Urbanista London Earbuds – Review

Are the Urbanista London Earbuds the perfect earbuds for the city slicker? Maybe not...

  • Urbanista
  • www.urbanista.com
  • £129, $149, 149 €
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth audio players (full iOS, Android and Windows compatibility). Bluetooth 5.0.

Urbanista’s London earbuds boast an excellent feature set. Available in four colours (Midnight Black, Pearl White, Rose Gold and Dark Sapphire), they have a five-hour battery life with four full charges in the case. When it’s flat, you can charge the case using USB-C, or any wireless QI charger. The earbuds (not the case) fully charge in around an hour. A quick five-minute charge gives you half an hour’s play time, or ten minutes for an hour’s play and after half an hour on the charger you get 30 minutes’ music. Just the thing when you’re in a rush. IPX4 water resistance means they’re safe from splashes in any direction. Feel free to get sweaty at the gym wearing your Londons, or to go out in the rain while listening to your tunes.

Setting up Bluetooth audio devices is never particularly difficult, but if you don’t keep the instructions to hand, remembering what to press and for how long can be a pain. Not so here. All you have to do is open the case with the earbuds in it, and they enter Pairing Mode. It’s that simple. This is very handy if you change your phone a lot, or want to pair it with several different devices.

Built-in ear detection sensors pause your tunes when you take out an earbud and restart them when you replace it. An active noise-cancellation (ANC) feature cuts down on background din when you want to shut out the rest of the world, and for when you’d prefer to allow outside sounds in, there’s the Ambient Sound Mode (ASM).

Learning the controls on a new set of earbuds is often a chore, but these are simple. Tap the right or left buds to raise or lower the volume, tap and hold a bud to turn ANC and ASM on and off, with double taps to play, pause and take a call. Surprisingly, there’s no on-board means of skipping tracks, and the controls aren’t customisable in any way. But at least you don’t have to carry the manual around with you for a fortnight while you memorise their functions. Throw in Siri and Google voice controls and stereo phone calls, and you’ve a very respectable feature set at the price.

Unfortunately, the Urbanista London earbuds’ sound quality doesn’t match its excellent feature range. It’s not that it’s poor. It’s workmanlike rather than wonderful, adequate but not amazing. The bottom, middle and top ranges are reproduced fairly accurately, but the overall soundscape is too narrow, too compressed. The overall effect is like a heavyweight boxer who’s capable of delivering a knockout blow, but is pulling his punches and not fighting to his ability.

Once again, Urbanista London earbuds are far from poor, but their sound quality is outperformed by other earbuds at this price point.

Urbanista London Earbuds
  • Overall
3

Summary

A great feature set, but the sound quality is adequate rather than impressive.

+ Excellent feature set
+ Voice controls
+ Comfortable to wear
– Average sound

Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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