Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

4 Nov 2020

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele - REVIEW

Something of a bonus mid-week ukulele review for you today, simply because I am getting so over-run with instruments in the office! This is the new Soprano 'Mini' version of the Enya Nova U Ukulele!

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele

Regular shoppers in the ukulele world cannot have missed the incredibly popular Enya Nova U Concert ukulele, and in fact I reviewed one myself at the back end of 2019. I would urge you to re-read that review alongside this one as I don't have a habit of re-reviewing models in different scales - not least because the details will be so similar to each other.  As such, this will be a much shorter review just covering the basics, so the concert review will provide you with more background to what the ukes are about, how they are made  etc.  (Link below). I should also point out that whilst Enya send me quite a few ukes for review, I bought this one myself. I do that with brands from time to time to provide more balance and try to catch out the 'oh, they must have sent you a good one' element to reviews! Enya don't know I have this one!... Yet!


So yes, it's very similar. In fact this follows the concert version pretty much identically - just a bit smaller all round.  It's made from the same polycarbonate with carbon fibres added to it for strength. This time they claim it's a 30% addition which is 5% more than they told me with the concert.. (make of that what you will).  It's the same two piece construction with the back, sides and back of neck being one part and the top with integral bridge, fingerboard and headstock face being the other. The two are put together in a clamshell to create the whole uke. It's the same Les Paul shape that I liked, and has the same flame motif sound-hole cutouts in the top. This one is in the same black as the Concert I looked at, though it looks like they only offer this scale in black. They also seem to have dropped the transacoustic pickup option from the soprano. Like the concert, the 'black' is actually a coating over the core material, which I presume is done to both give colour options, but to also give it a smoother and more uniform outer finish.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele body

The biggest difference of course is in the scale length. The Nova U Concert was  actually a bit of a hybrid concert scale at 16 inches, putting it half way between average concerts and tenors. This one comes in at very nearly 14 inches, so half way between average sopranos and concerts! Certainly a different scale to the original but not dramatically so. Yet it does feel a lot smaller to hold.

The bridge is the same slot style fitted with a similar black compensated top saddle meaning really easy string changes. String spacing here is 43mm.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele bridge

Another difference in the body is that you get no strap buttons as you do on the concert. None at all. I presume they figure that sopranos are easier to hold without (which they are I suppose), but I do know many soprano players who like to use one. That does present something of an issue for some as I am never that comfortable drilling into plastic for strap buttons due to the chance of stressing the plastic... Otherwise the body is very similar in looks and feel. Oh.. there is one other difference. On the concert you get a side sound port on the upper shoulder, but it disappears on the soprano. I am neither positive or negative about sound ports, so I don't regret it not being there, but I know some of you like them. Doesn't bother me at all.

One final thing - having that same matte finish in black means it is an absolute fingerprint and smear magnet... as you can see!


Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele sound hole

Naturally I can't get a photo inside as there is no way to get the camera in - but I can't imagine there is much to see. There wasn't on the concert.

The neck is very similar, and has the same moulded fretboard with integrated frets. You get one less fret than the concert though on account of the shorter scale (17 here), but it's still joined at the 13th fret. Star position markers in white are in the same places at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th. Side dots remain absent as they were on the concert, so that's a real shame. Such an easy thing to remedy.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele neck

The nut is also integral and something I complained about slightly on the concert at being a touch narrow for me. Here it is just under 35mm so notionally narrower overall though largely the same, but has a FAR roomier 28mm G to A. Interesting! Beyond this is the same shaped headstock with the Enya logo screen printed in gold.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele headstock

The tuners are the same gold metalwork gears as on the black concert, and again I think the colour jars against the black personally. They work ok though.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele tuners

Finishing this off you get a little less in the deal than the Concert. Whilst you get the same zippered pod 
case (though now with a shoulder strap), spare strings and a tuner, you don't get a strap (duh... no strap buttons), or a capo. You do get the same Enya strings fitted (which I don't like!) and, perhaps naturally, you pay a little less too. These are on Amazon with free delivery at £52.99 or $59.99 in the USA. A bargain I suppose.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele case

The build and finish is on a par with the concert insofar as it feels well put together and secure in the hands without any flaws or sharp edges. It's light at only 430g and is balanced too. There were some early reports about fret wear on the concerts, but I have not heard more about those and I certainly didn't experience it myself.  Maybe they solved it by adding more carbon? 

Sound wise, the volume here is very good and you will have no trouble being heard. Sustain is only average, but then I guess that it IS a soprano. And to play I personally find it much more comfortable than the concert version, not least because of that extra string spacing, but I find the body of the uke just nestles into the arm more comfortably.. But hey, I'm a soprano fan. It makes it more of a 'grab and go' uke for me and I like it for that.

Tone wise it's actually not something I considered to be wildly different to the concert. Perhaps a bit brighter, but I like it and possibly prefer it for that fact. It sounds more  like a concert to me than a soprano in reality, but it does still have a nice soprano jangle and staccato element to the tone allowing it to create bouncy strum patterns with ease. The notes are really clear too and don't come across as muddy or lost.. 

And then you fingerpick it and I found it's really chimey and has a pleasant character that I don't tend to associate with sopranos either. Really rather nice for a plastic uke! Chimey in fact!

To be honest though, absolutely anything I say here on tone is going to be totally subjective. Some will prefer the concert, some will prefer this one. Neither are bad sounds, and both are really cheap instruments that are well put together.

Enya Nova U Mini Soprano Ukulele back

I personally think this is another no-brainer and hard to pick against the concert version. Sure if you must have strap buttons, want a colour choice or the option of the pickup system, the concert is your only choice. But this is still a great, tough, fun little ukulele which actually feels like a concert to me. The saving in money for many people will be enough to sway them. 

Dare I say it, for me personally this has a certain 'cute' comfort factor that beats the concert (I will FOREVER regret typing that!....) and I prefer it to hold.  Yes, it scores very slightly lower overall for lack of colour choice and as I think for those wanting to add a strap will be disappointed, but.... I think I would pick this one personally. 

It reminds me of the time people asked me to pick a favourite between the Flight Travel and the Flight Long Neck travel. It's a case of 'six and two three's' really. You will not be going wrong with either here, and the choice can only be made by you. Recommended either way.






UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Enya Nova U Mini
Scale: Soprano
Body: Polycarbonate with carbon added
Bridge: Slot style
Saddle: Plastic, compensated
Spacing at saddle: 43mm
Neck: Same material as body, integral
Fingerboard: Same material as body, integral
Frets: 17, 13 to body
Nut: Same material as body, integral
Nut width: 34.8mm, 28mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded open gears in gold
Weight: 430g
Country of origin: China
Strings: Enya fluorocarbon
Extras: Spare strings, pod case, clip on tuner
Price: £52.99

UKULELE PROS

Still think the looks are great
Same secure solid feel to the construction
Much better string spacing
More comforting to hold for me
Good volume
Clear bright tone that is a lot of fun
Great price


UKULELE CONS

Lack of strap buttons may challenge those wanting them
No side markers
No colour options
Total fingerprint magnet!

UKULELE SCORES

Looks - 9.5 out of 10
Fit and finish - 8 out of 10
Sound - 8.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9.5 out of 10

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 8.9 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW






GOT A UKULELE IS NOT PAID BY BRANDS OR SHOPS - DONATIONS KEEP THE SITE GOING!


THANKS!

4 comments :

  1. Hi, Barry.
    I just purchased an Enya Niva soprano. Two pleasant surprises--strap buttons and side markers/frets
    As ever, thank you for your reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just picked this up ona sale from Amazon $48 us, an absolute steel...on a side note, I would luv to see a review on the Enya euc-mad...juat picked this up as well and I think it's great, got a great deal on Amazon prime day...thank you for these reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi looking at buying an Enya mini u and can only find them sold on Amazon with £80 delivery fee. Do you know where they can be purchased from elsewhere in the UK. Many thanks...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They occasionally appear on Amazon as fulfilled by Amazon with no delivery - other than that though, afraid not.

      Delete

Please leave me a comment!

Please Help Keep This Site Going!

If you enjoy this blog, donations are welcomed to allow me to invest more time in bringing you ukulele articles. Aside from the Google ads, I don't get paid to write this blog and for reasons of impartiality a not sponsored by brands or stores. Your donations all go back into the site to allow me to keep bringing you reviews, and in the end the ukuleles acquired are given to local schools and charities.