“Good ANC cannot compensate for muffled sound and poor controls at this value.”

Nicely designed and comfy

Excellent ANC for the worth

Poor sound high quality

Mediocre name high quality

Common battery life

No Bluetooth multipoint pairing

No monitor skipping

By way of sheer reputation, it’s onerous to beat Apple’s AirPods with regards to true wi-fi earbuds, which is why Amazon is suffering from low cost AirPods wannabes. However with regards to true wi-fi earbuds that even have energetic noise cancellation (ANC), it’s Apple’s $249 AirPods Professional which have stolen the highlight.

So when Swedish audio model Urbanista introduced its new London True Wi-fi ANC earbuds, with a laundry record of options that put them toe-to-toe with the AirPods Professional, however with a price ticket that’s $100 cheaper, it received our consideration.

Can the London True Wi-fi ANC really ship AirPods Professional-like efficiency for simply $149?

Let’s discover out.

Design

Apple AirPods Professional (left) and Urbanista London Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Perhaps it’s not honest to check a $149 set of true wi-fi buds to a pair that price nearly twice as a lot, however I feel Urbanista needs you to consider the Londons as an AirPods Professional different.

They’re a few of the most comfy in-ear buds I’ve ever worn.

That a lot is evident while you have a look at them. From the elongated stem that drops down from the principle earbud, to the gently rounded form of the bud itself, to the location of the silicone tip and the in-ear detection sensors — nearly each one among Apple’s design cues is current within the Londons. That’s very true while you organize them within the pearlescent white coloration, although the Londons are additionally accessible in navy, black, and rose gold.

As a lot as I’d want to see Urbanista do an unique tackle the true wi-fi earbud system, there’s no denying that following in Apple’s footsteps results in some good outcomes. The Londons look good, and so they really feel good too. In actual fact, they’re a few of the most comfy in-ear buds I’ve ever worn. So long as the principle physique of the earbud matches inside your ear’s concha (the half that’s on the surface of the ear canal) you should not have any drawback discovering a cushty match by selecting from among the many 4 sizes of silicone eartips that Urbanista consists of. Talking of these eartips, they’re created from very high-quality silicone, which I actually admire. Too many earbud makers low cost out on this necessary half.

The London carry an IPX4 ranking for water resistance. That’s adequate for a really sweaty exercise on a wet day.

Charging case

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The charging case is a departure from Apple’s design, however that’s principally a very good factor. It’s received a cultured, rounded-corner clam-shell form with clearly seen battery life LED indicators below the entrance lip. The lid opens simply and snaps closed firmly due to magnets which might be completely balanced of their power. With barely bigger total dimensions, it’s not fairly as pocketable because the Apple charging case, nevertheless it’s very shut — and it has nearly the identical weight.

Popping the earbuds out and in of their recessed docks is straightforward and so they keep put when seated.

The case makes use of a contemporary USB-C connector for wired charging, however there’s wi-fi charging too — simply set the case down on any Qi-compatible mat.

Battery life

The similarity to the AirPods Professional continues with regards to battery life, although on this case, Urbanista ought to have charted its personal course.

At simply 5 hours of play time per full cost, the London are on par with Apple’s buds, however lately, that’s not saying a lot. Most new true wi-fi earbuds — even ones that price far much less — exceed this quantity by two to 6 hours.

With a 10-minute fast cost, you will get an hour’s value of play time and the charging case will absolutely cost the London 4 instances, for a complete of 25 hours of unplugged motion.

Noise cancellation

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

On the ANC spectrum, you’ll discover all the things from the sunshine contact of the Amazon Echo Buds, which use Bose’s noise discount know-how to softly easy out undesirable sounds, to the AirPods Professional which ship an nearly unnerving cone of silence.

The Urbanista London fall someplace within the center, which is to say they do certainly block out a good quantity of sound — particularly predictable, fixed seems like followers. To get considerably higher ANC efficiency, you’ll have to spend so much greater than the London’s $149 value.

I like that you could select between ANC on and off, and that there’s an ambient mode that lets some exterior sounds in — useful throughout telephone calls and whereas working or strolling by way of an city panorama. However I want there have been a approach to alter the ANC stage through an app, which has change into a reasonably normal possibility amongst ANC earbuds and headphones alike.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

I want I may heap extra reward on the London, however sadly, right here’s the place I hit a wall. To say that they sound common can be to set a really low bar for the common set of true wi-fi earbuds, which is sort of good. No, the Londons sound a lot worse than that. Think about taking a very good set of earbuds, like Sony’s WF-1000XM3 (troublesome to think about when you haven’t really heard them, however go along with me on this) however earlier than you place them in your ears, you stuff a wad of cotton balls in entrance of your eardrums first.

To say that they sound common can be to set a really low bar for the common set of true wi-fi earbuds.

That risky-sounding mixture is kind of what the Londons seems like. You possibly can inform that someplace, deep inside their elements, there’s a full, wealthy sound that desires to return out. Bass, midrange, and presumably some respectable excessive frequencies are there, nevertheless it’s as if all of them are trapped behind an invisible gauzy layer of fabric that flattens all the things out right into a boring, lifeless sign.

I actually pulled off one of many eartips to see if there was a bodily obstruction.

Sadly, Urbanista doesn’t have an app for the Londons, so there’s no approach to tweak their EQ in an try and compensate. Not that I feel it might make a lot distinction.

Name high quality

The Urbanista London can definitely be used for telephone calls, but when name high quality issues so much, it’s possible you’ll need to look elsewhere.

They tend to select up on background sounds greater than another wi-fi earbuds I’ve tried and the standard of your voice when chatting with callers is mediocre. The one who sometimes fields my earbud check calls mentioned it gave the impression of I used to be very removed from the mic.

Controls and ease of use

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Pairing the London could be very straightforward — merely open the case with the buds nonetheless inside, and search for the machine in your Bluetooth accent record in your telephone. Sadly, they’re not geared up with Bluetooth multipoint, so you may solely pair them with one machine at a time.

There’s additionally no method to make use of only a single earbud due to the damage sensor that routinely pauses music while you take away an earbud — performance that may’t be disabled.

Surprisingly, there’s no means to skip tracks, which I’d argue is extra necessary than quantity management.

The one exception is when making or receiving calls, which may be carried out utilizing simply both of the earbuds on their very own.

The London use a touch-sensitive management space on every earbud, marked by the Urbanista brand on the tops of the stems. Like many contact controls, it is advisable to be fairly correct when tapping; faucet too low on the stem and it received’t reply.

The Londons are extra finicky with touches than I’d like. Double faucets have been typically interpreted as single faucets, which turned annoying after some time.

You get the usual assortment of controls, together with play/pause, quantity up/down, name reply/finish, however surprisingly, there’s no means to skip tracks, which I’d argue is extra necessary than quantity management when you’re going to choose between these two capabilities.

You possibly can flip ANC on and off, in addition to activate the ambient mode, however with regards to voice assistants, solely Siri is absolutely supported.

As a result of absence of an app, there’s no approach to reconfigure what the varied faucet sequences do, or which earbud they’re assigned to.

Our take

Characteristic for function, the Urbanista London needs to be a slam-dunk contemplating their comparatively cheap value and accessible ANC. They definitely get numerous issues proper, particularly by way of design, match, and luxury. Sadly, the London miss the mark in key areas like sound high quality, name high quality, and non-customizable controls.

Is there a greater different?

If energetic noise cancellation isn’t a must have, there are nearly too many nice true wi-fi earbuds to record. Most of them price lower than $100, and I feel all of them sound higher than the London.

If ANC is vital and also you need to keep below the $200 mark, try the Edifier TWS NB and the Panasonic RZ-S500W. Each present nice sound high quality, ANC, and lots of extra options than the Urbanista London for $200 or much less.

How lengthy will they final?

Backed by a one-year restricted guarantee, the Urbanista London appear to be properly constructed, with high quality supplies.

Their IPX4 ranking provides them safety from some water publicity, and so long as you don’t abuse them, they need to final so long as a lot of the true wi-fi earbuds you should buy proper now.

Must you purchase them?

No. As tempting as it might be to purchase a set of energetic noise canceling true wi-fi earbuds for simply $149, I doubt you’ll be pleased with how they sound.

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