UrbanEars Plattan ADV Wireless – Solid headphones for active people
Let me get this out of the way in advance – UrbanEars’ Plattan ADV headphones are not a premium Bluetooth headset. The sound quality is decent – not amazing – the build on them is sturdy and comfortable – but still largely plastic and nylon – and the headphones have interesting – if not mind-blowing – features, but the headset will not be winning any awards. What it does do well, however, is deliver solid performance all-around in a convenient, portable, easy-to-use package.
The Plattan ADV Wireless’s design is actually pretty clever – its claim to fame is its washable headband and collapsible design, both of which have a couple cute little features that set it apart from other headphones.
The headband that covers the frame is removable (secured to the frame by magnets and metal plates) and machine washable, letting you keep your headset like new. Confusingly, the earcups are neither removable nor washable; so while your headband will keep its colorful, not-smelly sheen, your earcups…won’t. If UrbanEars had really wanted to impress with the “washable” feature, it would have gone all in.
In addition to being semi-washable, it’s also collapsible, thanks to small hinges on either side of the frame that let the cups fold into the bow of the band. This is not a revolutionary feature by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly lends credence to the idea that these are headphones for active people – just fold your UrbanEars away when you’re done with a workout, wash the sweat out of them when you get home, and then tuck them into your gym bag for your next trip.
My one gripe about the build, perhaps, is the size of the earcups. As advertised, these are most definitely on-ear headphones rather than over-ear headphones. The cups sit directly on the ear, which, while soft and light, annoys the living crap out of me. I prefer my headphones over my ears or in them – not on. That being said, over-ear cups can be uncomfortable and sweaty, which doesn’t fit the model that UrbanEars is going for; so while it isn’t my personal preference, it does make sense.
Perhaps the most unique thing about these is its touch-sensitive earcups and their respective gesture controls. With the device powered on – it disturbs me that I felt compelled to type that – controlling playback is as simple as tapping or swiping on the surface of the cup; tap to play, pause, or answer a call, hold to hang up, swipe vertically to control volume, or horizontally to skip forward or back.
In concept, this is an excellent feature – in practice, however, it gets a little sketchy. Doing any physical activity that requires you to lift your hands over your head you run the risk of brushing against the earcup, causing some combination of a skip, pause, or volume change. The same thing can happen if you reach up to adjust the fit. A small thing, perhaps, but a design quirk with real-world complications, to be certain. The benefit of not having to grope around for buttons, though can’t be understated. It’s really smooth when used as intended.
As I said above, UrbanEars’ Plattan ADV Wireless is just an okay headset, as far as actually delivering sound to your eardrums is concerned. The sound quality is solid, if unspectacular. It’s got balanced highs and lows, decent bass, and good clarity, but it won’t blow your mind. Given the reasonable (compared to, say, a comparable Beats headset at $399) $99 price tag ($89.99 on Amazon), it’s not surprising that the performance is middle-of-the-road.
At 14 hours, the battery life is excellent – assuming you’re not wearing them every day for hours on end, you should get about a week out of them. The Bluetooth connection is solid and rarely loses signal, even with your phone in your pocket. Charging is done through a standard Micro-USB, so no need to worry about finding a cord.
Overall, as I’ve stated – probably ad nauseam – UrbanEars’ Plattan ADV Wireless is a solid, well-performing active set of headphones at a reasonable price. The battery life is great and the sound quality is good, but it’s not a high-end headset by any stretch of the imagination.