Nura offers a smaller, cheaper version of its wireless earbuds for rent

Some Bluetooth bugginess and questionable mic performance aside, I liked the NuraTrue quite a bit. And obviously, I’m always in favor of smaller companies mixing it up with tech giants, while bringing something unique to the process. In Nura’s case, that thing is custom sound profiles that can dramatically enhance the listening experience.

The company has also been a proponent of the hardware-as-a-service model. It’s a concept we’ve written about quite a bit that has yet to really catch fire with a broader audience. You pay some money up front and then effectively rent the product for a monthly fee. The company is extending the model to its NuraBuds product.

The fully wireless headphones shouldn’t be confused with the NuraTrue (honestly, though, the NuraBuds name is the better of the two). The devices are remarkably similar, but these are cheaper (and smaller) versions that drop some of the features in the name of keeping the cost down. They’re not unlike Google’s Pixel Buds A, in that respect.

The smaller size (which also drops the largely ornament circle design) also comes with a reduced battery, down from six hours to four on the buds (plus 10 additional hours via the case). How big a difference that will make to you, the user, really depends on how you use the buds. The other big difference is the NuraBuds can’t be used to perform the company’s signature hearing test.

Instead, users will have to use the app to import it from a different model. Essentially that means missing out on their best feature, unless you’ve already owned (or rented) another set of Nura headphones and saved that profile.

If that all sounds good, the buds run $5 a month through the Nuranow program, plus a $19 upfront “one-time setup” fee. The over-ear Nuraphones are also available through the program for $10 a month (plus $49 up front), while the NuraLoop run $8 a month (plus $29).