Urbanista has just released a brand new pair of earphones, aptly named London, the city we work in. They are a pair of active noise-canceling earphones, retailing at £129 in the UK and with the goal of clawing back some of the Airpod market share. They’ve priced it right and they look the part, let’s see how well they perform.
- Active Noise Cancellation with Ambient Sound
- Wireless charging
- 5hour playback, 25hour total
- Touch control
- Bluetooth 5.0
Unboxing & First Impressions
The earphones come in a hard cardboard box, complete with the charging case, 3 additional rubber earbuds (various sizes), and a short USB-C cable. The earphones are available in four different finishes, black, navy blue, rose gold, and white, which is the version we got. The case itself is incredibly lightweight and small, it’s easy to hold and will fit in your trouser pocket very easily. I’m seen larger cases, with lower battery life, so Urbanista have delivered on that front. The case has four small indicator lights to the front, showing battery life when you open the lid. To the rear is the USB-C port for charging. Open the lid and you are presented with the earphones.
The earphones do look somewhat like Airpod Pro’s, both in shape and size but it’s nowhere near a clone. The London’s have their own identity. As mentioned before, various rubber earbuds are included in the box, so you should be able to achieve a snug fit within your ear.
Set Up & Use
The Urbanista London is QI enabled for wireless charging and before first use, you should charge them up. Place the case on a wireless charging dock or plug them in with the provided cable and let them charge for a couple of hours. On first use, open the lid and then enter the Bluetooth settings on your smart device and pair. Once done, you’re ready to use them. What about that button inside the case? That’s a reset button, not a Bluetooth pairing button, and will only need to be used if the earphones lose pairing between the left & right. More on that in the instructions if it’s needed.
These are touch-sensitive earphones and that’s how you control them. To play/pause a track, double-tap the logo (which is the top section of the earphone) and volume up is a single tap on the right, down with the left. There are controls for answering calls, talking to your smart device assistant etc which are detailed in the instructions. To turn the active noise cancellation on, touch, and hold the logo on the right earbud for 2 seconds. To then active the ambient mode too, do the same but on the left earbud. Thankfully there are voice prompts associated with both those commands, so you easily know if ANC or ambient is on or off.
Also, the earphones include ear detection, so when you remove an earbud from your ear, the content will pause. Put the earbud back in and the content will automatically continue, which is a great feature to have. Low battery? You will hear a voice prompt when you have 30 minutes of playback left.
Audio performance from these little earphones is fantastic, given the price point, features and size. The audio profile is fairly well balanced, mids are prominent, highs are piercingly crisp and then there is just about enough bass to compliment them. I listened to a variety of tracks, rock, country, rap, I listened to a bit of everything and everything was enjoyable. If I was being picky and to suit my hearing, I would bring the highs down a little and the bass up but that’s just me!
Urbanista London includes active noise cancellation, so when you want to forget about the outside world, they will do just that and block out most external noise. Earphones tend to offer a decent amount of passive noise cancellation anyway, due to the rubber earbud being inserted into your inner ear but with the addition of ANC, it takes it up a level. Turning the ANC on, it’s easy to hear the difference straight away and there is a clear improvement in blocking out external sounds. Now if you’re walking down a busy street and want to hear some external sounds such as cars, activate the ambient mode. Volume is reduce, as is quality but it offers an option if you want to use it.
I’m very impressed with the audio performance but what about everything else? Well firstly, comfort and for me, I did find these comfortable to wear for long durations. That being said, they were not the most secure in my ears unfortunately and even after trying various sized rubber buds, I’ve still had more secure earphones in the past. Perhaps it’s a personal preference, based on the size and shape of my ears but I like earphones with the rubber hook included, It just makes it more secure for me. These are not advertised as sporty earphones in any way though, so if you’re looking for something to use while exercising, these may not be the ones for you.
The touch sensitive controls work really well, which is good. The controls take some getting used to, which ear to press and for how long, but once learned, they’re very easy to control. Although the touch area is quite small, I didnt have a problem finding it, nor did I have to push down with any force either for it to recognise my finger.
Charging the earphones was a breeze, I’d place the case on my QI pad and forget about it. Battery life seems very good, 5hours playback is very achievable but will be hard to hit, as you’ll always put them back in the case and will likely always be fully charged.
Urbanista delivers again with their London earphones. Excellent audio performance, sleek & discrete appearance, well priced and long battery life. I would have liked them a little more secure but that’s a preference of mine.
To find out more or to purchase, head over to the official Urbanista London webpage.