After reviewing dozens of true wireless earbuds, it is refreshing to receive a pair of wireless neckband earbuds. It’s been a while since a neckband came in my way for a review, at a time when true wireless earbuds are clearly the more popular choice. Before TWS, I loved using neckband because they sit around the neck comfortably and does not slip off the neck like normal wireless. Sudio Elva also comes with a Bluetooth flight adapter which is also sold separately under the name Sudio Flyg. The Sudio Elva will launch on the Sudio website from 14 Sep 2020, and you can enjoy 15% discount when you checkout with the discount code “wireless15” or “musicphotolife“. For a limited time, get a free black card holder worth S$20.
Watch the unboxing video in detail, where you see it comes with a bundle of accessories.
Considering it’s a small box, it does comes packed with loads.
- Sudio Elva neckband earphones
- Sudio Flyg Bluetooth flight adapter
- USB-A male to fenale adapter (for Sudio Elva)
- USB-C to USB-A (for Sudio Flyg)
- 5 additional pairs of ear tips
- Owner’s guide for Sudio Elva
- Owner’s guide for Sudio Flyg
- Warranty card and information
The Sudio Elva has a unique way of charging, and that is by detaching the left earbud cable near to the three-button controller. While this means it would not be possible to use the earphones while charging, I would not have used them anyway. I thought this design makes the neckband streamlined without any exposed charging port or one with a rubber cover. The Sudio Elva is IPX5 water rated so you can wear them for runs.
There is also another interesting element: there are small magnetic rubber nodes that stick the earbud cables together. I like that this node is adjustable along the cable length instead of embedded on the earbuds, so that you can secure the cables together in various ways.
There are 3 buttons located on the left Sudio Elva. The middle button powers up the earphones, play-pause and answer calls. Double-click will change the ANC mode. Press-and-hold longer during power-up will initiate Bluetooth pairing.
The Sudio Flyg is an accessory that allows you to plug to any headphone jack on your smartphone or your sound system which transmits to any paired Bluetooth headphones. It does not work exclusively with the Sudio Elva: you can simply pair with any Bluetooth device you want, even your existing true wireless earbuds. This makes the Sudio Elva retail package rather attractive.
There are 2 foldable connectors: use both to plug into an in-flight entertainment system, and use the stereo plug for normal audio devices with the 3.5mm jack. Given the current pandemic situation, I doubt most people would find this useful but as the economy opens up, we could see increased air travel by year end, so perhaps the Sudio Elva launch comes at a good time.
During testing, I found that the review unit’s stereo plug has the left-right channel inverted. Let’s hope it’s not a wide-spread manufacturing defect.
Technically, the Sudio Elva has two audio profiles: with ANC and without ANC. Let’s start with ANC-off. The treble is bright, thin, airy, with a boost around 4-8KHz, making the treble harsh and lacks refinedness. Saxophone is uncomfortable and steel guitar is too metallic. The bass is relatively feeble given the strong treble presentation.
With ANC-on, the tables turned. The overall volume is a lot louder, the bass is elevated to balance the piercing highs, extending till midrange, transforming the Elva into a warm pot. The shouty treble is somewhat eased but only because of the helpful bass to roll off some of the frequency. Midrange is warm and clear, while upper treble is rolled off.
One observation when using the earphones: whenever the audio is paused or after a call is made, the ANC mode did not switch back to “on” even though it is technically in the “on” mode. I had to double-click the middle button to turn off, and then turn on ANC again to regain the ANC mode.
And speaking of ANC, the noise cancellation is tame, removing the low and midrange ambient noise, but does not eliminate general urban noises. Wearing the earbuds also did not offer much passive noise reduction. Nevertheless, it is still better than no ANC, plus I prefer the sound balancing in this mode.
Battery life is good. I wore them around my neck on perpetual standby with my smartphone, and after four days, the remaining battery life is 40%. The Sudio Elva is rated to deliver 11 hours continuous play time.
Call quality is also satisfactory, the caller complimented my voice as clear while the noise in the shopping mall is not audible. The voice sound like coming from a smartphone, not distant nor thin. Under windy conditions, my voice can still be picked up amidst the wind.
I enjoyed using the Sudio Elva because of its neckband design. Wearing it around my neck whole day on standby lets me pick up calls easily without searching for the earbuds lying on the desk or reaching in my pocket. The flat cable design prevents tangle and the magnetic nodes further help to keep the cables neat around the neck. The 11-hour talk time is more than enough for any extended telecommuting calls. The ANC quality is not the star attraction, but it manages to remove a bit of the humming frequencies. The audio balancing is generally enjoyable but I won’t listen saxophone instrumentals or heavy metal unless you have strong ears. Activating ANC will provide a warm rounded sound, while turning off will reveal bright treble details.
The Sudio Elva will be launched on the Sudio official website from 14 September at S$199, with 15% discount when you checkout with the promo code “wireless15” or “musicphotolife”. If you are anxious to get your hands on one, some local retail online stores have already started selling them, like Courts, Gain City, Shopee, to name a few.