One of the things I like to bring along on my travels is a good pair of earphones – besides using them to listen to music on long transits, I often use my earphones as earplugs to shut out travel noise, whether it’s screaming toddlers on the plane or excessively chatty seat neighbours. Over the past year or so I’ve been using earphones by Sudio Sweden, and I’ve road-tested the headphone jack-free Sudio Vasa Blå and Sudio Tre on my travels, and just received their latest truly wireless Sudio Nivå, and thought I’d share with you my review of these Sudio earphones.
Also awesome? I have a 15% Sudio discount code if you are interested in buying Sudio earphones for yourself – scroll down to the bottom of the post because you know you have to work for it. Note that the earphones were all sponsored by Sudio, but this review is all my personal, layman, non-audio expert opinion.
What I’m looking for in earphones
I prefer earphones to headphones mostly because I want something light and portable that’s easy to throw into a bag and carry around. I also like earphones because they are more discreet and they don’t flatten your hair. When it comes to earphones, I’m not super fussed about actual sound quality technicalities, but more so whether they are comfortable, don’t keep falling out of my ear and how well they block out sound around me – I put my earphones on to escape into my own space, so I want earphones that are good at keeping sound out but are still comfortable to wear.
My earphone requirements are probably not the most conventional, but I just wanted to give some context as to how I’m reviewing these earphones. Before this, I mostly used the Apple headphones that came with the iPhone just because they were there and I didn’t have to go out and try and pick a pair, the sheer selection available in the market is a bit overwhelming for me.
My first in-ear earphones – Sudio Vasa Blå
The Vasa Blå was my first pair of wireless earphones – they connect via bluetooth and are pretty easy to pair with your phone or any bluetooth device. They were also my first in-ear pair of earphones, and I liked how they sealed out sound, which turned out to be pretty useful even when I didn’t have my music playing. Quite often I would wear the earphones on noisy planes and trains just to block out the background engine roars – you don’t realise how loud and grating the sounds are until you block them out. and they were subtle enough to hide under my hair, which is useful for airlines that are fussy about you having your earphones in during take off and landing.
The wires are flat which is supposed to help prevent tangling, and it does make it easier to untangle your wires to some extent. I have actually slept in these earphones a few times while in hostels to block out snoring when I couldn’t find my actual foam earplugs. What’s also useful is that the connecting wire lets you just sling the earphones around your neck and secure with a clip, so I can keep them on me without worrying about them falling out somewhere.
I thought the sound quality of the Vasa Blå was pretty good – I’m honestly not enough of an audiophile to wax lyrical about the aspects of the sound quality, but I’ve had cheapo earphones with iffy sound quality and you can tell this is a quality product. The battery also lasted quite long, though my problem was that sometimes the battery would drain out if I hadn’t touched the earphones for a long time, and I couldn’t use them until I recharged them, which is a bit annoying on the go but it’s easy to recharge the earphones with a portable charger.
Another thing about these sort of earphones is that you can’t use them on the plane unless you have an adapter (which I don’t) – so I was still stuck watching plane movies with cheap-ass headphones and getting tangled in wires when I wanted to go to the bathroom.
Retail Price: Sudio Vasa Blå retails at S$119, comes in black, white, blue or pink. There is a Vasa version which looks mostly similar to the Vasa Blå, but what I gather is that the Vasa comes in iOS and Android versions while the Vasa Blå works with any bluetooth device.
The sporty Sudio Tre
The next earphones that Sudio sent me were the Sudio Tre, a more sporty version of earphones meant for fitness buffs as the wingtip shape of the earpiece is meant to hold the earphones more securely in your ear, and it’s also sweat and water resistant for exercise.
The sound quality I had no issues with, it was more the sound blocking that I had issues with. I’ll be quite honest – maybe because I’m not the sort who listens to music on earphones while working out – but I didn’t like this as much as the Vasa Blå. The wingtip does feel more secure in the ear, but my main issue is that the Tre is specifically designed to NOT block out sound completely for safety reasons, so you can still hear traffic noises while jogging for example. Great for safety, but that’s not quite what I want with my earphones – I don’t want to hear the loudmouth seat neighbour when I put my earphones in!
The earphones all come with a mic and the ability to take calls, though I haven’t tested that function as yet because I usually use them when overseas. The Tre is slightly longer than the Vasa Blå and I think the design is a tad more classy – the metal button interface gives is a more polished look, and that midnight blue is perhaps more chic than the fun cobalt blue of the Vasa Blå. The Tre is nice enough if you are an active person I guess, just that it’s not for me.
Retail Price: Sudio Tre retails at S$149, comes in black, white, classic blue or pink.
Sudio Nivå – Truly wireless earphones
The most recent Sudio earphones that I acquired is the Sudio Nivå, and what intrigued me about this was how different it is from the first two earphones I tested. Sudio calls the Nivå their ‘truly wireless’ earphones, and sure enough, these are practically two fancy earbuds without any wires in sight.
These earphones look a bit bulky but sit surprisingly comfortably in my ear – you twist them so they sit sort of horizontally, and they really seal out sound. Connecting them via bluetooth is similar to the others – just holding down a button. Despite that not being a 3-button control panel like the other earphones, you can actually control the play/pause and switch to taking calls all from the button on the right earphone.
When you’re done, you pop the earphones back into the case, and the case automatically switches the earphones off for you, and provides up to 3-4 charges on the go so that 3.5 hours of playtime is extended to almost 17 hours, more than double the other two earphones which hold 8-9 hours at a go. What would really be cool is if you could actually use the case as a portable battery to charge other devices – that would make it super useful, but for now it can only charge the Nivå earphones. There isn’t any other way to charge the earphones though, so you are stuck toting around the case which makes it less compact for longer trips.
I like how well they block out sound, and while I’m no expert, even I can tell you that the sound from the Nivå is pretty bassy compared to the other two earphones, great if you like that sorta sound and makes watching dramatic movies even more adrenaline-pumping. I had them in for a few hours watching movies on my laptop, and they were pretty comfortable even if I felt that I needed to air my ears a little after all that.
Retail Price: Sudio Nivå retails at S$165, comes in black or white.
Some final thoughts
Overall, I think Sudio earphones are pretty good looking and the sound quality is good enough for me. I like how the Nivå and Vasa Blå double as pretty fashionable and functional earplugs for me on my travels – I have actually just worn them as earplugs without connecting them to music. I’m really digging the new Nivå just because there are no wires to fuss with, and am looking forward to bringing it on my travels with me.
And of course my loyal readers, use this Sudio discount code to get 15% off all purchases from the Sudio store. Type in theoccasionaltraveller15 when you check out to get 15% off your Sudio purchases.
Anyone out there who uses their earphones like I do? Share with me what you’re looking for in earphones when you travel.
The three earphones in this review were given to me by Sudio, but the review is all my own.