Nuheara’s IQbuds: Our first take

Nuheara's wireless IQbuds enhance the sound around you while you jam out

It’s no secret that true wireless earbuds are one of the biggest trends at CES 2017. But the so-called “hearable” segment, which allows for control and enhancement of the sound around you, is also taking flight. On the floor at CES Unveiled, we checked out audio startup Nuheara’s new IQbuds, which can blast your tunes while also allowing you to control the sonic world around you.

If you feel like you’ve seen this movie before, you’re not wrong. Doppler Labs blew us away at CES 2016 with their almost magical Here Active earbuds, which use advanced technology controlled through an intuitive app to allow you to do everything from silencing or raising the volume of the sound around you, to actually equalizing live shows and adding effects.

The Goods

However, it took a second-generation product from Doppler Labs, the new Here One, to actually add music into the mix. Nuheara’s IQbuds skipped that first step and jumped right into the world of all-in-one augmented hearable functionality, adding music and ambient sound control in the company’s first-ever product.

The app for the IQbuds looks strikingly similar to the Doppler Labs app, offering a similar dial to control the sound around you. The IQbuds app allows you to raise or lower the total volume (both music and outside noise), enhance augmented sound via an intuitive EQ window, and even raise or lower the right or left earbud volume levels independently — that’s especially handy for those with hearing-loss issues.

The sound

Hearing-loss sufferers are a big target for the growing hearables segment, and Nuheara sees the IQbuds as an affordable alternative to hearing aids. The buds can also come in handy for active music lovers, allowing you to bring in ambient sound with impressive control so you can jam out your tunes while still being aware of the dynamic world around you. Nuheara says the earbuds offer three to four hours of music playback time per charge, and seven hours of ambient sound control per charge. The charging case will recharge them three or four times, but it does take about 90 minutes to recharge.

iqbuds true wireless audio enhancing earbuds ces 2017 nuheara

So how do the IQbuds actually sound? It’s tough to judge the music playback in the noisy halls of CES, even for a product specifically designed for such scenarios, but our first impression of the music we did get a chance to check out is that it sounded pretty solid, even as it allowed supreme control of which ambient sounds we let in. We were slightly less impressed with the ambient sound noise cancellation. Unlike Doppler Labs’ Here Active, which nearly eliminate the noise around you with a soft touch, the IQbuds emitted a sort of white noise as they attempted to kill the background noise, and sounded a bit more scratchy.

Conclusion

Still, we walked away impressed with Nuheara’s first shot at the hearable market, and we’ll need further testing to make a true conclusion. The IQbuds are slated for availability in March at a price of $300. Stay tuned for our full review of the IQbuds coming soon.

Highs

  • Solid music playback
  • Decent charge time
  • Effective noise cancellation
  • Feature packed

Low

  • Noise cancellation can sound a little scratchy
Home Theater

Budget TVs are finally worth buying, and you can thank Roku

Not all that long ago, budget TVs were only worth looking at if, well, you were on a budget. Thanks to Roku, not only are budget TVs now a viable option for anyone, but they might even be a better buy than more expensive TVs.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as hard as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘Apostle,’ ‘Daredevil’ season 3, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Apostle, Daredevil season 3, Making A Murderer season 2, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

Google offers a week of free credit after YouTube TV outage, but not for long

Earlier this month, YouTube TV went down for users all around the world, and to make up for it, Google is offering affected users a week of free service. But if you want to grab the credit, you need to act quickly.
Home Theater

How to crack the code and find the best TV resolution for your needs

720p? 1080p? 4K UHD? What does it all mean? Choosing the best resolution for your TV can be tough, but fear not: We’ll break down the dirty details and help you figure out the right resolution for you.
Home Theater

Six sensational subwoofers that will shake any room on any budget

Whether you're a film buff or a music junkie, sometimes you just need to go lower. Luckily, we've put together a guide to the best subwoofers, so you can feel your favorite movies instead of just hearing them.
Movies & TV

‘Iron Fist,’ ‘Luke Cage’ cancellations by Netflix spark serious questions

The cancellation of Marvel's Iron Fist and Luke Cage solo series on Netflix has sparked no shortage of questions, rumors regarding new team-up projects, and concerns about the future of the remaining series in the two companies'…
Home Theater

'Pacific Rim Uprising,' season 2 of 'Room 104' arrive on HBO in November

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. Follow us to find out what's new on HBO each month. November 2018 brings Pacific Rim Uprising and season 2 of Room 104.