Sudio is a Swedish audio brand and has been in the market for quite some time now. It has a vast lineup of audio devices such as Bluetooth speakers, wireless headphones, and True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones. With the Sudio NIO as one of the brand’s TWS offerings that brings quite a few features to the table, will it be able to justify its asking price? Let’s find out on this review.
Unboxing: Covers The Basics
Unboxing the unit is a breeze. The drawer style that pulls out from the side reveals the earphones itself wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic and a box for the accessories.
Inside the box is the owner’s manual (which I read first before using the device), the warnings and precautions (which I did not read), a small box that contains the replaceable ear tips (more on that later), a very short USB-C to USB-A charging cord with a thin velcro strap, and a microfiber cloth.
Design and Hardware: Nothing Fancy
It looks basic and familiar with its rounded box design and a glossy outer shell that catches fingerprints and micro scratches easily. True enough, my review unit had scratches with daily use and frequent wiping off fingerprints. Expect that this will no longer look pristine by the time you took it off the wraps and started using it.
The weight and feel are just right. It’s portable for its size and I did not expect this to be small. Although, it’s a little thick and will give your pocket a small bump.
Looking at the front is the Sudio logo, beneath it is a small LED charge/charging indicator. It turns orange when the battery inside the case is low and white when full or still has enough charge. It blinks white when charging the case or the earphones inside and goes on steady/solid white when full. Underneath is a flush and round reset button and at the right side of the device is a USB-C charging port which is a surprise as there are only a few audio devices at this price point that have this.
Opening the lid to access the earphones is easy and will not even break a sweat. It’s light and magnetic so it will not be opened easily by shaking or any sudden movement. It just feels a little flimsy due to the small and slightly weak hinge at the back.
Pulling both earphones from the case feels solid as these are magnetically attached which also have a glossy finish and Sudio logo. Doing this will turn the earphones ON automatically together with a voice prompt. However, before using it, make sure you have pulled off the stickers on both earphones located at the bottom part where the contact points and microphones are located. These will go in contact with the pogo pins inside the case to charge the earphones. Putting back the earphones to the case automatically turns it OFF. The earphones can also be used one at a time just like a traditional Bluetooth headset.
One issue I encountered which I thought the earphones were broken is that no sound is coming from one side of the earphone. This was fixed just by putting back the earphones on the casing and pulling them off again at the same time. I have read on the product support page that you must pull out both earphones together if you will use both of them so that they will connect together. Pulling one earphone then followed by a delayed pull on the other may lead to both earphones not connecting together and will result in the issue I have encountered initially.
At first use, both earphones are covered by replaceable ear tips. These are just basic ones that cover the part that gets into the ear and will make the fit a little snug. To test the fit, I tried using the other ear tips inside the box with others having small wings to it to make the fit more secure but it did not help a lot (seriously). So I switched back to the regular ones without wings and use the earphones for a day.
After a whole day of use, I noticed that it made my ears hurt a little maybe because I am not used to the ear tips. Therefore I tried using the earphones without it leaving them bare and it did not hurt a little. I gave the ear tips a second chance but my ears did not like it. Concluding that I do not need to use the replaceable ear tips to have a snug fit. Although, the experience will still depend on who will use the earphones and their preference.
Located at both sides of the earphones, on the stems to be specific, are another set of microphones that completes the dual microphone technology which filters out unwanted noise during calls, LED indicators that works the same as the one found on the case, as well as the touchpoints with a matte finish for controlling the earphones.
A single touch on either side plays/pauses the music or video, double-tapping on the right side triggers next, and double-tapping on the left side triggers the previous song or video. Triple tapping on the right side increases the volume and triple tapping on the left side decreases it. Using the touchpoints will take some time getting used to. Play/pause can be easily triggered just by adjusting the fit of the earphones especially if you are used to holding the earphones at their stem. Adjusting the volume is a little hit or miss. Triple tapping should not be too fast or too slow as it may trigger play/pause or next/previous.
On my use, I usually trigger the next/previous until I get the hang of it and get used to properly adjusting the volume. Before I forgot, another way of turning the earphones ON/OFF is by long pressing the touchpoints on both sides for six seconds.
An added feature of the earphones is having an IPX4 rating for water resistance. Therefore, this can be used during workouts or while walking in the rain. But mind you, only the earphones have this protection and not the case itself. With the added rubber wing tips, we did not find the buds falling over and over like other open-air TWS earphones we have.
Connectivity: Easy as 1, 2, 3
Connecting the earphones is easy. Just turn on the phone’s Bluetooth (or any device-tablet, laptop, etc.) and pull out both earphones. Wait for “Sudio NIO” to appear on the nearby devices and select it to connect. A voice prompt will be heard once the connection is successful.
The Sudio NIO is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 that gives users a faster connection and more range. True enough, the earphones gave a long-range connection. I tried leaving my phone on the 2nd floor of our house and went downstairs to do some chores while listening to music without any distortion or interruption. However, I did encounter some connection issues while using the earphones (i.e. choppiness, sound distortion, and static noises). Fortunately, these only happen randomly and will not ruin the experience while using the device.
Audio and Call Quality: On The Quiet Side
The earphones deliver good and clear sound quality and can be compared to regular wired earphones. Treble and bass are good but not heart-thumping. Vocals and tones sound clear as well. Although volume-wise, the earphones are on the quiet side. I still have to turn the volume up to 60-65% to hear what’s playing clearly. When the volume is set to max, it still sounds great with no sound distortion at all. Sound is just concentrated to the left and right channels giving a stereo effect but no spatial sound or wide stereo effect.
Unfortunately, Sudio does not have an app for the NIO. Therefore, no tweaks or additional settings can be made while using the earphones.
The adaptive dual microphone technology shines on my regular phone calls as well as video calls, especially on work meetings. Voices sound clear on both ends even though I am beside a strong electric fan or when the dogs are barking. Although, voices recorded on the earphones will not pass as broadcast-quality.
Battery Life: Just Right
On the spec sheet, the Sudio NIO posted a playtime of up to 20 hours in total. That is when using the earphones and the charging case. On a single use, the earphones took 5 hours before it needs to be charged again three to four times depending on the music app I used. On my use, this is the case but its usage may still vary depending on the user.
Charging the case with the earphones inside via the USB-C charging port takes 1.5 to 2 hours using a regular 12W charging brick (sold separately). The charging time is also the same for charging the earphones inside the charging case given the case has an ample charge. If the earphones need to be charged but the charging case does not have a charge at all, it is recommended to charge the case first for about 10 minutes before putting the earphones inside to charge it.