Cheap Bluetooth headphones are better now than they've ever been before. Sure, you can still spend well over $300 on something like the Bose QC35, or you could shell out just over $60 for a pair of headphones that offer about 80% of the experience for hundreds of dollars less.
Urbanears, a Sweedish company that's been kicking out headphones since 2009, is the latest to tackle the affordable wireless headphone market with the Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth.
The Plattan 2 is faced with a lot of stiff competition, but thanks to a great design, sound quality, and battery life, it manages to stick out as something special and an accessory I plan on continuing to use well after I publish this review.
Tiny and mighty
Bottom line: Urbanears' Plattan 2 Bluetooth headphones have a lot going for them. They're incredibly compact and offered in a lot of different colors, sound quality is really strong, and the one-button control system actually works really well. The lack of USB-C charging and noise-cancelation is a bummer, but considering everything else, I'm willing to overlook it.
- Stylish, compact design
- Crisp and clear sound
- Fantastic battery life
- Intuitive control knob
- No active noise canceling
- AptX is missing
- Charges via Micro-USB
Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth What I love
Urbanears' design stands out from just about everything else.
As soon as I unboxed the Plattan 2 headphones, the thing that immediately caught my attention is the design. These are a lot smaller than other headphones I've used, especially when compared to the Bose QC35s that are usually my go-to cans. Along with the compact design, I really like Urbanears' decision to construct the Plattan 2 with a combination of soft-touch plastic and fabric. It gives the headphones a unique look and really allows them to stand out from the sea of generic, black hard-plastic headphones flooding the market.
The Plattan 2 I reviewed came in a really great Indigo color, but you can also pick the headphones up in Tomato, Dark Gray, True White, and Black. Indigo might be my favorite as it offers just enough extra pizzazz without being too boisterous, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't been eyeing the Tomato colorway.
The overall construction here is quite solid. It's easy to adjust the headphones up and down to find a good fit, the headband offers a lot of intentional flex to keep it durable from wear and tear. The whole package feels like a gadget that'll be able to keep on kicking just fine for years to come, but how do these things actually sound?
To be honest, these sound pretty damn great.
Audio is nice and balanced with crisp notes, solid volume levels, and no discernible distortion. Bass-lovers may find the sound to be lacking, but I was genuinely surprised with just how crisp and clear everything sounds. Watching video also proved to be really enjoyable with no lag between the audio coming through the headphones and the content playing on my phone.
I've noticed some reviews complained about weak Bluetooth performance, but I personally never encountered that. Whether I was using the headphones at my home office or at Starbucks, the connection was strong and reliable. Your mileage may vary, but I was pleased in these regards.
Other strong points of the Plattan 2 include a battery that should easily last you a full week of use per charge, soft ear cushions, and a unique control system that houses all of your playback buttons into a single knob. Move it up and down to adjust the volume accordingly, left or right to go back to the previous track or skip to the next one, and a press in the middle pauses/resumes whatever you're currently listening to.
Personally, I greatly prefer this over multiple physical buttons or swipe controls. It's simple, easy to understand, and consistently works. It may seem like a small thing to rave about, but good headphone controls can really make or break your experience in day-to-day use.
Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth What I'm not a fan of
I came away impressed with how much I ended up liking the Plattan 2, but that doesn't mean they're perfect headphones.
While sound quality is quite good for the price, the lack of AptX technology will be tough to swallow for some buyers — especially in 2019. Speaking of 2019, using any headphones that still rely on Micro-USB for charging are not fun. The Plattan 2 are such headphones, and that makes me sad.
Two more things to get off my chest:
- While the passive noise cancellation provided by the headphones is enough to block out ambient noise at a coffee shop, the lack of active noise cancelling means these probably won't be your best friend on an airplane.
- Since the earcups are on the smaller side of things, wearing the headphones for long periods of time occasional caused my ears to be sore. This could usually be fixed with a small adjustment, but it's an annoyance nonetheless.
Urbanears Plattan 2 Should you buy them?
The Urbanears Plattan 2 debuted with a retail price of $100, but after being out on the market for a hot minute, you can regularly find them for around $70 or so. At that price, I'd say to give them a shot.
It'd be nice to have AptX, USB-C, and roomier earcups, but those qualms never proved to be enough to stop me from using the headphones daily for the past week or so.
In fact, I think I'm going to keep bringing these with me as one of my go-to headphone options. My Bose QC35 obviously sound better and are the default choice if I need to hop on a plane, but the great sound, easy controls, and excellent design keep putting a smile on my face.
In the end, I'd consider that a win.
Tiny and mighty
Urbanears' Plattan 2 Bluetooth headphones have a lot going for them. They're incredibly compact and offered in a lot of different colors, sound quality is really strong, and the one-button control system actually works really well. The lack of USB-C charging and noise-cancelation is a bummer, but considering everything else, I'm willing to overlook it.
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