“The Athens are a pair of inexpensive and remarkably good sports-centric earbuds”
Eight hours of battery life
IP 67 weatherproof ranking
Bass bullies different frequencies
The Urbanista Athens are an unassuming little pair of true wi-fi earbuds. Between their generic look and far-from-premium worth, there isn’t numerous outward-facing qualities that may catch the attention of the common weekend warrior.
However, as we’re all certain to study time and time once more, seems may be deceiving. Pop Urbanista’s new $130 earbuds in, they usually begin to shine. These buds aren’t simply an incidental shock, however a formidable drive towards even a number of the finest workout-focused true wi-fi earbuds available on the market at this time.
Out of the field
It’s a minor quirk, however I all the time want the e book binding-style packaging that buds just like the Athens arrive in, versus the sleeve-style design of different earbud bins. There’s typically much less to take aside, and it’s a bit nicer with the ability to have the complete packaging open in your fingers. Urbanista even shows your information buds in a plastic casing for optimized gazing.
Nick Woodard/Digital Tendencies
Beneath the tray that holds the buds and wi-fi charging case, you’ll discover additional eartips and earfins in addition to the quick-start guide and a USB-C charging cable. It’s nothing you haven’t seen earlier than from most different true wi-fi earbuds, and certain not something you received’t see once more. That stated, I’ll proceed to notice these customary contents as a result of every part is a crucial a part of the ensemble. That charging cable, as laughably brief as it’s, would make for no laughing matter if it wasn’t included along with your buy.
Singing an identical tune to the Athens equipment, the setup course of is nearly what you’d count on from any trendy wi-fi earbuds. Pull the buds out of the case they usually’ll enter computerized pairing mode, leaving you to seek out them in your cell gadget’s Bluetooth settings and end the connection. Different critiques of the Athens famous that the buds didn’t all the time routinely pair, however I didn’t expertise this phenomenon in my time testing them.
Bluetooth 5 tech is constructed into these earbuds, accurately at this time limit. As with most of my Bluetooth 5 experiences, the reference to the Athens was strong and supplied loads of vary for shifting about the home and getting chores executed whereas nonetheless jamming out to Vitamin String Quartet covers. Sure, that’s completely a factor I do.
I’m admittedly captivated with the design of the Athens, because of their compact nature and admittedly completely different footprint than different sports-minded buds. More moderen sports activities buds I’ve examined, together with the JBL/Underneath Armour True Wi-fi Flash X and the Edifier TWS6, have distinctly extra pointed earfins. They each did job of retaining the buds safe however gave them a considerably bigger presence in your ear.
Nick Woodard/Digital Tendencies
Not so with the Athens, whose earfins are petite loops extending from the ends of the buds. As unpronounced as they’re, they nonetheless have actual traction in your ears and excelled throughout a number of runs and brisk walks throughout my evaluation interval with them. I discovered them to be extra snug in comparison with these bigger-finned rivals, although not fairly as comfortable because the Jabra Elite 75t or Elite Energetic 75t.
The wi-fi charging case is pleasantly small, too, reminding me of a barely smaller, dark-colored copy of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ charging case to a sure diploma. Talking of which, the Athens are presently solely out there in black. In case you had been seeking to take some artistic leaps along with your aesthetic, the Athens received’t be the buds that stand out in your ears. That stated, they’re completely satisfactory by way of attraction so far as black true wi-fi earbuds go.
Urbanista went with a multi-press management system with the Athens, which the brand on both sides serving as your button of selection. The guide lays out all of the controls very matter-of-factly, together with quantity management (gratefully), the power to pause and swap tracks, reply and finish calls, and voice assistant integration. In case you’re pondering that’s so much for 2 buttons, you’re proper, particularly since none of those controls are utilized by greater than two presses. It’s learnable, however not the best system, contemplating some instructions are situational — as an example, urgent the left brand twice pauses and performs tracks, but in addition solutions and ends calls.
Considerably surprisingly, the Athens punch out of their worth vary in terms of options. They’re not fairly knockout-strength uppercuts, thoughts you, however they’re vital jabs at rivals that price extra and supply much less.
The Athens boast eight hours of battery life, and three further costs for 32 hours of complete playback.
The Athens boast eight hours of battery life, and three further costs for 32 hours of complete playback. You may spend extra and get higher juice with rivals just like the Sony WF-SP800N, however you may also spend extra and sadly get much less. The Jabra Elite Energetic 75t supply 7.5 hours of battery life — which frequently got here nearer to seven in our reviewer’s testing — for almost $70 greater than the Urbanistas. That will say extra in regards to the expense of the in any other case glorious Elite Energetic 75t, but it surely does place the Athens to have a slight benefit on this class.
Nick Woodard/Digital Tendencies
Simply as intriguing is the truth that the Athens have an IP67 weather-resistance ranking, giving them full safety towards mud and make contact with in addition to safety towards 30 minutes of water as much as 1 meter of submersion. That’s overkill for what most folk will use these for, I’d assume, but it surely does enable Urbanista to market these buds as swim and bathe pleasant. It’s additionally a greater ranking than each the Energetic 75t and the JLab Epic Air Sport, which beforehand held the title of our greatest true wi-fi buds for figuring out. Trace. Trace.
The Athens have an IP67 weather-resistance ranking, giving them full safety towards mud and make contact with in addition to safety towards 30 minutes of water as much as 1 meter of submersion.
To be clear, I didn’t get an opportunity to take these buds for a swim, however I did enterprise into the bathe to check that waterproof ranking, and the Athens got here out squeaky clear on the opposite facet.
One other small characteristic of be aware with the Athens is stereo cellphone calls, which looks as if a minor perk till you’ve handled a pair of buds that solely affords mono sound for calls. It could simply be my private desire, however I’d a lot reasonably have that candy stereo sound for my conversations.
Audio high quality
If there was one space the place the Athens didn’t fairly overdeliver, it’s audio. To be clear, I don’t imply to phrase that prefer it’s a detrimental side of those earbuds. They’re $130 buds, they usually sound like $130 buds ought to: Objectively respectable, and in lots of instances good. I suppose most every thing else in regards to the buds set me as much as count on they’d carry out previous their worth as soon as once more, and as a substitute they sound like they must. Actually, that speaks volumes extra in regards to the different options of the Athens than it does about their sound high quality.
Nick Woodard/Digital Tendencies
The Athens are clear-sounding buds once they need to be, with tracks like Jake Shimabukuro’s rendition of Hallelujah not lacking a single pluck of the ukulele. Urbanista says it collaborated with audio engineer Axel Gretl on these buds, and with most music, it reveals. They do really feel like they’re making an attempt a contact too laborious in terms of low finish, particularly songs the place these bass notes are extra outstanding all through the observe. Readers of my previous critiques know that Lizzo’s music is a standard beginning spot for my bass testing, and the low finish in Reality Hurts appeared to take the remainder of the music hostage. I really like low frequencies as a lot as the subsequent listener, and I perceive highly effective bass may be impactful for athletes on the transfer. However it’s essential to toe that (bass) line and keep away from distracting from the remainder of the observe, and I assumed the Athens struggled with that in sure cases.
These buds don’t have lively noise cancellation, and on the $130 worth level, they’re not presently anticipated to own that performance. With price range buds just like the Edifier TWS NB breaking the mould, that’s doubtless going to vary quickly. However for now, the Athens get by with above-average passive noise cancellation, because of a cosy slot in your ears. They get loud, too, which after all aids in blocking out the undesirable sounds of your environment.
Urbanista doesn’t have numerous available details about the Athens’ microphones, however I can vouch that they make for high quality cellphone calls. Like I discussed above, I loved having stereo sound for calls, however maybe extra importantly than that, my voice was in a position to come throughout clearly on the opposite finish even amid noisier environment. My brother may barely hear the canines wrestling within the background whereas we chatted about our weekend plans.
The Urbanista Athens true wi-fi earbuds should not solely inexpensive, they overachieve in an important classes for lively earbuds. They will not be the gold customary, however they’re certainly price their weight within the stuff as exceptional sport-centric wearables.
Are there higher alternate options?
The $200 Sony WF-SP800N have lively noise cancellation, 13 hours of playback with out ANC on, and nice sound for $70 extra. The $120 Edifier TWS6 price $10 much less and include comparable battery life and probably higher sound, however don’t stack up by way of climate resistance with solely an IPX5 ranking.
How lengthy will they final?
The Athens include a one-year guarantee and an IP ranking that protects them towards almost every thing nature can throw at them. These buds are going to hold round.
Do you have to purchase them?
Sure. The Urbanista Athens excel in lots of areas they shouldn’t have, a minimum of so far as their inexpensive worth level would have indicated. With their above-average battery life, snug design, and weatherproof options, the Athens are the buds to purchase for the aspiring athlete.