I’ve been gorging of late on a series of products from Swedish audio company Sudio, and had the pleasure of being able to try out their N2 earphones and N2 Pro earphones. These models sit in the upper-middle of the companies range, and while much of the technology is shared, there are key differentiators that sets the N2 apart from its N2 Pro sibling. Are the differences notable, and which one should you choose?

Sudio N2 specs

  • Bluetooth version: 5.3, SBC codec
  • Multipoint Bluetooth Connection: 2 devices
  • 10mm driver
  • Passive noise isolation
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Dual microphone
  • Weight: 7.5g (case: 34.62g)
  • 6 hours playtime (30 hours total)
  • Charging: USB-C, wireless
  • Colours: White, Black, Pink, Purple

Sudio N2 Pro specs

  • Bluetooth version: 5.3, SBC codec
  • Multipoint Bluetooth Connection: 2 devices
  • 10mm driver
  • Active noise isolation
  • Water resistance: IPX4
  • Weight: 8.2g (case: 38.8g)
  • 6 hours playtime (30 hours total)
  • 4 hours and 20 minutes playtime with ANC active (20 hours and 20m minutes total)
  • Charging: USB-C, Wireless
  • Colours: White, Black, Sand, Steel Blue

Unboxing the Sudio N2 and N2 Pro earphones

The packaging for both models is very similar, save for the glossy photo of the model contained within. Sudio is using packaging made out of renewable resources, part of their mandate towards sustainability. The N2 is contained in its own case with a top-flap, the earphones nestled in and covered by a thin, membrane-like silicon cover that’s easily removed, depending on whether you choose to use it or not. The tips are meant to protect the buds from grime, earwax and the like, but given that they seem to fall off quite readily it’s hard to see how effective they’d be longer term.

The N2 Pro, rather than being a solid plastic design with this auxiliary silicon covering, have the more comfortable (and, frankly, preferable) replicable ear-tip construction. Inside the box are a number of differing sizes, allowing you to make sure that you’ve got a comfortable fit. These silicon tips also help with passive noise cancellation, doing a decent job at drowning out outside noise whether or not you’ve engaged ANC.

Both models include a very short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and both are able to be wirelessly charged. The plastic is a slightly textured finish, making it easy to grip without slipping out of the hands, even if they are wet.

Using the Sudio N2 and N2 Pro earphones

As expected, the sides of the earphones are touch sensitive, allowing you to adjust volume, change track, answer calls, and activate the voice assistant on your mobile device. While there’s no Sudio app support with either model, you are able to do everything the earphones are capable off through these various gestures. The N2 Pro has the additional feature of noise cancellation and the on/off gesture is less obvious than some of the other actions. As explained in the included documentation, one must touch and hold for two seconds on the right earbud to enable/disable, while the same gesture on the left earbud is used to call up the voice assistant. On the regular N2, pressing and holding either left or right launches the assistant right away.

Thanks to Bluetooth 5.3, each model can be paired with two devices, allowing you to quickly switch from, say, your mobile phone to laptop without having to fully re-pair the device. While both use the relatively straightforward SBC codec, the advantage is excellent compatibility to just about any device, as well as extended battery life thanks to the lower bitrate transmission protocol. On earphones of this range, sticking to SBC while focusing on other elements can arguably be considered a benefit rather than a missed opportunity to incorporate some of the more robust, yet resource taxing codecs.

Sudio N2 and N2 Pro earphones audio quality

Despite sharing a considerable amount of technology, it’s quite illuminating how each earphone delivers its own unique sound signature. In fact, for those who may not be used to hearing closely matched pairs that actually perform quite differently, the N2 and N2 Pro sibling models would actually do wonders to educate about just how different a near-identical set can sound when tuned differently, or with a slight variation in the construction of the ear pads.

On first listen the N2 seemed to present a clean, if somewhat inarticulate, sound presentation, feeling a bit like things were floating in aural space but never quite cohering. I switched from more ambitious, vintage mixes to contemporary pop selections and they seemed to come more alive, clearly attuned to electronic beats more than to, say, the intricacies of a jazz ensemble. That’s not to say the N2 floundered with these other tracks, it simply felt like they did most of their heavy lifting when given highly compressed, driving tunes rather than more subtle fare.

The N2 Pros, in contrast, immediately illustrated their thump. These are much, much more bass heavy, and while that can interfere with the mid frequencies, making them feel a bit muddy at times, you’re certainly getting that sense of having a subwoofer inside your head with this model. Turning on ANC did change the sound signature, and not in particularly positive ways, so I, as per most models, found myself with it switched off, preferring the sound without (and resulting extended battery life). Thanks to the silicon tips, I actually found them pretty good at drowning out outside noise, so the need to enable ANC was obviated for the most part.

Overall, both models managed to deliver musical, immersive sound without ever cracking under the weight. Maximum volume was hardly ear-shattering, but it was sufficient (again, especially with modern mixes that eschew dynamics for riding the high peaks of volume) to listen comfortable at well under 80 percent volume even in noisy environments.

Final thoughts

The N2 earphones and N2 Pro earphones give you a tough choice to pick between. For most people I’d suggest it’s the form factor that’s of primary concern (if they’re not comfortable, you’re never going to use them), followed by how much you prefer your songs with the bass beefed up. The ANC offering is adequate but hardly stellar, so it shouldn’t be a primary differentiator at this range of offering.

I’m not a particular fan of the N2’s hard plastic construction that’s mirrored by other models, and yet I found myself drawn to them in contrast. Even though the sound was a bit more austere, it felt after a while like I was getting a bit more out of certain tracks. Now, I had the benefit of being able to go back and forth between both models, and if I was to only choose one, my personal selection would be the N2 Pro for its silicone ear tips just about every time. Still, the N2 is no slouch in the sound department, and most people would be set with either model as their daily drivers.

I continue to be amazed at the quality and caliber of sound that comes out of such small packages these days, and the boffins at Sudio have crammed quite a bit of musical fun inside these little buds. With either earphone I think listeners will be in for a treat, and if you have the ability to take a listen to both, back to back, you just might find yourself picking up both pairs to switch between different days and different tracks.

Shop more of Sudio’s audio offerings at Best Buy.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.