Beats urBeats are earphones with an inline remote and mic. They are the most affordable earphones in the company’s line-up. Beats products are hugely popular yet they remain a polarising company among consumers. Their bass-heavy response, average build quality and high price tag has many people questioning their appeal. Today we’ll look at whether they are worth the investment. If you are looking for a more sports orientated earphone, then take a look at the Beats Tour 2 review.
urBeats offer bold design
The urBeats definitely look good. The design makes them look like a pistol bullet, which is appropriate for a product from Dr. Dre. The earpiece colours are available in a wide range of colours: Space Gray, Black, Red, White, Gold, Gray, Rose Gold, Silver and Nicki Pink. Many of the designs have a contrasting colour for the cables, usually white, red or black. Many of the colours are bold and the overall look is very distinctive. If you want something that makes a statement, these are a good option.
The Beats urBeats have a flat, tangle-free 1.2m cable, with a cable tie to adjust where the cable splits. The tangle-free build delivers so it’s not a hassle to store them and bring them out. The cable is thinner than the similar flat cable on the pricier Beats Tour 2. The cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm jack, which will help to accommodate phone cases.
The three-button remote and mic located along the cable is intended for use with iOS devices. It’s easy to use and will control calls, play/pause and volume. If you are running an Android device the volume controls will not function, although you can still use the central button for play/pause commands. The mic rejects ambient noise and projects your voice to your caller quite well.
Typical Beats bass-heavy response
Beats have a well-known reputation for big bass and the urBeats are no different. The company doesn’t provide technical specifications, which I’m sure Beats critics will have something to say about. The earphones can perform at high volumes without any audible distortion. The bass is very prominent, while retaining clarity. It’s perfect for hip hop, unsurprisingly, as well as other forms of modern music that benefit from serious low-end. If you listen to a wide array of music you will probably want to steer clear, as more retro styles will be overwhelmed by the bass, which can also tend to muddy up the mids. The treble remains clear however. Average consumers who listen to contemporary music will probably be happy with the sound. However audiophiles or anyone who values balanced reproduction will likely want to run in the opposite direction.
Construction quality is a mixed bag
The urBeats have a brushed metal earpiece, which is definitely a nice touch. The connections between the cable and the earpiece are not that well protected though. Beats do not have the best track record with durability. That’s not to say it’s terrible. Plenty of users keep them for years without issue, although it’s certainly not a strong point for the brand. The product ships with a soft carrying case with a magnetised strip to close the top. It’s convenient although it’s not that good for protecting the earphones.
Not suitable for an active lifestyle
Four eartip sizes ship with the urBeats, so there shouldn’t be too much trouble with finding a size that fits you. The earphones don’t seal so well as to be appropriate for high intensity workouts though. They would be fine for light activity but not much more. At 18 grams they aren’t a particularly lightweight model either. If you are interested in a sports solution from the company, it’s worth investigating the Beats PowerBeats 2 or the PowerBeats 2 Wireless. Both feature over-ear hooks which are great for keeping them in place during movement. The Beats Tour 2 is another option. All three designs are sweat and waterproof, unlike the urBeats.
Beats look good, provide tailored sound
The Beats urBeats are bold-looking, bass-heavy earphones with the advantage of a remote and mic. If you listen to contemporary music, particularly hip hop, you may find plenty to like here. Audiophiles will unlikely find much appeal in the tailored sound on offer. The focus on bass results in an unbalanced sound that can detract from the listening experience if you aren’t playing music that benefits from strong bass.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, the urBeats are a good place to start as they are the most affordable earphones in the Beats line-up. If you’re prone to breaking earphones you will probably want to pick up a model with better durability though, or failing that something that doesn’t have such a high brand price premium. Common complaints from users include cord damage and one or both earphones dropping out. It can also be difficult to get Beats to honour the warranty, particularly for online purchases. As a result, investing in the urBeats is a bit of a gamble.