Sennheiser Urbanite XL wireless review
Cool looking design that isn't boring
Somewhat balanced audio performance
Great headphones for bass lovers
Sturdy design made from high quality material
Long lasting rechargeable battery
Unique user "touch" based user interface
Super comfortable ear cups
Positioning of the touch interface is not ideal
Sennheiser has been introducing cool new headphones that are super comfortable and highly durable. In fact, Sennheiser are known for super high quality audiophile headphones. So far, I have not seen one person who has been disappointed with Sennys. Just few weeks ago, they introduced the Urbanite XL wireless headphones that look awesome from their looks. We will check out how they perform and who they are targeted at in this review.
The first thing to notice about Urbanite XL headphones is their unique ear cup sliding mechanism. Unlike the regular mechanism which involves a metallic strip or a grooved plastic plate sliding up and down the headband, the Urbanite headphones have a long rectangular slow which holds the ear cup firmly. The ear cup slides inside this rectangular slot thus, allowing you to adjust the size. It may not be something that is very unique or new, but it sure does increase the appeal to the user, in short, it looks sexy.
You do not have to worry about the plastic of the adjustment mechanism breaking down because the plastic used is rugged and tough. In fact, all the plastic parts on this headphone are made from high quality, tough plastic. Another good thing about this mechanism is that there is no internal part exposed while extending the length, thus the “look” is maintained at all times. The two ear cups are connected with each other internally with a tough, black, flat cable that runs through the headband.
The headband comes with a rough fabric top while the insides feel foamy. The rough fabric texture definitely adds in to the appeal.
If you have sharp observation, you will instantly notice the new kind of material used on the ear pads. Unlike the regular ear pads made from velor or plush leather, the ear pads on Urbanite XL wireless are made from some kind of microfiber and memory foam. The combination of the both gives a very soft feel and would definitely feel nice on the ears.
Ease of use
Being a wireless headset, there is no need to have a wired connection, but if you are running out of battery power there is always an option to go the wired route. The cable supplied with the headset is a flat cable that feels sturdy and the end connector is made from good quality metallic parts. There is a button below one of the ear cups to switch on the headset and turn on the bluetooth connection. Pairing between the headset takes place through NFC although you can always do it manually. The Bluetooth range is as usual, 30 ft radius.
The right ear cup consists of touch sensitive surface which is used for controlling the volume of the headphones, whereas tapping on the right ear cup’s surface will switch to the next track in your playlist. Such kind of user controls feel great and only recently have they been adopted by a couple of headphone manufacturers. The good thing about these touch sensitive control surfaces is that you never have to repeatedly press a button to raise or lower the volume or switch between tracks.
The only disadvantage with these touch controls is that when you try to remove your headphones or adjust them on your ears, you can accidentally touch the sensitive surface and unintentionally play or pause your music. The unintentional handling of controls can be avoided once you get used to these headphones.
The ear cups fold quite well and all of a sudden the headphone becomes quite compact and flat, making it easy to store in your backpack. Urbanite XL Wireless are designed by keeping the “portability” factor in mind. Hence, the battery life on these headphones is approximate 25 hours (as mentioned on the official website) but one can easily expect to use it for a little longer. Battery life depends on the volume you play your music at.
Sennheisers are known for natural sounding headphones, but this one seems to be different. Urbanite XL wireless has a little more bass as compared to the most other Sennheiser headphones. The low frequency performance may be boosted, but the bass is nowhere as high as you find in the Beats Solo 2. The low freuquency response of the Solo 2 is the strongest among all other popular headphones. Bass lovers will definitely love it but those who prefer a balanced audio response should stay away from Urbanite XL and Urbanite XL Wireless.
Bass may be an important component in modern music, but frequency response in other bands is just as important, especially the mids and highs where the clarity is of utmost importance. Urbanite XL wireless does not disappoint us in those crucial frequency bands. The treble is sharp while the mids are undistorted and help in producing sharp vocals. The treble may crackle a little bit but it definitely does not make the music sound bad, in fact that crackle enhanced the listening experience.
Audio performance is a very personal thing to judge. I can only say that the Urbanite XL wireless is one bassy headphone and it is something that audiophiles might choose to stay away from.
For years Sennheiser has produced boring black and grey shaded headphones. It is quite a rejoice when you have some balanced audio along with appealing design which isn’t boring. The stylish look of the Urbanite XL wireless will definitely appeal the individuals who prefer looks over highly balanced audio. This headphone comes with an amazing body design that, we hope Sennheiser would incorporate in its other high audio performance headphones in near future.
If you are looking for a set of wireless headphones that are “audiophile friendly” you should check out the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless headphones that definitely cost a lot, but will be enough to give a completely satisfying listening experience for years to come.
The recently launched HyperX Cloud II may be categorised at gaming headset, but their performance is absolutely stunning and they are not as expensive as the Sennys.
The soundstage is quite good but not excellent.
The bass is impactful but you can still hear the full range of sound.
The ear cups are nice and comfy and I find that they block out sound quite sufficiently.
Control panel on right earcup isn't laid out very well.
- Impedance: 18 Ω
- Bluetooth Version: 4.0
- Supported Profiles: Headset 1.2, Hands-free 1.6, GAVDP, A2DP 1.2, AVRCP 1.4
- Frequency response: 16–22000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL): 110 dB @ 1 kHz, 1 Vrms THD,
- total harmonic distortion: < 0.5 % (1 kHz, 100 dB)
- Range: Up to 10 m
- Battery Specification: Li-Polymer