What do you get when you combine the words ‘Swedish’ and ‘Audio’? Sudio! The Swedish company has released another set of true wireless earbuds called the FEM. Priced slightly lower than the competition at $139, let’s see what the Swedes can do for true wireless in this Sudio FEM Review.
Sudio FEM True Wireless Earbuds Review
The FEM has a 6 hour battery life, plus 2 full charges in the case. The box calls this 20 hours but my math gives me a total of 6 x 3 = 18 hours. Maybe a few hours get lost in the metric conversion. But the Bluetooth Version is 5, and the charging is quick via USB-C. The FEM also has a waterproof rating of IPX5, which means it can withstand sustained jets of water. This should be plenty waterproofing enough to stand up against a workout or a downpour.
Like Sudio’s other products, and Swedish products in general, the FEM has a classy and minimal aesthetic. Both the buds and the case use a rubberized silicone finish; completely black. The circular case is a departure from the rectangular cases typically accompanying true wireless buds. An old-fashioned-looking brown rope extends from the case to form a kind of keychain, or pendant.
In my opinion, the aesthetics of the FEM are a strong point. These things just exude class. They’re everything Scandinavian design strives for: understated, clean, and functional. And Sudio wisely avoids the cheap-feeling plastic finish that has become so common on true wireless earbuds and cases. The result is a premium look and feel suggestive of a much higher price tag.
I don’t want to exaggerate here, but the fit on the FEM is superb. Maybe it’s just my ears… I don’t know. But these are some of the most comfortable true wireless earbuds I’ve ever tried, period. The soft silicone finish on the buds, along with their molded shape helps them physically blend in with my ears. I could barely feel them at all!
I’ve had earbuds I’ve thought were comfortable before, but the FEM blows all of them away. I didn’t want to go too crazy praising the fit for fear that they may not be as comfortable for you as they are for me. But for me, they’re perfect.
Unfortunately, the Bluetooth controls are probably the FEM’s biggest weakness.
The earbuds use touch controls instead of a button; single, double and triple taps. The layout is intuitive, and the single taps respond well enough. But double and triple taps were a nightmare. Too often they would register as single tap, pausing the music instead of skipping forward or back. And the volume controls use three taps, with no sonic indication to let you know if you change it or not. I barely ever got that one to work correctly.
I tapped myself in the side of the head so many times while writing this review… so many times. I got so frustrated that I eventually gave up and used my phone to control everything. It’s disappointing because the FEM are a very strong pair of earbuds in most other regards.
I didn’t fall in love with the FEM’s sound signature, but it did impress me for the price. And I actually like the sound of these little more than a few earbuds in the $150-$170 range, which is extra impressive.
There is just a touch of satisfying bass presence, and the high end is delicate and detailed. But my biggest gripe is that the midrange (while also sporting some detail), is recessed and slightly far-away sounding. But the FEM has a pretty mellow sound-signature overall, so the mid-scoop may be fine if you’re into that kind of thing. The sound is presented in a balanced and relaxed way (like a mellow Helm 5), so I’m not complaining too much.
And for those of you wondering, the call quality is solid. Those tiny microphone pieces on the earbuds does seem to make a difference, in my experience.
Sudio FEM: Final Thoughts
The FEM are a decent little earbud, and sharp-looking too. I think they provide a viable alternative to the main mid-range contenders out there, though the price is only slightly cheaper. But honestly, if anything on the FEM is going to win you over, it’ll be the looks and the fit.
Pros- Classy Swedish aesthetic, great fit, decent sound.
Cons- Difficult Bluetooth controls, there are several other more distinctive models in this price range.
You can get the FEM when it releases on Sudio’s Website and you can use the code HIFI15 for a 15% discount. This brings the price to a much-more-competitive $118.15.
MajorHifi may receive commission from retail offers.