First things first: I do not consider myself an audiophile. What I am is a daily commuter from the suburbs to the city via a high-speed train. The thing I enjoy the most about my commute is the fact that I can tone the entire experience out with a good set of ear buds. All the train besties and irrelevant banter is lost when I plug into my iPhone. Nirvana if there were ever a better definition.
Personally, I enjoy podcasts as well as music so a good earbud is important. After some random Google research and speaking to my friendly-neighborhood Apple Specialist, I came across Urbanears, a Swedish company who thrives on their color choices. Urbanears come in a variety of colors (colors are retired on a random basis) and eight different models; Humlan, Zinken, Kransen, Plattan (Plattan+), Medis (Medis+) and Bagis. All the models except Bagis and Kransen are over-the-ear headphones (not my bag) and I end up settling on Bagis. The website is interactive (you can drag a color from the palette to the headphone model of your choice before visiting the actual model page) with some interactive tiles and social media links. Clicking on the actual headphone model takes you to its title page where each model is presented via a clever video.
I love the design of the Bagis headphones; simplistic and fashionable. They have a snap construction that makes it easy to keep track of the headphones in a deep purse or for quick storage when people try to talk to you when you obviously have buds in your ears. They also have a built-in microphone and remote for easy pause and play capabilities as well as answering calls. Included in the box are three sets of ear pads to ensure comfortability and size as well as stickers (yay!) and warranty information.
Now the most important part: the sound. These are true noise-canceling headphones. On a commuter train, filled with at least 75 people, during rush hour (am or pm), all I can hear is whatever I’m listening to. They fit comfortably in my ears; I tend to wear them for long periods of time and have no problems. These were by far the best buds I purchased and they worked well in both my devices (iPhone 4 and HTC Evo 3D at the time).
So imagine my surprise when this happened:
Of course the unraveling gave way to a short in the buds themselves, which led to the mic/remote malfunctioning. So these had to be discarded and replaced by another pair which also had issues (no unraveling this time just a short). I am not sure what caused the unraveling but I had this particular pair for about 6 months before this began to happen. I do go to the gym twice a week (sweat), wear different fabrics and coats (so the fabric of the headphones rubbed against different textures i.e. cotton, wool, etc) and I’m sure that may have contributed to their demise. However, should I have to switch headphones because of what I decide to wear that day? I say no. I have since switched to a-Jays3 headphones (designed for iPhone only) and while the sound is inferior the rubbery flat noodle design ensures that I will never encounter this unraveling issue again.
I’m torn or whether or not to recommend this as a purchase. On the one hand, the sound quality is wonderful, the noise canceling just puts you in a state of audio solidarity that cannot be compared nor beaten. However, I do not feel comfortable recommending a product that I’ve had problems with. So I’ll just say ‘purchase at your own risk’. They are aesthetically pleasing and come in enough colors for you to feel fashionable and express yourself accordingly. The price tag is reasonable ($34.90 if purchased directly from the site, a little cheaper on Amazon) for the quality of the end product. Hopefully my unfortunate events do not spill over to your purchase should you decide to buy. Oh and in case you were wondering, UrbanEars ships worldwide.
Does anyone else own a pair of UrbanEars? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!