While it seems like – as of late – that I’ve been all about the over-ear headphones (which I must admit are great for working from home), I’m also still a fan of earbuds. I used them back when I went to the gym (in the before days), for popping onto a quick phone call, and even now when I go out for my morning jog. One of the latest I’ve checked out are the Urbanista Athens earbuds.
If you recall, we first brought you word of what Urbanista was doing with their Miami ANC headphone (covered here). While we’re waiting for the Miami to become available for review units, we asked if we could take a look at the Athens (notice a city naming theme, aren’t you?) While I’ve reviewed a number of different earbuds, these are the first ones I’ve gone hands-on with that rely on the small silicone loop to hold things in place.
More often than not, earbuds rely on the silicone tips and their friction to hold the earbuds steady, and also with a small stem that comes down, sort of snugging things into the ear lobe (and dropping the mic down a touch). On the other hand, the Urbanista Athens earbuds are just small little pods that you pop into your ears. Sure, the silicone tips do help things in place (and there are a few to choose from in the box), but you can use that silicone loop as a second point to keep the earbuds in place.
With the Urbanista Athens earbuds offering an IP67 waterproof rating (here’s an explainer on that from TrustedReviews), that would make it seem like they’re well-suited for activities where things might get a bit damp – for instance, exercise. I wouldn’t take these out in the pouring rain, but in terms of keeping the electronics safe from your sweat, you should be good to go. It’s in these more active scenarios that the earloop can really prove itself.
So, what did I do? I took the Urbanista Athens earbuds out with me on my morning jogs. And, wouldn’t you know it, it stayed quite well in place. For myself, what I did was place the earbuds in, and then gently twist them backwards until I felt that loop touching the ear. Regardless, these things are fairly light (each earbud is just 6 grams) so they won’t move around much. And, even with my less-than-pro stride hitting the trails, it really didn’t feel like they moved around.
So, that’s good, right? Of course, these are earbuds, so we also want teh Urbanista Athens earbuds to sound good. Now, with 6mm drivers, you’re not going to expect some deep bass coming out of them. For exercise purposes, though, you just want something there in the background. For me, that often takes the form of podcasts, and these earbuds worked well for reproducing that spoken word. I did try them out for music as well, and it got the job done. Again, those smaller drivers skew a bit to the higher end, but there was some bass still in there.
Another thing I want to call out for the Urbanista Athens earbuds are the controls. While many earbuds rely on touch controls, you’ve actually got physical buttons, right in the center. That means you get a satisfying tactile click, and you’re not wondering if you managed to get a finger onto the exact right spot on the earbud.
Coming in at $129.99, the Urbanista Athens earbuds are a compelling option to have a true wireless set of earbuds to have with you on a workout, without worrying about them falling out. And in those cases, the lack of noise-cancellation isn’t something you’ll likely miss, as hearing what’s going on around you is a benefit. On the other hand, if you want a set of earbuds just for the occasional call on the cell phone (in a charging case that fits into your pocket or bag), you might find the price a bit higher than what you might like. For me, I liked the lightweight and small earbuds that simply stayed in place while I was on the trail. urbanista.com
Details from Urbanista
- Driver unit: 6mm
- Bluetooth Version: 5.0
- Charging Time: 1h
- Total playtime: 32h
- Standby Time: 400h
- Battery (in mAh): 50mAh/earbud
- Working Range: 10m +
- Mic Distance: 20cm
- Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20KHz
- RF Output Power: 7.70dBm
- Impedance: 16Ω ± 15%
- Sensibility: +/- 3dB at 1kHz
- SNR: 80.891dB
- Audio Codec: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, APTX