New Normal blends timeless style and PowerBeats-like design for a new take on wireless earbuds


At this point, it seems fairly difficult to reinvent Bluetooth earbuds. We’ve seen memory foam inserts, truly wireless designs, low-cost alternatives and even made in America options. Simply put, it feels like we’ve reached peak earbud.

New Normal begs to differ. After developing an intriguing 3D printed earbud design process, Quirky alumnus and founder Nikki Kaufman has a new project up her sleeve. Or on her ears for that matter. The New Normal Bluetooth Headphones take that existing technology and wrap it in a new product best described as a Bang & Olufsen meets PowerBeats mash-up. There are two different models available that are designed for professionals and athletes. It’s hard to imagine a new set of buds we haven’t seen, but it looks like Kaufman is on to something…

With pre-order prices between $99 and $149, New Normal’s latest enters a competitive space of the market with big names like JayBird and Beats vying for top billing. Aside from its guaranteed perfect fit, these headphones are betting heavily on a unique design. The two models offer visual differences but are functionally the same.

Both renditions feature a long band that extends from one ear to the other and rests tightly against the back of your head. Each end has a five-axis earbud that offers “the perfect seal & positioning of the driver, cable, and ear lock.”

At the elbow joint is a hidden USB charger that extends to connect to power sources. New Normal proudly states that its headphones are “truly wireless” in this regard. On the other side you’ll find capacitive touch controls that handle playback and volume. Each model offers eight hours of battery life and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

The $99 Sweat edition is focused on, you guessed it, active lifestyles. New Normal opts for a silicone band and sporty design with bright accent colors much like Beats’ Active Collection. It is also water-resistant and comes in black or red. Jump up another $50 with the Suit model ($149) for a brown or black Napa-sourced leather band with champagne anodized aluminum components.

Each model is available for pre-order today with an expected delivery date of “late spring or early summer.” New Normal will throw in a free t-shirt with each purchase.

If you’re not ready to take a risk on a new brand, here are three different earbud models that we recommend at varying price points. Our budget pick is the Mpow Magneto headphones, which are currently available for $26 w/ code MGWNG3MA (Reg. $30). Step up to Sol Republic’s Shadow ($95) or JayBird’s newest model, the X2 ($135) for a higher build quality.

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