iqbudscase1280sq100661726orig
IT & Systems Management

Nuheara IQbuds hands-on preview: These smart Bluetooth ear buds are about more than music

In the sometimes-iffy world of crowdfunding, getting your hands on a working prototype well in advance of the end of the campaign is the exception, not the rule. But I recently had an opportunity to see and hear Nuheara’s Bluetooth IQbuds, which have garnered more than $620,000 during their Indiegogo campaign (against an initial goal of just $50,000). There are no sure things, but if the crowdfunders end up with nothing more than prototypes like I listened to, they should be happy.

I also met with Nuheara's founders and learned that the company is listed on the Australian stock exchange. The IQBuds fit in your ear, but I found them to be quite comfortable. You put them in, twist them back, and they sit securely. Turning them on is a simple matter of holding your fingers to the outer shell for five seconds. The shipping model will have user-editable presets, but the prototype offered three demo modes: one for normal listening, a second that simply amplified (or blocked) everything (like a hearing aid), and speech enhancement.

Nuheara

There’s a mic, speaker, and a bunch of silicon in the IQBuds, but they’re still light and small enough to be comfortable in the ear.

The speech enhancement was impressive. While there were slight Doppler/phase artifacts, the overall enhancement of dialog and reduction of background noise was quite good. I was grinning during the experience. Only driving really fast on a track normally does that.

I didn’t listen to any music (my bad) but there was decent top end in the overall sound, which is usually a good sign. Nuheara promises that sonority will be top-notch in the shipping product. At $299 retail, it had better be.

Android and iOS apps will ship alongside the IQbuds; these will allow you to adjust the balance of background noise and voice, fine-tune affected frequencies, and then save your settings as those aforementioned presets: restaurant, bus stop, construction site, concert, etc.  Run time is expected to be around 4 hours, and a portable USB-charging case with its own internal battery providing another 12 hours of juice will be included.

I’ve never been much for anything other than over-ear headphones, and those only for not disturbing the neighbors or reducing bleed into microphones. But I’m anxiously awaiting the release version of the finished IQBuds and doing a full review. Hearing enhancement/protection/listening buds. Products that solve problems. Good stuff. Shipments are currently scheduled to commence in December 2016.

IDG Insider

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« Chromebooks beat Mac notebooks 1.4 to 1 in U.S.

NEXT ARTICLE

Oculus software update breaks Revive hack, locks games down to only Oculus VR hardware »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Recommended for You

Trump hits partial pause on Huawei ban, but 5G concerns persist

Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond

FinancialForce profits from PSA investment

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Future-proofing the Middle East

Keri Allan looks at the latest trends and technologies

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?