Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones: Affordable, Well-Designed Headphones For Everyone
The Plattan 2 Bluetooth from Urbanears are comfortable, well-designed, and absolutely worth the money.
Mid-range headphones are easy to come by, but a high-quality pair is much harder to find. At this price point, there is always a trade-off between price, comfort, design, and sound quality. Well, almost always.
Urbanears’ Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones stand apart in a sea of mid-range, mediocre headphones.
The Plattan 2 Bluetooth are familiar, in that they fit the form-factor of a wireless over-ear set of headphones. You have a choice of six colors, although we only reviewed the white. The white pair is extraordinarily white, which in the long-term will probably cause some issues with cleanliness. Unfortunately, the Plattan 2 Bluetooth do not come with a case or carrying pouch.
However, they are portable. The earpads fold inwards so that the resulting shape is reminiscent of an old telephone handset and easier to store in your bag. The overall design takes cues from minimalism with as few buttons, moving parts, and design flourishes as possible.
There is just a single button on the right earpad of the headphones. Before looking at the instructions, I had assumed that this just a power button. I was wrong. It is a multi-functional button that handles up to 10 separate actions, depending on how long, and in which direction, you push it.
The bottom of the right earpad is also where you can find the micro-USB charging port. If you were wondering how to distinguish between the right and left sides, Urbanears have you covered. Each side is marked out on the headband with an R for right, or L for left.
Underneath, you’ll find the phrase “You’re my favorite [right/left] ear.” It’s an unnecessary, but ultimately rewarding, touch that helps the brand stand out among the competition.
Over-ear headphones are a one-size-fits-all affair, modified by adjusting the headband to accommodate differing sizes. That’s no different here, although the moveable part of the headband is a looped metal structure, rather than a plastic, ratcheted arm.
The previously-mentioned button, known as the Control Knob, is a multi-functional input for the Plattan 2 Bluetooth. Press and hold the button for three seconds, and the headphones turn on. Do the same again, and they turn off.
A single click acts as the play/pause control, as well as the signal to accept or end a call through the headphones. Things get a little more complicated from here, with various directional controls. An upwards push increases the volume, while a downwards one decreases it.
Pushing the knob to the right skips to the next track and left for the previous track. However, the left and right movements are confusing once the headphones are on your head. Pushing the knob to the right is really pushing it towards the front of your head, while left is towards the back. The wording around these controls is a bit confusing, but it feels intuitive in practice.
The Plattan 2 Bluetooth have an in-built microphone so you can make and receive calls through the headphones. The call quality is surprisingly good; I took calls in very noisy environments in central London. And yet, the person on the other end of the line couldn’t hear any of that noise, just my voice.
There is integration with Apple’s assistant Siri, so long as you’re using an iOS or macOS device. However, there is no official integration for Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
Sound quality is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a pair of headphones. The Plattan 2 Bluetooth’s focus on style may make you question whether the audio quality is up to par. However, your apprehension would be misplaced.
The headphones connect to any Bluetooth-equipped audio source. To pair, all you need to do is hold down the control knob until the LED flashes blue. The headphones should then show as available in your device’s Bluetooth settings.
Mid-range headphones are typically underwhelming when it comes to sound reproduction. The Plattan 2 Bluetooth exceed this expectation and provide a well-rounded sound. Sound is a personal preference, and what works for some may not work for others.
That said, I prefer a prominent bass presence, clear treble, and, well, middling mid-ranges. Spotify streams are typically available at 320kbps, a high bitrate where detail should be discernible. I store music locally on my device rather than stream, but my audio is 320kbps too. There was a surprising amount of detail and clarity in the sound, which I hadn’t been expecting.
Some headphones struggle with extremes of high and low frequencies. The Plattan 2 Bluetooth didn’t have any issues at the higher end, but there were occasional issues with bass reproduction. This wasn’t unlistenable distortion and wasn’t even reminiscent of the mid-2000s Loudness Wars. However, sporadically, a fuzziness would creep into certain bass-heavy songs. It didn’t impact enjoyment, but it was noticeable.
Urbanears note that you should be able to get up to 30 hours of playback from a single charge. The headphones charge via micro-USB and typically took around 45 minutes to an hour to reach full charge. I found the battery life estimate was about right.
One of the Plattan 2 Bluetooth’s best features is something called the ZoundPlug. This strangely named feature is a 3.5mm headphone socket on the underside of the left earpad. It might sound overblown to label this as the headphone’s best feature, but it changes the experience quite dramatically.
The ZoundPlug allows a friend to plug another set of headphones into the Plattan 2 Bluetooth so that you can both listen to the same audio. This is perfect for sharing music, watching a film, or chilling out to a podcast episode or the radio.
It wasn’t so long ago that there was no recorded audio. The only way to experience music was to hear it performed live. Then came the phonograph, and later, record players and vinyl. Things moved quickly from there, and now between CDs, iPods, and smartphones, listening is an increasingly isolated experience.
The ZoundPlug helps to incorporate the communal experience of music and audio in a remarkably simple, yet effective way.
Premium Bluetooth Headphones at an Affordable Price
Although they’ve been around for almost a decade, Urbanears are not a well-known brand. Because of that, it’d be easy to miss the Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones when scrolling through products online, but that’d be a mistake.
These well-designed Bluetooth headphones are comfortable, stylish, and, most importantly, offer excellent sound reproduction. You couldn’t ask for more than that for less than a hundred dollars.
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