Over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, earbuds, wireless, wired… the choices are endless. Our Urbanears Hellas review takes a look at a pair of on-ear wireless headphones that try to set themselves apart by being washable as well.
The Urbanears Hellas on-ear headphones have the following features and specifications:
- 40mm handmade drivers
- 60Ω impedance
- 98dB sensitivity
- 50W max input power
- Washable headband and ear cushions
What’s in the Box
- 1x Urbanears Active Hellas on-ear headphones
- 1x USB to Micro-USB charging cable
- 1x cloth carrying/washing bag
- 1x owner guide
The Urabanears Hellas on-ear headphones have a pretty minimalist design and are part of the Urbanears Active collection. The headband and outer ear cups are white, while the inner ear cushions are blue. The headband consists of a plastic band with two metal wire bands and a middle cable connecting the two ear cups running through it. The washable inner headband cushion attaches to the plastic outer band. At the end of the wire bands is a plastic housing, and the ear cups are connected to this housing with a sliding metal piece which allows you to adjust the fit. The inside of each ear cup has a washable ear cushion, and is marked on the bottom of the ear cup with an L or an R to indicate left or right ear. The right ear cup also houses the Micro-USB charging port and the built-in touch interface for controlling the headphones and your music playback.
The headphones are fairly light, however the mesh-like material used on the ear cushions is a bit rough at first. The first time I wore them, they actually felt a bit uncomfortable but after a few uses my ears got used to the ear cushions. The do fit nicely though and feel snug without feeling tight and should stay on your head fine, depending on the type of physical activity you’re doing. As far as the wash-ability feature is concerned, both the inner headband and ear cushions snap out and back in easily, and can be tossed in the washing machine in the included washing bag on cold/cool cycle and then left to air dry.
A single indicator LED also sits near the top of the right ear cup to let you know what status your headphones are currently in. Red indicates they are charging, white means fully charged and connected to a USB power source. Blinking blue indicates they are in pairing mode, while blinking white shows they are waiting to connect, and a slow white blink at 10 second intervals indicates they are connected and switched on. If the LED light is off, the headphones are either off or operating normally.
Our review sample came in the white/blue colour scheme, and the Urbanears Hellas on-ear headphones are available in white/blue, blue/black, grey/red, or black/black.
Ease of Use
As with most wireless headphones, pairing with a Bluetooth device like your smartphone is easy enough. Simply hold the touch interface on the outer part of the right ear cup for 4 seconds to turn on the Hellas and the pairing process will begin. Once paired, a single tap will play or pause the current track or answer a call while a double tap will hang up the current call or reject an incoming call. Swipe up on the earcup to increase volume, and swipe down on the earcup to decrease the volume. Changing tracks is just as easy — simply swipe forward for the next song or swipe backward for the previous song on your playlist. Most headphones I’ve used have buttons, but I rather like the swipe touch interface on these.
In almost every case of wireless earphones, I find myself reaching for the equalizer on my phone to adjust the bass and other levels. Not so with the Urbanears Hellas. Out of the gate, the range from highs to lows was great, and the bass was more than suitable. If you’ve read my other headphone/earbud reviews, you know I’m all about that bass… Some minor tweaking with the equalizer helped make them sound just a tad better, but it wasn’t necessary like is the case with some other wireless headphones that I’ve tested in the past. Even at full volume (which was quite loud), the music I listened to — rock, rap, EDM, and more — sounded excellent and clear.
As far as call quality goes, and as is usually the case with wireless headphones, I found myself having to speak a little louder for the other party to hear me clearly, but hearing them wasn’t an issue.
Urbanears claims a 14 hour battery life on medium volume between charges, and during testing I managed to get between 11 and 13 hours on a single charge. I definitely wasn’t listening at medium volume though, more like two-third to three-quarters. When the headphones are dead, it takes about two hours for them to fully recharge.
Priced at $119USD, the Urbanears Hellas are a good deal for the value considering the great sound, snug fit, and the fact that you can wash them if they get too sweaty from your workouts.
If you’re the active type and looking for a pair of comfortable, light, wireless headphones with the added bonus of being able to wash the ear cushions and headbands, you’ll definitely want to check out the Urbanears Hellas.