and buds. Most of the advancements, however, are on the technical front.
Wireless charging has been added to the case, and it’ll top up its charge via cable twice as fast as its more affordable sibling. The number of microphones has increased to make for improved noise-cancellation (which now automatically adapts to your environment), and includes a bone conduction sensor for clearer phone calls.
On the audio front, a new spatial mode has been implemented as well as the ability to fine-tune the personalized audio with an equalizer, but the main raison d'être of the Pro model is its support for hi-res Bluetooth audio.
Utilizing the aptX Lossless codec, the NuraTrue Pro is capable of receiving audio at CD quality (44.1kHz, 16-bit) over Bluetooth 5.3, which is the first consumer product we’ve encountered to do so. The downside of this is that there are currently no devices that are capable of delivering this standard, although some Android phones sporting Qulacomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipsets are apparently due to launch this year. With a projected launch date of October, this problem may be moot by the time units end up on shelves, but we'll have to see how soon supported devices arrive.
Overall, this makes the NuraTrue Pro a tougher sell than its regular counterpart at this point in time as its main attraction isn’t yet usable. The other quality-of-life improvements are certainly nice to see, but aren’t worth the price difference between the two at this stage. We can see the Pro being an excellent product for audiophiles and those seeking to adopt emerging tech, but the standard NuraTrue offers better value overall at present.
Check out the best true wireless earbuds available if you're after a more affordable alternative.
NuraTrue Pro price and availability
- $329 / £299 / AU$499
- Kickstarter pre-order offers available
- Available by October
The NuraTrue Pro retails for quite a bit more than the original NuraTrue, weighing in at $329 / £299 / AU$499 compared to its predecessor’s $199 / £199 / AU$299 – that’s about 66% more in the US and Australia and about 50% more in the UK.
If you’re looking to save on the NuraTrue Pro, the company is launching pre-orders of the product via Kickstarter, which comes with a variety of discounts depending on how early you secure your pair – Super Early Bird prices start at just $199 (about £169 / AU$299). An October release date has been projected.
As a point of reference, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 launched at $279 / £249 / AU$449 (although, as with most Sony audio products, this price has dropped dramatically since release), and the Apple AirPods Pro retailed for $249 / £249 / AU$399 at launch.
With its price firmly above the best true wireless earbuds from both Sony and Apple, does Nura have something unique to offer the world that warrants the extra dosh?
- Value score: 3.5/5
NuraTrue Pro: Design and features
- Elegant NuraTrue design returns
- Wireless charging added to case
- 8 + 24 hours (buds + case)
Much of the design language from the original NuraTrue has carried over to its Pro counterpart, with the iconic circular housing of the buds making a comeback, and the case maintaining near-identical dimensions and appearance.
With that said, there are a few minor touches that paint it as a more premium product, namely the use of a ceramic material in the ‘nura’ text on the charging case, as well as the brand’s logo and trim found on the exterior of the earbuds themselves.
The same all-black design is present, making for a classy and understated appearance, and the circular earbuds present a striking and unique aesthetic, whether or not it’s your cup of tea.
In the box, you’ll find four extra pairs of eartips of various sizes, as well as a different style of in-ear ‘fins’ to secure the fit (this is on top of the fins and tips that ship on the buds themselves). With this array of options, there’s a good chance you’ll find a fit that remains snug and secure – what’s more, the app offers a function that ensures the NuraTrue Pro form a proper seal in your ears.
Alongside all these measures to make sure the buds remain firmly in your ear, the units themselves are also remarkably lightweight and comfortable, despite their apparent largeness due to their circular design.
Onto battery life: the NuraTrue Pro boast an impressive 8 hours of life from the earbuds, with an extra 24 hours in reserve in the charging case. This already-solid longevity will be increased even further if you disable certain features like ANC, spatial audio and immersion mode.
You can top up the charging case via its USB-C port or Qi wireless charging, which is a new addition within the company’s lineup. When charging via cable, the NuraTrue Pro will top up twice as fast as its predecessor.
While worn, you can access a capacitive touch control on each earbud in order to perform a variety of tasks, all set up in the app (more on this later). You can utilize single-, double- or triple-taps for separate commands, totalling six unique functions accessible at any time. We found the controls to behave just as intended, with no accidental activations or missed touches in our testing.
- Design score: 4.5/5
- Spatial audio and EQ
- Personalized frequency profile
- Hi-res audio, but no supported devices yet
Of all the audio products we review, Nura’s are some of the hardest to talk objectively about due to the inherent nature of its personalized audio. When you first set up the NuraTrue Pro, the companion app will run a test, determining the frequency response best suited to your own ears, and sculpting an EQ to suit it.
In our experience, this has offered rich, full and detailed sound, with previously hidden details in tracks coming to the fore, all while maintaining a comfortable and incredibly pleasing balance between the treble, bass and mid frequencies.
For the first time in the company’s lineup of products, you can further tweak the NuraTrue Pro’s audio response with an EQ in the app, although this wasn’t available at the time of testing so we can’t weigh in here, but it'll be available at launch. We've reached out to Nura to find out when we can try this feature and we'll update this review as soon as we've conducted further tests. In the meantime, assuming it works as intended, this is a great tool to provide further control to the listener in sculpting the sound to their taste.
Another feature (a flagship one) debuting in the NuraTrue Pro is its support for truly lossless audio over Bluetooth. This means you’ll be able to stream 16-bit, 44.2kHz (AKA, CD quality) to your earbuds thanks to Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless format.
On this point, it’s worth mentioning that no consumer smartphone currently supports this format, although we’re told several Android flagships releasing later in the year will do so. According to Nura, the format is “soon set to be widely available on source devices with [Qualcomm’s] Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform”.
For the iPhone user, the news is less promising. Apple already has its own proprietary format for lossless, and isn’t likely to boast Qualcomm’s processing hardware any time soon. In this case, Nura is also launching a wireless USB dongle (sold separately for around $49 / AU$99) that will allow this lossless Bluetooth connection to be achieved, although likely only on computers and similar devices with USB-A ports (we’re yet to see this dongle, so we’ll have to wait for more info).
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test the full extent of the impact that lossless Bluetooth audio will deliver due to lacking a source capable of providing it, but we imagine the audiophile and future-proofer will be keen on such a development; for anyone else, this will be the main factor in recommending the regular NuraTrue over its Pro sibling.
Spatial audio is also making its first appearance (from the company) in the NuraTrue Pro – it’s on by default, but can be toggled by a simple on/off setting in the app. This feature doesn’t work with any existing multi-channel audio, but rather works algorithmically on any stereo source to create a sense of space.
The effect of spatial audio is rather subtle overall, which we’re happy about – some competing implementations have resulted in muddied sound and a confused sound space – but Nura’s implementation works wonders, albeit nuanced ones.
As described to us by Nura CEO, Dr Luke Campbell, regular stereo audio creates the impression that sound is emanating from the center of your head (something generally unique to headphones), whereas listening through speakers or to live music, you’ll hear the left and right channels bleed into each other somewhat. A similar approach is taken here, and the result of the setting is to widen the source of the music without losing its sense of space for each component or instrument in a track.
Another returning audio trick Nura is offering here is dubbed Immersion Mode, a setting that can be adjusted from -3 to +3. In essence, this setting affects the presence and volume of low-end frequencies, which is a great adjustment to have if you’re a fan of thumping electronic beats and other bass-rich genres.
When listening to the title track of Purity Ring’s new Graves EP, the tightly-produced beat punches through cleanly and precisely while the swirling ambience and reversed echoes gorgeously fill the space around it, made even more ethereal with the spatial treatment.
From the same EP, the vocal lines in the pre-chorus in standout track Soshy fill out the stereo field with a beautiful sense of width, adding to the impact of the already haunting melody. Underneath, the driving '80s-style rhythm still retains its edge, cutting through and remaining centered and un-muddy despite the washy surrounding instrumentation, propelling the track and injecting it with a cruising energy.
Onto something a little softer, UFOF from the inimitable Big Thief sparkles and shimmers along with the arpeggiated acoustic guitar work, and Adrianne Lenker’s breathy voice hovers at the center, weaving its wispy and delicate melody. Despite a sometimes-busy instrumentation, the NuraTrue Pro does a great job of separating the elements and providing clarity, with the pads and backing vocals appearing clearly where they have the tendency to blend into obscurity from other audio sources.
We had a listen to the disarmingly pretty Shooting Shadows by The Milk Carton Kids to test just how much the spatial audio interfered with a deliberately stereo source, and were thoroughly impressed. Each ear gets a guitar and a voice, with the lower, husky vocal arriving at the left ear and the higher, angelic part to the right. With the spatial mode engaged, this genuinely felt like you were listening to a pair of musicians on either side of the stage, instead of two discrete recordings per channel – the effect added to the intimacy of the piece and made for a more lush sense of atmosphere.
- Audio score: 4/5
ANC and other features
- Improved adaptive ANC
- Clearer call quality
- Excellent companion app
Where the regular NuraTrue had standard noise-cancelling (that was plenty capable but not groundbreaking), the Pro model features adaptive ANC, which automatically and continually adjusts to your environment to offer up optimum cancellation.
In practice, we found this to be more capable than the regular NuraTrue’s implementation of noise-cancelling, especially when it came to more dynamic environments like busy streets, but it wasn’t so dramatic a difference that we’d recommend upgrading for this improvement alone. While we didn’t find it to be quite as capable as Sony’s WF-1000XM4 in-ears in this regard, it certainly did a lot of work to take out loud bus sounds, most human speech and even noisy pedestrian crossing signals, but it won’t leave you with total silence.
Alongside the improvements in noise-cancelling, the extra microphones (four in total, including a bone conduction sensor) help to make the call quality a step above the regular NuraTrue. In our testing, we found our voice could clearly be heard on calls, which is a feat for true wireless earbuds, given how far the units are from your mouth when speaking.
The companion Nura app is awesomely featured with plenty of settings to fine-tune the experience to your tastes. This includes (for the first time) the ability to adjust Nura’s personalization with your own EQ settings, although this feature wasn’t available at the time of testing.
One particularly handy setting, albeit minor, is the ability to assign one of the touch controls to simultaneously turn on ambient sound and pause your music (with another press re-enabling ANC and resuming playback). In every use case we can imagine, users wanting to hear the outside world will also want their music or other media paused, so to combine these into a single control makes utter sense and, frankly, should be the default for every noise-cancelling audio product.
- ANC & Feature score: 4.5/5
Should I buy the NuraTrue Pro?
|Value||Without being able to use its flagship feature (hi-res Bluetooth) at launch, it's a much harder sell than the original NuraTrue at its higher price||3.5/5|
|Design||Neat, tidy and clean design with solid battery life and wireless charging||4.5/5|
|Audio||Without testing hi-res, audio quality is exceptional and the spatial feature is great||4/5|
|ANC & Other Features||Great adaptive ANC, clear calls, and solid app||4.5/5|
Buy them if...
You want to be an early adopter of lossless Bluetooth
As we’ve mentioned throughout the review, the flagship feature of the NuraTrue Pro is its support of aptX Lossless, allowing CD quality, hi-res audio to be streamed wirelessly. This is the first product we know of to offer this.
You love the NuraTrue but want an upgrade
With a raft of minor updates, as well as some major ones, this is the obvious next step if you’re a fan of the NuraTrue but want some more premium features like wireless charging for the case, better ANC and call quality, and spatial audio.
Don't buy them if...
You’re not fussed about hi-res, or aren’t willing to wait
Given that it’s the main selling point (and main reason for the high price), it doesn’t make too much sense to go after the NuraTrue Pro if hi-res Bluetooth audio isn’t your priority. On the other hand, even if you are keen on the idea, you’ll need to wait until a device capable of delivering aptX Lossless becomes available regardless.
You’re chasing bang-for-buck in-ears
In short, there are far more affordable alternatives that offer similar quality out there – in particular, the regular NuraTrue are an excellent pair of buds for their asking price and present much the same performance where it counts for substantially less of a cost.
If you're not keen on the hi-res audio offering of the NuraTrue Pro, or simply don't want to fork out for their hefty asking price, there are a few 5-star alternatives below to suit different needs and budgets.
As we've mentioned throughout the review, the original NuraTrue offer far better value at this point of time, delivering a majority of the quality offered by the Pro model without the large price increase.
The current leaders in the true wireless, noise-cancelling earbud market, these Sony's offer a well-rounded experience with some of the best ANC, audio and modern conveniences in one tidy package.
With their successors now on shelves, you can score the XM3 for a massive discount, making them a great premium option without the current-gen pricetag.
- First reviewed: June 2022
- How we test: explore TechRadar's review guarantee