With more than a handful of companies dipping their hands into the business of making True Wireless Earbuds, it is quite rare to see wireless earbuds with a neckband. So, I was quite taken aback when I saw the box of the new Sudio Elva! Is this innovative or outdated? Read on to find out in this review.
Unpacking the product was definitely a strange experience as there were 2 parts to the product. One being the headphone themselves, and the other the Bluetooth receiver called the Sudio Flyg, which serves as an in-flight Bluetooth adapter.
Also packed in the box were the USB-A male to female adapter for the Sudio Elva, the USB-C to USB-A for the Sudio Flyg, the usual 5 additional pairs of ear tips, and the manuals for both the Sudio Elva and Sudio Flyg. Another thing that came as a surprise was that unlike its predecessors (the Sudio Tolv, Sudio Fem, and Sudio Ett), these particular earbuds did not come with a case. The white version of both the Sudio Elva and Sudio Flyg are reminiscent to that of a retro 90s computer, coming off rather grey-ish in comparison to their other white coloured products.
The design of the Sudio Flyg remains true to Sudio’s standard look – minimalist, clean, and functional. It has a single button, similar to the one on the Sudio Tolv. However, it isn’t made of the usual rubbery matte material, rather it feels more plastic-y and smoother in the hand. At the back of the adapter, there are two concealed inputs, one for the headphone and the other for the microphone. However, strangely I couldn’t get it to work with my computer as the connectors are spaced too closely together, making it impossible to find plugs to insert both parts of the adapter into. However, I believe that it should fit perfectly into any in-flight entertainment system
The Sudio Elva, which is the actual headphones themselves, has a very different look from Sudio’s usual aesthetic – mixing a matte plastic with metal accents to create this seemingly retro design. Personally, I am not a fan of this design, especially with the huge cable holding the whole earpiece together which gives it an overall bulky look. The upside to this is that it comes with 3 buttons instead of the usual 1, and it feels great tactilely. The Sudio Elva is designed in such a way that even if the earbuds fell out of your ears, the neckband will keep them from falling to the ground
However, I felt that the design implementation of this earbuds is poorly thought out. As you have to detach the earbuds to reveal the USB type-C charging port, and attach it to the cable to charge, the wear and tear may occur fairly fast since you’re constantly plugging the cable in and out when charging and reattaching the other side of the earbuds. In addition to that, when separating both sides of the earbuds, the only thing you can use to keep them together is the little magnetic rubber nodes to clip the earbud cables together.
The 3 buttons have the following functions:
- The middle button:
- One click to play/pause your music or pick up/end call during a phone call
- 2 clicks will activate the noise cancellation
- Holding it for 2 seconds will reject the phone call
- Holding it for 7 seconds will activate the pairing and,
- Hold it to turn on/off the earbuds
- Left button:
- 1 click to lower the volume
- Hold 2 seconds to change to previous song
- Right button
- 1 click to increase the volume
- Hold 2 seconds to change to the next song
Honestly, it gets progressively challenging to remember the function of each button as they vary significantly across their different products.
Like the generation before it, the Sudio Elva comes with active noise cancellation (ANC). As the earbuds are ergonomic and fits in my ear extremely well, it creates a great seal making the active noise cancellation highly effective as it drowns out a significant amount of ambient noise when switched on. This will be particularly useful once we’re allowed to travel again. It is claimed to have an IPX5 rating, which once again makes it splash, rain, and sweat proof, and therefore suitable for workouts.
Now, let’s move on to the battery life. Sudio claims that the Sudio Elva has a 15-minute quick charge for 1-hour worth of playback. When fully charged, it boasts an amazing 11 hours of playback on a single charge, or 10 hours when using active noise cancellation, which is fairly good! However, as there is no case for this product, there are no extra charges this time.
In addition to that, I found that the neckband made it a hassle to keep in my bag, as I couldn’t just wind them up like a regular pair of wired headphones due to its stiffness. I definitely would have appreciated some sort of a carrying case.
Moving on to the listening experience… How does the Sudio Elva sound? Personally, I think that this is one of the best sounding headphones Sudio has produced to date. However, you do have to turn on the active noise cancellation to get it at its best. It has great clarity throughout the range with an excellent sound-stage inside a small package. The bass and low ends are punchy but not overpowering and is quite tight. The vocal and mid-range sounds are pronounced and clear. The highs were a little subdued but it’s not a bad thing, as I think it adds a little character to the sound signature.
This time, I also tested out the microphone and it is definitely functional, although not their forte.
So, who is the Sudio Elva actually for? I found the target audience for this quite interesting as Sudio opted to focus on the people who uses gaming devices, television screens, and older audio devices that does not support Bluetooth, but want that wireless experience. It appears that this set is mainly meant to be used at home or rather in a permanent place instead of an everyday driver, even though it is capable of providing an on-the-go listening experience as well.
Overall, I found the Sudio Elva a challenge to recommend as while it appeals to a certain demographic, it may not be the device of choice for everyone, like the Sudio Ett was. This really seems like an experimental product where Sudio tried different designs, materials, and purposes for wireless earbuds. Kudos to them for their constant innovation!
If you wish to purchase the Sudio Elva, use “BeyondNorm15” for 15% off anything on Sudio’s website!