The Tranya Nova earbuds enter a market that's more saturated than ever before. Love them or hate them, the Apple Airpods have heralded high-performing wireless in-ear headphones' relentless march into the mainstream, with no sign of the flood abating any time soon.
But are these new buds, from an emerging brand with seemingly high ambitions, and coming in at an attractive sub-$100 price point, up to the task of claiming a spot among the best noise-cancelling earbuds around today? Or will they get lost in the stream of Airpods rivals and clones?
I got a pair in for testing over a number of weeks to find out.
Tranya Nova review: Key specs
|2x ca. 5g
|12mm dynamic driver
|Playback time with battery (earphones):
|Ca 9 hours
|Playback time with battery (earphones w. charging case):
|Ca 36 hours
Tranya Nova review: Design and build
The design here, in the main, is Very AirPods. The most distinctive is the 'stick'-like prong that sits on the outside of the ear when fitted, onto which there are three mics fitted (on each unit), housing the call and some of the audio tech. The in-ear part is slightly contoured, with the earpiece jutting out at an angle, with three different rubber nibs available to choose from for the ideal fit.
I am not always on good terms with earbuds, but these generally fit well, thanks to the contoured in-ear piece. I couldn't find my Cinderella nib, so opted for the small option, even though it led to a looser in-ear fit, as I preferred that over the next size up, which started hurting me fairly quickly.
The finish on the earbuds is attractive and shiny, and is available in any colour you want, as long as it's black. The logo and brand is visible on the prong, but thankfully it isn't too garish, as the logo is a tasteful S-like design and the name is imprinted in slightly lighter grey than the black of the bud itself.
They're very light, and fitting them is quick and relatively easy. Slot them in and twist to affix in your ear and you're ready to go.
Tranya Nova review: Features and performance
The Tranya Nova earbuds offer active noise cancellation where you can switch between an off-setting, ambient and NC on, which does a really effective job of blocking out the world for those focus sessions. The ambient setting was also good for me as someone who likes working with music in my ears but needs to be available for the doorbell and anything my son will need as I work mostly from home. The ANC isn't quite as dramatically efficient as the one in the Technics EAH-AZ80s I tested a few months ago, but well in line with expectations.
The 12mm dynamic audio drivers deliver good, rangy sound with decent bass and good highs, although due to the slightly awkward fit for me, I kept having to readjust them slightly as they became loose over time, which meant my ears didn't pick up the entirety of the sound range all the time.
The call quality is enhanced by triple mics on each side, and was generally very good, at least on par with AirPods and similar products, although environmental noise reduction trailed behind some other earbuds I've tested recently, meaning I struggled a little (and I do mean just a little) more in loud environments than on the aforementioned Technics, for example.
Pairing and connectivity is very decent too, where they paired effortlessly with every device I tested them with. Another boon is the multi-device pairing, where I was connected to both my laptop and phone at the same time, so could listen to music or do video calls on the laptop while being able to take incoming calls without having to rush to remove the earbuds and pick up the phone.
Long-term comfort was a little bit of an issue for me, but less so than on many 'pronged' earbuds, due to the slightly contoured design of the in-ear unit.
Tranya Nova review: Battery life
The Tranya Nova earbuds claim 9 hours of play with noise-cancellation off, and up to 36 when topped up with a fully charged case (for trips where you might not find a charging outlet for your case). They lasted me through workdays without issue, so that battery-life claim seems fairly accurate.
The buds and case can be charged wirelessly too, which is a nice touch (if not an essential function).
Tranya Nova review: Price
The Tranya Nova buds normally retail for $99/£89, but discounts are often available, either on Tranya's official website or with retailers online. Using the discount code NOVA15US gives you a 15% discount as well, at the time of writing. We've seen prices below $80 in the States and under £70 in the UK, to give you an idea of what you could expect. This makes them much cheaper than Apple AirPods, and I found them no less comfortable than those, their sound performance was near enough on par too.
Should I buy the Tranya Nova earphones?
For the price, the Tranya Nova noise-cancelling earbuds offer very decent sound and good enough call quality for most situations. The hybrid ANC works well, and the comfort is on par with Apple's own AirPods. The sound range doesn't compare with range-toppers, but at the price point you can get those, it's definitely good enough to meet expectations. Wireless charging and neat design then sweeten the deal further. They're not quite the best noise-cancelling earphones out there, but for the price, Tranya Nova does quite a good job.