Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones: Strong Bass and Good Treble. Good strong in ear earbuds.

When it comes to headphones, there are as many options as there are opinions. Do you prefer single flange, double flange or triple flange? Do you prefer wired vs wireless? What about in ear , on ear or around ear? For the in-ear, do you prefer deep insertion or shallow insertion? Foam or silicone? In the end, the best advice is to chose the tip that produces the most comfortable fit and produces the best sound that wins out. Do not even look at cheap earbuds without tips, those that just sit at the ear opening are typically not worth evaluating. They tend to not isolate sound and you have to turn up the volume to hear the subpar sound.

Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones Review

I have been given a set of single flange silicone earbuds by Urbuds. This set of earbuds comes packaged within a bland cardboard box with the title Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphone. I wish that there was some more attention placed on the packaging. Packaging that does not capture the attention of passersby, will not do as well as more informative and unique designs. Flipping the box over, you can see a few of the features to include Bluetooth 4.1, noise cancellation, excellent battery performance and comfortable secure design. This packaging does not make you want to buy the device, does not make you want to take a second look. However, the product is better than the advertising suggests.

Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones Review

Opening the lid of the box, you are treated to two compartments separated by cardboard. In the lower compartment are the earbuds in semi-opaque plastic. In the compartment above, is a ziplock bag with the USB A to USB micro cable and two additional sets of earbud tips (duplicate of the medium) and a set of the small rubber tips. There is no power supply, there is no way to charge the device out of the box. You will need to plug this into a computer or plug it into an already owned USB power source.

Instruction Manual:
The manual is written in English only, but has some obvious deficiencies with the language. The font is quite small. The manual details the latest Bluetooth technology and supported Bluetooth Profiles. Current version is Bluetooth 4.1. Supported profiles include: A2DP (Bluetooth protocol that allows your device to stream mono vs stereo to the headset). This also supports HSP (Headset Profile), HFP (Hands Free Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Visual Remote control profile allows the Bluetooth device to control the source through remote control features like play/pause and next/last). The manual promises 4-5 hours of talk time, a range of 33 feet (standard for Bluetooth), a standby time of 180 hours. Charging time 2 hours. It weighs 0.71 oz. Page 2 details the product diagram.Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones Review

 

My favorite features are the included slider and the ear hooks. This device does have a Microphone, LED indicator, volume/track buttons, multi-function (call/play/pause/power) button and a charging port. Like many of the Bluetooth headsets, the controller is too close to the ear, you cannot see the buttons. I find that once the hook is on the ear and the flange is in the ear, I really do not want to have to mess with the controller. Having the controller too close to the ear does also cause some downward pull on the ear and makes the ear fatigue quicker. I think the slider is the most unique piece of these headsets. IT is very common for the cord to dangle and pull the earbuds out of the ears. This helps to provide another level of customization. Slide the slider up or down to your personal comfort.

Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones Review

The manual continues to show you how to wear the device (yes it does show this process). Simply place the hook over the ear and insert the ear bud into your ear. Remember that the company does include an extra set of the medium and a set of the smaller ear buds. Charging the device is straight forward as there is a charging port on the side of the controller. Plug the microUSB into the device and then into a power source. It will fully charge in 2 hours, which has been tested and is mostly accurate. This really depends on the degree of remaining power. It will not take much time to charge as it is only a LiPo 60mAh battery. There is a low battery indicator on the device as a red LED indicator will flash and you may hear a robotic voice announce “battery low.”

The Device:
To turn on the device simply press the multifunction button for 3 seconds you will hear a series of ascending beeps. Hold it for 4 seconds the LED will flash red (you cannot see it if it is in your ear) and you will hearing descending beeps. This device allows for pairing with 2 devices, which actually worked okay. I had this paired to both my iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6s Plus. I then disconnected it from my iPad Air 2 and linked it to my wife’s Galaxy S5. The first time you pair the device, hold the multi-function button for 5 seconds and you will see alternating red/blue lights. This time you should actually see the lights, as it should not yet be placed onto the ears. Go into your device settings, Bluetooth. You should see Urbuds S1. Choose this option. I did not have to enter a code or pin on either my iPad or iPhone or Galaxy S5. Turn off the device and repeat with the second device. It will chose to favor device 1 automatically (my iPhone). Double touching the multifunction button will call the last number. This is a somewhat annoying function in that if you hold the button too long it powers off, press it once and it will answer a call, end a call etc. There is not much of a difference between holding the button for 2 seconds vs holding for 3 seconds. This seems gimmicky and really is not something I would use. I forgot the device from iPad/Galaxy and left this device alone on my iPhone.

The hardest part of these earbuds is to get them to fit appropriately. The sound quality of most earbuds is dependent on fit and placement. These are no different. I spent a good bit of time working to get a good fit, good seal and the right positioning. I was ultimately rewarded with a very good set of headphones. I exchanged the medium earbuds for the small tips, as these tend to fit into my ear canal much better. The hooks are comfortable and reduce the amount of fatigue in the ear canal as the ear pinna now supports the weight instead of the bottom of your ear canal. This does allow for prolonged use with less fatigue. I typically am not a fan of single flange tips, unless they are foam (better fit/better seal). However combined with the ear hook, the smaller tips fit well within my canal. There is a slider on the ear bud which allows it to slide up and down against the ear hook. Pushing this all the way down made the best option for position in my ear. These do have some noise cancelling properties as well, which is quite convenient. Due to this fact, these have now become my mowing earbuds (with over ear muffs).

Sound:
If you have read any of my headphone reviews, then you know that I have the same music sources that I use to test and compare devices. These headphones really did incredibly well in my test. The highs were high, the bass was strong. These are not your typical cheap ear buds. My usual run down includes Eagles “Hotel California,” Braveheart Soundtrack, “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen, “Why so serious, Joker Theme” Dark Knight Rises 3 minutes to 4 minutes. If you have not listened to the Dark Knight Rises Sound track, Joker theme Why so serious, you need to listen to that track from the 3-4:30 point with both good and bad headphones. You will notice what I am talking about with good bass. My favorite feature of new earbudsThere is a section that the bass alternates in stereo and it is reminds me of a helicopter. Bad phones? You may not hear anything until 4:00. If you are not sold, the Gladiator Soundtrack will also put your good and bad headphones to test.

I like earbuds, but just like with most of the call answering features, the microphone sound is only so-so. My wife tells me it is distant, background wind noises is picked up. If indoor and I have my headphones on, I know that someone is calling and then answer with the phone. I do not use headphones to talk as the microphone in the controller box does not seem to be the strongest. The controller is close to the mouth and works on par with other devices I have tested. I found that if I turned the iPhone up all the way that the sound was too strong. This is different than some of the earbuds, where you tend to have the iPhone slider up higher. Having the bar about in the middle was perfect for great sound and it was not too overpowering.

Urbuds Bluetooth 4.1 Sport Headphones Review

Conclusion:
It did take me a little effort to get the earbuds fitted comfortably. However, once done, they were quite good. The sound output was wonderful and the ear hooks and slider make the device even less fatiguing. The inclusion of the extra tips is thoughtful. The manual is passable with some issues with English. My main complaint is the packaging, the company really needs to work on this. This device uses Bluetooth 4.1 low energy, and you really will get 5 hours with a single charge. It took about 2 hours to charge, which is accurate according to the manual. I like the device and rate it at 4/5. I would recommend this to those of you looking for a good set of Bluetooth headphones. It does come with an 18month warranty. I wish that there was a slightly larger battery in this as 60mAh seems quite small even with Bluetooth LE. I did get regularly 5 hours of use, the device will tell you when battery low. Charge it in a few hours and you can get back to listening. Unfortunately, there is no charge and use feature. Again, the sound is quite nice and 4-5 hours is not terrible for this device being so lightweight.
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