The Polk Nue Era In-Ear Headphones are a mid-range pair of in-ears that are geared for balance. If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, these aren’t your ideal pair. But, if you don’t need those beats assaulting your ears at all times (a good idea, because that can’t be good for your hearing), the Nue Era headphones are pretty good. That said, it does bear mentioning that the bass is, on the whole, pretty punchless – that might be the only real knock on an otherwise balanced, solid set of headphones. There’s a little bit of distortion, but only at unsafe volumes. For everyday use, they hold up well.
The problem is, they don’t differentiate themselves from the mass of in-ear headphones already available. Sound quality is on par with other mid-tier in-ear headphones, but the construction leaves something to be desired. The headphones themselves feel light and too plasticky, fortunately, the oblong shape and the eartips do make for a comfortable fit. The cord is pretty thin though, and is not tangle-free. The cord seems as suspect as those on low-end headphones. I’m concerned about how durable these are going to be when put through everyday use.
There’s also an in-line three-button controller with a built-in mic, which you can use to adjust volume, play/pause music, go one track forward or one track back, and answer or end calls. The controller and buttons feel pretty responsive, but they’re only designed to work specifically with Apple products.
The audio coming from Polk Nue Era In-Ear Headphones is balanced and clear, with no distortion except at volumes you probably shouldn’t be listening to, anyway. The bass can leave something to be desired, but some listeners might find that the Nue Era headphones strike just the right balance for them. Overall, the Polk Nue Era In-Ear Headphones are a very solid set of in-ear headphones. The main issue I had was with the build quality. Polk says that their headphones have gone through drop testing, UV, and salt exposure testing, and that the colored shell is made of resin. I’m sure all of that’s true, but they still feel light and plasticky.
The headphones come in black and tortoise shell colors. The black ones look a little plain, but the tortoise shell style looks like it could make for a solid functional fashion accessory going with the right outfits. There’s a good variety of eartips, so you can probably find a set that fit you well and sound good. The Nue Eras can be picked up for $100.
The Good: Audio is well-balanced; doesn’t overly favor lows, mids, or highs; in-line mic works well for iOS devices; tortoise shell model could make for a solid fashion accessory, comfortable fit
The Bad: Feel too light and plasticky; no tangle-free cords; bass can be weak on some tracks