There are hundreds of true wireless earbuds to pick from at this point, but few can claim to be as unique as Nuheara’s IQbuds. The hearing aid-like capabilities left us pretty impressed when we reviewed the first iteration last year and now Nuheara is back with a new and improved design that adds Bluetooth 5.0, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and better sound.
Like the original IQbuds, the new IQbuds2 MAX are similarly capable of enhancing your hearing in tough situations thanks to built-in microphones that let sound pass through the earbuds while you’re wearing them. More than just allowing the sound through, the earbuds use artificial intelligence to filter sound, eliminate background noise and emphasize voices. And you can customize your hearing profile using Nuheara’s EarID mobile app, which uses hearing tests to help dial in your settings.
Along with the features that made the first IQbuds so interesting, the IQbuds2 MAX steps things up with larger 9.2 mm drivers that have better sound quality—especially bass, which was already great for such a small set of earbuds. They also tout more onboard processing power, the ability to enable hybrid active noise cancellation, and support for Bluetooth 5 so you can get further away from your smartphone without breaking the wireless link and losing your jams. The original IQbuds use Bluetooth 4.0 and it was hard to walk away from the host device without issues.
Again, beyond simply being able to listen to music, the IQbuds2 MAX are equipped with Nuheara’s proprietary “Speech in Noise Control” (SINC) technology that lets you toggle settings depending on your situation. You can entirely mute background noise, boost the sound on a conversation you’re having with someone in a noisy environment, or enable hybrid active noise cancellation so the integrated microphones and processing engine eliminate certain external sounds depending on where you are.
Here’s an excerpt from our review on the last generation IQbuds:
“In an SUV with a large engine, the driving mode profile cut out nearly all the loud engine noise, and I could understand everyone around me with ease. I thought the vehicle might be quieter than I had first believed, so I took out the earbuds. As soon as I did the engine rumble hit my ears, and I lost track of what my son in the backseat was saying.”
Other features include support for pairing up with voice assistants, tap-touch and gesture controls, the ability to control the volume on your TV when teamed with a TVStream device, water and sweat resistance, and an MSRP that has been reduced to $399. The original IQbuds originally sold for $500 and while that wasn’t entirely outrageous for the features offered, there’s no way to overlook the fact that $500 is way more expensive than your typical true wireless earbuds.
The same is true at $399, but that’s an easier pill to swallow for sure, especially knowing that these are capable of even more than the originals. Sweetening the deal even further, if you pre-order the new IQbuds ahead of their March 2020 delivery date, Nuheara will cut that price to $319.
We’re planning to go ears-on with these at CES and we’ll try to swing a full review in the future.