Nura’s New Earbud Subscription Service Gives Us One More Device We Don’t Actually Own

Nura’s New Earbud Subscription Service Gives Us One More Device We Don’t Actually Own
The Nurdbuds are part of the NuraNow subscription program, but is it worth the two-year commitment? (Image: Nura)

In a world overwrought with subscription services, Nura is adding a pay-per-month earbuds service to the pile. It’s called NuraNow, and it guarantees you a new pair of earbuds every two years. But as with every subscription service, there are a few caveats, including the fact that you don’t own the pair of earbuds or headphones provided by Nura.

NuraNow is priced based on the type of audio device you want. The services start at $US5 ($7) a month with a $US20 ($28) setup fee, which gets you the company’s Nurabuds. If you want a pair of Nuraphone over-the-ear headphones, that’ll cost you $US10 ($14) a month after an initial $US50 ($69) fee. There is also a pair of wireless, sweat-resistant headphones called the Nuraloop that drape around the neck, and those are $US8 ($11) a month after the initial $US30 ($41) fee.

The official NuraNow page indicates that all three models offer Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), immersive audio, intuitive touch controls, and a “social mode,” which is effectively audio passthrough so you can hear your surroundings as you’re milling about. An active NuraNow subscription will also net you exclusive perks, like discounts and monthly giveaways. If you sign up now, you’ll get three months of Endel, an AI-focused sound app that claims to help you relax and find your focus.

There is no contract to bind you to NuraNow, though you’ll have to fill out a contact form to cancel your subscription. Nura notes in the FAQ to “let us know the specific reason why you’re looking to cancel,” suggesting you’ll have to submit some reason before you hear back.

Further down in the terms and conditions, Nura mentions that its NuraNow subscription service is “not currently a rent-to-own program.” If you cancel during the 24 months, Nura will remotely deactivate any devices you have on hand, and you’ll have 30 days to send them back. Users who fail to return the product will continue to be charged. 

The idea of a new pair of headphones every two years is certainly enticing. But considering this is a gadget that you wear every day as you’re working, playing, and sweating, it might be something that you’d want to own permanently rather than renting. And though NuraNow sounds like you’d be saving money over time, the entry-level subscription price is about $US140 ($193) at the end of the two-year lifespan — nearly as much as a pair of Apple AirPods on sale or the Samsung Galaxy Buds.

It would have been nice to have more information from Nura, too, about what happens to the old headphones and earbuds when they’re turned in, like whether or not the devices are recycled. That’s something that other manufacturers have been courting to get folks to spend the cash on an upgrade. And at the very least, it doesn’t make the NuraNow subscription service seem like a mere way to lock in customers and discourage them from buying other brands of headphones.