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The problem with many Bluetooth earbuds is that they lack that real style and end up taking far too many design cues from AirPods. The Urbanista Paris earbuds skirt a fine line between homage and straight-up copy but end up being pretty solid for the price.

As with most forms of technology, wireless earbuds seem to fall into a few camps. The Urbanista Paris earbuds follow the very popular and common Apple stem design but include silicone tips for better isolation and help provide passive noise cancellation. That means they are not unlike the recently released AirPods Pro at least at first glance.

Of course, the Swedish firm probably isn’t that well known in the US but it does have a substantial presence in Europe — with many stores offering these reasonably affordable and typically minimal Scandinavian-styled products right up near the checkout for added prominence. They’ve also worked with the Tim Bergling Foundation — better known as Avicii — on a number of projects in their native Sweden.

Focusing on design and the fashion element of audio is a sure-fire way to grab the attention of certain demographics and Urbanista will no doubt be aiming to follow in the footsteps of the original Beats by Dre headphones with the Paris earbuds — but on a much more modest scale and with what I would consider far more rounded audio.

Hardware & Design

I’ll start by praising the charging carry case, as the Urbanista Paris earbuds have my favorite carry-case for any earbuds I’ve tried at this point in 2019. In the matte white finish, it looks like a piece of chalk but feels like a bar of unused soap. I know that’s a weird way to describe it but the texture is amazing to hold.

The design is neat and the magnetic clasp is strong enough to withstand even the strongest of shakes. On the top, you’ll find the solitary written logo — the other being on the stem of each earbud. It’s all very minimal, which I think makes them far more appealing.

You can pick them up in four distinct colors: green, matte white, rose gold, and matte black. I’m glad my review unit came in the white or “Fluffy Cloud” option, although I have had friends ask if they are AirPods quite a bit.

Each bud has a large bulb with a nodule that holds the silicone tip. When in your ear, there is very little branding of note — except for a tiny Urbanista logo. I do really like how clean the overall package is, although the vent at the top might pick up gunk and dirt over time.

Comfort & Fit

Urbanista Paris comfort and fit

I am a fan of silicone tipped earbuds as they allow you to get that extra level of noise isolation that you don’t get otherwise. Not only that but they are far more snug in your ear than those without and that means if you’re active, they are less likely to fall out.

Urbanista includes two extra pairs of silicone tips in the box but I have stuck with the out-of-the-box tips as I found them the most comfortable. When nestled in your ear, the buds are reasonably lightweight and I have managed to keep them in for a few hours without any major discomfort. When worn at the gym, they managed to stay put without any issues too.

Pairing Process

Urbanista Paris pairing process

The pairing process doesn’t use an app, which means you connect using the in-built Bluetooth devices options within Android (or iOS). The Paris earbuds have a quirk whereby you connect to the left earbud, which then connects to the right earbud.

It’s not an uncommon quirk but it is something to note if you have never seen this before from a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.

Sound Quality

Urbanista Paris audio quality

When you first pair with your smartphone, there is a notable momentary ‘hiss’ that then quickly disappears after a few seconds. I found that this would reappear in the silent pause between skipping tracks on YouTube Music in spurts. It was odd but it didn’t detract from my listening experience when tracks were playing.

So the crux of any headphones, be they wireless or wired. The sound profile of the Urbanista Paris earbuds leans towards bass, but I’ve found the overall experience pleasant without being exceptional.

Some of that is thanks to the isolation you can get with the silicone earbuds, which really help seal the sound and block out external audio. Vocals can get lost in the bass in certain tracks which makes the audio feel a little enclosed in overly bass tracks — i.e. drum and bass, EDM.

Listening to some of my favorite tracks like The Verve’s Lucky Man and the experience is solid. Instrumentals are held together well at louder volumes and the overall soundstage — although modest — doesn’t leave me wanting. I wouldn’t suggest listening at high volumes though. For starters, this hammers the battery but the experience starts to fall apart a little bit. I’ve found the ideal volume level seems to be around the 65% mark.

When viewing YouTube videos, I have noticed a slight bit of audio lag. It’s not the worst I’ve seen but if you want to watch movies on your phone or tablet you might not want to pick up the Urbanista Paris earbuds.

The call quality is excellent. The shape, of the stem, means that the microphone is closer to your mouth and the person you are calling will hear you nice and clearly. As far as wireless audio goes, the stem design is far superior simply as it picks up your voice that bit clearer.

Controls

Unlike some other earbuds, the Urbanista Paris earbuds come with some basic touch controls that allow you to raise the volume, skip tracks and active the Google Assistant.

  • Tapping the R logo twice – Activates the Google Assistant
  • Tapping either earbud twice – Answers or ends phone calls
  • Touching the left earbud twice – Pauses and plays music
  • Single tapping the left earbud lowers volume
  • Single tapping the right earbud raises volume
  • Holding the left earbud for two seconds skips a track backward
  • Holding the right earbud for two seconds skips a track forward

All of the controls are easy to follow but the biggest inclusion is the volume controls. Not having to take your phone out of your pocket to manage your media is a real bonus.

Battery Life

Urbanista Paris

I’ve been impressed with the longevity offered by the Paris earbuds, as I’ve managed on average around four and a half on a single charge — which isn’t far off the five hours that Urbanista claim in their marketing material.

The case can top you up a further three times, giving you a grand total of 20 hours. Over a long weekend, I managed around 18 hours without having to plug in the USB-C charger. What is nice, is the addition of wireless charging compatibility — slapping on a wireless charge plate takes about an hour to go from zero to 100%.

Verdict

At the suggested retail price of $99, the Urbanista Paris wireless earbuds are pretty much in the middle of the price spectrum for what they offer. The sound is pretty solid and the overall package far exceeds the TicPods Free I praised over 12 months ago now. The design is similar to Apple’s AirPods with hints of the AirPods Pro but they offer a solid alternative without detracting too much from that popular aesthetic.

I love the carry case. It’s my favorite of any earbuds by far as it’s compact enough to slip into a pocket but also has the all-important USB-C and wireless charging capabilities right out of the box. There are not many pairs of Bluetooth earbuds under $100 that include both. Plus, it feels just so dang nice to hold.

With all of that said, the Urbanista Paris won’t be replacing my go-to OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 for everyday wear but they are most definitely a stylish and solid pair of earbuds

Where can I get the Urbanista Paris earbuds?

You can pick up the Urbanista Paris earbuds at a number of online retailers — although a Black Friday discount drops them to just $69 direct from Urbanista.

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About the Author

Damien Wilde's favorite gear