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Hands-on with the Urbanista London
Hands-on with the Urbanista London IBTimes / Jeff Li

Who is the Urbanista London for?

  • For those who wants strong ANC in True Wireless earbuds, the Urbanista London has the most effective noise cancelling in TWS earphones that I have used
  • Having uncanny resemblance in appearance with the Airpod Pro, the Urbanista London is a great alternative, especially those who prefers matte black instead of the unilateral Apple white
  • If bass is on the top of your wish list for sound, the London will not disappoint, being capable of producing a respectable amount of bass from its 10 mm drivers coupled with excellent seal in the ear canal due to its excellent ergonomics
Photo from Urbanista

Love it or hate it, the Apple Airpod and Airpod Pros are pop icons, and there are more and more white tails hanging out of people's ears. The Internet can make all the memes they want: it's not stopping professionals and fashion-forward youngsters from using them. It's popularity also led to many earphone makers to follow suit and make doppelgangers of the Airpod Pros of their own. The tricky thing for us consumers is to separate ones that are 'inspired' by the Airpods while still holding their own and the...well...bad apples.

Having had the Urbanista London for a couple of weeks, I'm here to give my verdict on whether this Apple Airpod Pro inspired design makes the cut as one of the better alternatives in the market.


Matte Black, Dependable Build

Though there are four different colors to choose from (Dark Sapphire, Rose Gold and White Pearl also available), I think for most potential buyers there is only one choice - the Midnight Black version is the matte black Airpod Pro that we never got. The London has a very similar silhouette as the Airpod Pro, which stays in the ear very well and creates a good seal that doesn't break even if the wearer moves around vigorously.


One big difference that the London has from its Apple counterpart is the fact that its charging contacts are on the side of the 'tail' instead of the tip. This allows the designers to make the earbuds fit in the charge box sideways, and for the box to be made slimmer and easier to pocket. I actually prefer the miniature soapbox of the London over Airpod Pro's charge box due to its thinner profile. The size of the charge box is even more impressive when you realize that they accommodate Qi wireless charging, which is still a rarity to find in the TWS earbuds market.


Like the recently reviewed Amazfit PowerBuds, London chose to go for a low-key aesthetics by excluding any sort of LED lighting on the earbuds themselves. Instead the charging case has four LEDs to indicate battery status of the case, as well as charging status.


The London is rated for IPX4, which is far from the impressive IP67 that its sibling the Athens has that can endure even constant hot showers, but is plenty sufficient for runs in the rain and sweaty bouts in the gym.


Impressive ANC Performance

These days while many manufacturers claim that their earphones have ANC, the truth is most ANC circuits in Truly Wireless earphones have significant real-life effect in blocking out the surrounding sounds. I have always thought that this was due to the limitation of the size of the battery in the TWS earbuds, which is why large headphones or neck styled earphones are able to provide much more effective noise-cancellation.

However, the Urbanista London pulled off the feat of a strong practical ANC that can be felt even when music is off, giving the wearer a muffled feeling in the ears that goes beyond the silicone ear tips and effectively blocks off a significant amount of ambient noise. I wouldn't put it on-par with one of the most powerful ANC headphones that I've tried, the 1MORE ANC Pro, but I'd say it's 70-80% there, which is pretty impressive as these are completely wireless.

The impressive ANC performance doesn't come without its trade-off however, as the earbuds only hold 5 hours worth of charge, as opposed to the usual 8 hours of most TWS earphones on the market. It will be fine for most listening sessions that won't extend over that 5 hours mark, and for longer listening, you can utilize the charging box, which holds another 4 cycles of charge.


Bass to energize your training sessions

Armed with an 10 mm dynamic driver, the Urbanista London follows the successful formula of most TWS earbuds which places the emphasis on the low-end of the frequency spectrum and provides a rich bass heavy experience. Compared to its sibling Athens, the London's sound is comparatively more defined, and has a surprisingly wider soundstage.

Because of the aforementioned fit that keeps the seal of the ear piece, the London keeps its sound consistent. This is an impressive achievement as it's done without even the need of additional ear hooks or loops, resulting in a fit that's not only better, but also more comfortable even when worn for longer sessions.


Final Remarks

After spending a considerable time with the Urbanista London, I concluded that these are definitely recommendable Airpod Pro alternatives. The London are considerably cheaper than the Apple earphones, yet they capture everything important in a TWS earphone and perform well in each category: from the great ergonomics to the matte black minimalist finish, the ANC to the boomy bass and quality sound. These are earphones that should be seriously considered for those in the market for wireless headphones who like the Airpod Pros but would rather steer away from Apple's ecosystem.

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travelers.