Urbanista’s London true wireless earphones ($149) feature active noise canceling, IPx4 water resistance, voice and touch control, deliver five hours of battery life between charges, and include a wireless charging case that holds an additional four full charges for a total of 25 hours total playtime. The case charges either via USB-C cable or on any Qi-Certified wireless charger, a nice touch at this price.
Urbanista London is priced quite a bit less than comparable true-wireless offerings with active noise-cancellation, such as Sony’s WF-1000XM3 ($230), Apple’s AirPods Pro ($249), and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 ($300), which makes them a pretty amazing value. The question, of course, is whether they have the features, functionality, and performance to make them a worthwhile purchase, even given the substantial savings.
Urbanista London relies on Bluetooth version 5.0, which results in excellent battery life, extremely low latency (no noticeable lip-sync lag when watching video content or playing games), and quick and easy syncing to your device. The pairing process for Urbanista London took me less than a minute, and reconnecting and switching between sources have proven to be quick and easy in my time with the earphones.
Urbanista London supports both Siri and Google Assistant, which sets it apart from much of its competition. Its multiple microphones work magic for speech intelligibility even in windy environments. And like most of its competition, it comes with ear tips in multiple size options for excellent fit.
Urbanista’s London, like many ANC headphones and earphones currently on the market, offers Ambient Sound Mode processing, which allows some amount of natural, outside sound past the seal and active noise cancelling. This helps prevent that closed-in feeling and can keep you in touch with what’s going on around you. The Urbanista London’s ear detection technology will pause the music automatically if one earbud is removed from your ear, while the auto-play function will activate once you put the earbud back.
Considering all the features, though, it’s heartening that Urbanista didn’t miss the primary goal of delivering a great-sounding listening experience. The London earphones sounds quite good, with no overly accentuated bass and highs that are never shrill. Unlike many earphones in this class, Urbanista doesn’t offer a companion app, so it lacks the pre-set equalization curves found on some of the competition. Instead, the emphasis here is on all-around good sound and, perhaps most importantly, great value.
In my evaluation, Urbanista London never fell down or failed to keep up with strenuous EDM, never fell short with spacious acoustic tracks or dense wall-of-sound ’60s and ’70s (even ’80’s) pop hits. But they don’t have that sparkle and wow-factor you get from Sony and Sennheiser (each of which has a full featured companion app).
With Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” the Urbanista London earphones did a good job with both the beautiful acoustic guitar and the great backing vocals supporting Mr. Simon’s lead, as well as the galloping drum beat. The earphones were never too thumpy in the bottom, never shrill in the highs, and were able to keep any mud out of the mids. The sonic signature of the earphones was pleasing both with and without active noise cancellation on, and I especially like the results when engaging the Ambient Sound Mode.
Next, I cued up Lil Baby’s “Emotionally Scarred,” which has some seriously low and tight bottom end. A little to my surprise, the Urbanista London’s delivered. The bass wasn’t quite as hefty or as refined as what you’d get from the Sony and Sennheiser earphones, but it certainly was better than what you’d get from Apple’s AirPods Pro.
Last up, I wanted to push the Urbanista London to see if it could handle the pounding bass and high frequency synth elements of an EDM track. I cued up “7even” by Andy Duguid featuring Jaren and waited until around the three-minute mark for the drums to kick in. The wait was worth it. The accompanying synth wash can muddy up lesser earbuds, but these earphones were able to keep calm and carry on. Urbanista may have picked a middle-of-the-road voicing for the London, but they picked a very good road on which to drive down the middle.
The Momentum 2 is probably a smart choice if sound quality (with music, spoken entertainment, and phone calls alike) is at the top of your must-have list. The Sony’s WF-1000XM3 and Apple AirPods Pro are just a smidge behind in this department, but are still strong contenders.
If environmental awareness is at the top of your priorities list, the Apple AirPods Pro‘s Transparent Mode is the best at allowing you to naturally hear your surroundings. They are also unbeatable if you live in Apple’s ecosystem, seamlessly syncing with all other Apple devices.
All that said, the Urbanista Londons are the only true wireless ANC earphones that allow hands-free activation of both Siri and Google virtual assistants. Also their value cannot be overstated, with a suggested retail price that comes in at anywhere between $80 and $150 less than their most meaningful competition.
The Urbanista Londons are the most affordable true wireless earphones available with active noise cancellation, and they deliver where it counts: call clarity, total playtime, wireless charging case, comfort, and respectable audio performance. As long as you don’t expect the last word in audiophile sound, they are an incredible value and very much deserve to be discussed alongside much pricier competition. Hands-free voice activation of Siri and Google sets the Urbanista London apart from its competitors, as does its significantly lower price point.