The new Nuheara IQBuds have entered the new wireless earbud category with a spin. These little babies go beyond music, and also provide noise-canceling as well as a pseudo hearing aid feature. The IQBuds feature noise-processing technologies that get rid of background sound to help you hear speech in noisy places.
Nuheara IQBuds Design
The IQBuds ($299) come in black/silver, and sport a teardrop-shape. They’re made of sturdy plastic, and the eartips protrude at an angle from the ends. Unlike traditional Bluetooth earphones, there’s no wire connecting the two buds. They are completely independent of each other. On the back panel of each earbud sits a touch-sensitive control, which provides such functions as call answering & play/pause. These controls are on the left earbud. On the right earbud includes a listening mode button. You can also activate your phone’s voice assistant by double tapping either earpiece.
On each bud is an “L” and “R” indicator so you know which bud goes with which ear. There’s also 4 recessed contact points on the same side, which is how you charge the buds in the included charging case.
The Nuheara IQBuds are quite comfortable, and they fit securely in the ears. This is not only good for regular use, but they’re also great for fitness and working out. The IQBuds also include eight pairs of silicone eartips. You can choose between extra small, small, medium, or large round or oval tips. With this wide selection, you’re ensured a great fit, no matter what size ear canal you have.
Charging Case & Pairing
The charging case is also pretty tiny, and the black plastic clamshell opens up to reveal two recesses the earphones fit in while charging. When you open the case, indicator LEDs for each earphone glow green if fully charged and red if charging. There’s also four LEDs below showing how much power is left in the battery pack. When the case is closed, left and right LEDs glow red to indicate the earpieces are charging.
We found the Nuheara IQBuds will operate for around 4 1/2-hours listening to music on a single charge, and double that using the hearing processing. The charging case will give the IQs three separate full charges for an additional 12 hours of music or 24 hours of hearing processing.
Pairing the IQBuds is a breeze. Simply hold the touch sensors on both earpieces down for a few seconds to put them in pairing mode, then connect via your phone’s Bluetooth menu. A free iOS and Android app will also walk you through the pairing process if you need it.
As mentioned in our intro, the big selling point with the IQBuds is the hearing enhancement feature. isn’t simply the ability to listen to music, but to enhance your hearing. Nuheara calls this technology SINC, or Super Intelligent Noise Cancellation, and this technology offers a slew of listening modes.
Besides the Music mode, the other modes use the Nuheara IQBuds’ mics to enhance the sound around you based on your environment. These modes include Workout, Restaurant, Street, Office, Home, Plane and Driving. You can select up to four of them as favorites via the app. Once you select one, it’s easy to toggle between them with long presses on the right earpiece.
Each mode is configured to block out different levels of background noise while still letting you hear people talk, sort of like a cross between a hearing aid and noise-cancelling earphones. In short, the Nuheara IQBuds dampen noise based on the modes you select, and they also boost certain frequencies to help you better hear these frequencies better.
The non-Music listening modes are set to bring out voices while blocking other noises like vehicle noises and street sounds, while Music mode blocks out all outside noise, much like standard noise-canceling earphones. You can also set any mode to completely block out noise by tapping the SINC icon in the app. All modes work very well, and we were impressed with the high-level of noise-cancelling the Nuheara IQBuds provided.
The hearing enhancement effect is pretty advanced. In all modes besides Music, voices sound super clear while the IQBuds suppress the other sounds in their respective environments. They work nearly as well as other higher-end exclusive NC headphones.
Music-wise, the Nuheara IQBuds handle all frequencies pretty well. Bass was thumping, despite the lack of power usually expected from wireless earphones. Mids and highs were also very crisp and clean, again surprising for wireless earbuds. All in all, in Music mode, the Nuheara IQBuds offer an all around good sound, providing a range of quality frequencies.
The IQBuds app, which is intuitive, simple and very easy to use, lets you control these modes, and how much noise is enhanced or cancelled for each mode. You can control the kind of frequency noise you favor, whether that be low, middle or high frequency noises, and you can even individually adjust each earphone’s settings.
The Nuheara IQBuds are a very cool wireless earphone solution that not only work well as wireless earbuds for music, but in addition, the hearing processing features are pretty revolutionary. They help you keep up with conversations in noisy areas, and the noise cancellation features keep background noise to an extreme minimum.
We like the Nuheara IQBuds. We haven’t really seen anything else like them on the market, and they perform several functions in one set of earbuds….and well. You can purchase the Nuheara IQBuds for $299 through the company’s website here, or through other retailers such as Best Buy.