Nura's newest wireless earbuds are only available through a subscription

Would you upgrade your earbuds like you upgrade your phone?


Do you churn through wireless earbuds quickly enough that you're eager for an upgrade every couple of years? Nura might have a solution. The Nuratrue maker has introduced Nurabuds that aren't quite as sophisticated as the earlier model (more on that in a moment), but are only available through a "Nuranow" subscription. Pay $5 per month (plus a $19 one-time fee) and you'll get a fresh set of earbuds every 24 months, much like your carrier's phone installment plan.

You'll also get "discounts, benefits and giveaways" as part of your monthly outlay, according to Nura.

The Nurabuds themselves are similar on the surface to the Nuratrue buds from before, complete with active noise cancellation and a world-amplifying social mode (ambient or transparency mode on rival devices). They're IPX4 water-resistant, too. Battery life is limited to four hours for the buds and 10 hours with the charging case, though. More importantly, you can't perform the Nuratrue's signature hearing test — you'll have to either import an existing profile or trust that Nura's "in-house" sound meets your needs.

This might be a viable option if you use your earbuds often enough to wear down the battery in two years, or if you just want to stay current. However, the subscription model might not make sense if you aren't a stickler for Nura's (admittedly quite good) audio quality. Amazon's second-gen Echo Buds, for example, offer ANC, water resistance and other helpful features for as little as $100 in a one-time payment that lets you upgrade on your own terms. Nura is clearly betting that its reputation and people's habits will work in its favor — possibly a wise bet, but a bet nonetheless.