UrbanEars may not have the market recognition that Beats and other bigger names enjoy, but the company's Pampas over the ear Bluetooth 5.0 headphones pack comfort, quality build and great sound in a package that pleases.
Every name has a story, and UrbanEars Pampas headphones get their namesake from Stockholm's Pampas Marina - a hub for the country's boating lifestyle. The marina is set within a scenic environment sporting a serene ocean view and is encompassed by a lively space where many people regularly gather. The Pampas name for headphones that submerge the wearing in pristine sound while surrounded by life's activities seems appropriate.
UrbanEars Bluetooth Headphones
$149 (opens in new tab)Bottom line: UrbanEars delivers uniquely minimalistic quality headphones that won't disappoint on sound quality, comfort, or battery life.
- Flexible minimalistic design
- Great sound, decent bass, clear highs
- Compact for optimal portability
- Convenient easy to use control knob
- Fabric aesthetics are a nice touch
- No noise-canceling feature
- Mic fails to perform optimally under certain conditions
- Fabric aesthetic problematic for keeping clean
What you will like about UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones
One of the first things you will notice about these headphones is their minimalistic design. The simplistic almost "organic" aesthetic immediately struck me with the feeling that these headphones were designed with environmental conservatism in mind. That visual impression was matched with a gentle tactile feel produced by the cloth-covered parts of this tech accessory. The soft texture of the cloth surfaces is complemented with a very flexible design that bends and moves more freely than some of the more rigid popular headphone designs. The soft cushion that rests atop the head and ear cuffs round out a pair of headphones that seem to have soft but durable as a goal.
The flexibility of the design complements the compact nature of these folding headphones, which adds to their sense of portability. A user can fold them up and toss them in a bag and feel confident that their flexibility will allow them to bend and flex with a bit of rough handling without harm. They're also durable enough to endure a few bumps.
Though the lack of sophistication of the folding hinges compared to other headphones on the market gives a visual sense of "weakness" or cheap build, that simplicity is likely an intentional quality of the design. Despite the apparent weakness of that hinge, the headphones have proven quite durable to rough handling.
The single control knob is one of my favorite features of these headphones. The simplicity of a single point of control is wholly congruous with the minimalistic design both in the way of aesthetics and function. Having a single button to intuitively use to navigate phone calls, music, volume, and more helps to preclude the fumbling about multiple buttons I find myself doing when using other headsets. This is not only convenient but avoids dangerous distractions when using headphones while driving. The USB type C port is also a welcome and modern feature that allows for quick charging of this headset with a charge that will last you more than a day. The ability to connect to another person's headset to share music via an empty socket on the device is also a nice touch.
Finally, the sound quality on these headphones is excellent. The bass is deeper than other affordable headsets that I've reviewed while the highs are great. As a non-audiophile average user who enjoys a full, rich sound this headset delivers. Naturally, phone calls for the wearer are also clear, though the microphone sometimes falls short in some settings.
What you will dislike about UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones
The microphone on these $149 headphones works well in certain contexts, but I found people complaining that they couldn't hear me while I was driving with the windows open or when using them in other settings. Being able to talk handsfree is a big part of Bluetooth headphones, so having to take them off at times just to be heard was annoying.
Additionally, that attractive fabric that gives these headphones that visually and tactually appealing design can be hard to clean. This porous surface absorbs liquids and can trap particulates of matter that can be easily wiped off other headphones in the market.
There is no active noise cancellation feature on these headphones which is ok, but this missing feature may be a deal-breaker for some. Also though the ear cuffs are comfortable, they don't engulf the ears and block out surrounding sounds as well as other headsets do.
Should you buy UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones?
Yes, you should buy UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones if you want quality headphones with excellent sound, a flexible but durable build, and minimalistic design. The excellent battery life, lightweight, soft fabric aesthetic, single-button control, and great sound are appealing qualities. The $149 price tag is a little higher than some more affordable options that don't provide as great sound quality but falls well below the $300 price tag of other high-end options.
The UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones provide a great sound experience, in a very comfortable, aesthetically pleasing minimalistic design with a battery life that lasts all day.
UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones
A minimalistic design, extreme comfort, and great sound.
UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones offers users a comfortable, lightweight headset that delivers excellent sound with the reliability of all-day battery life. Though the microphone while on calls sometimes disappoints in noisy settings the overall experience of these mid-priced headphones is a good one. The minimalistic design, sporting cloth-covered surfaces gives a natural feel that is simply pleasing to the senses, though cleaning those surfaces can be problematic. Overall, UrbanEars Pampas Bluetooth Headphones deliver a well-rounded experience of comfort, sound quality, battery life, and communication at a mid-range price that is accessible to most people.
Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!
Pampas? That's from my country. No, seriously, is that Stockholm thing checked or is it the first Wikipedia find? Because Pampas is a region in Argentina.
Pampas is a region from here, in Argentina. But the brand "UrbanEars" is from Sweden. :)
Dammit, we got copied.
UE's website says the name comes from the marina in Sweden, not the plains in South America.
I like UE and what they've done for simple, accessible audio. Their stuff won't win any awards from snobby audiophiles (no BT audio equipment would!) but for ease of use and flexibility they're great. We have a Wonderboom in our shower and we use it on occasion for little parties and the like. It's no wonder so many other companies, including Beats, have copied their form factor. The extreme comfort thing is very important. Many people work at a desk and have headphones on for hours at a time (not me now, but that's been the case in the past). Many, many cans feel like crap on your head after an hour or so. If you were to consider wired cans in the same price range, I would try the NAD Viso HP50's, which used to be $300-$400 when they came out but you can get a pair on Amazon for about $150. Without having tried the UE's I am willing to bet the NAD's sound better.
Would work great with the surface phone err I mean note 10
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