(Pocket-lint) - We're fortunate enough to test all manner of headphones at Pocket-lint, branching across a wide variety of feature sets and price points. What's particularly striking about the Urbanista Seattle Wireless is the subtle yet elegant design - achieved at an affordable price point.
It's been some years since we've found a pair of sub-£100 on-ear headphones with sound quality that will genuinely please, without breaking the bank, so can the Urbanista Seattle fill a gap that the AKG Y50 one ruled by adding in Bluetooth wireless?
Urbanista Seattle Wireless review: Design
- Matte plastic finish (multiple colour options)
- Soft-touch memory foam earcups
- In-line microphone for Siri/Google Now
- 3.5mm wired or Bluetooth 4.1 wireless
- Weigh 172g
The Urbanista Seattle Wireless don't look like a cheap pair of cans. The choice of matte plastic has an almost soft touch, avoiding the glossy, shonky plastic that even some far pricier headphones companies sometimes use. It's a good choice of material, plus it's lightweight.
The earcups are made with soft memory foam, which ensures comfortable prolonged listening periods - something that's not always common in on-ear headphones. With the Seattle Wireless, the headband doesn't pinch too tight at all, so ears never feel bullied by excessive pinch. It's a great-to-wear experience.
Branding is also kept to a minimum, which fits in perfectly with the subtle design language. There are four “S”-like logos to the outer parts of the hinges - as these are enfolding headphones, which can be folded for storage - alongside two written “urbanista” logos on the inside, hidden from view when being worn. These are bling "look at me" headphones, which works perfectly.
In addition to the 3.5mm wired connection, the Seattle Wireless (as the name suggests) also offers Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. Be rid of the wire, thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery and easy-to-connect single switch.
There are even controls built into the right earcup, so you don't have to have the fabric wire connected if you're looking to play/pause/skip track or answer a call. Nifty.
Urbanista Seattle Wireless review: Audio quality
- 40mm drivers, 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
- Micro-USB recharging, 12hrs battery life per charge
Sound-quality wise the Seattle Wireless are capable - but not exactly high-end. That's to be expected at this price point, plus we've been spoiled with the enthusiastic audio of the BeoPlay H9 and bass-burbling of the Beats Studio 3 Wireless of late. Which, ultimately, lack context - because you could buy three or four pairs of Urbanista Seattle.
At this level there's no fancy noise-cancellation, but we've found the Seattle Wireless does a decent job of isolating some exterior sound anyway. And in great comfort.
With a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz, the Seattle Wireless is equipped to handle bass and high-end in the same frequency range as many other pricier headphones. What it can't do, however, is deliver a sound profile that's as clean and separated: yes, there's bass, but it's not especially taut, while the mid-level lacks punch for the most sparkling of listens.
That said, the Seattle Wireless are loud and have drive to deliver a solid listen for the price point. So if affordability is top of your must-have list then, on balance, what Urbanista has produced here certainly delivers the goods. And once you're used to the sound profile it sounds perfectly decent.
Plus, at under £100, getting wireless connectivity is a boon. It's a solid connection, the battery lasts all day and is easy to recharge via Micro-USB (sure, we'd prefer USB-C, as it's the same cable as most Android phones these days, but can't win them all).
What the Urbanista Seattle Wireless can't quite deliver in audio perfection it more than makes up for in affordability and design.
There's ample bass, which is more than can be said of some other budget on-ear cans, while the subtle design and savvy material choices make for a comfortable long-term listen - whether wired or wireless.
If you want a cleaner, more enthusiastic sound profile then be prepared to pay a chunk of extra cash. As it stands, however, there's little else out there that will deliver such a generally well-rounded listening experience for this price point.
The alternatives to consider
If you're non-plussed about Bluetooth wireless than the one-champion affordable (but, admittedly, over-garish) AKG Y50 is a solid choice that can be picked up for around £65 these days.
Read the full article: AKG Y50 review