Urbanite XL Wireless
While there is a tethered Urbanite XL headset, I have recently being trying out the wireless version of this stylish Sennheiser product. Included in the box with this collapsible headset is a standard-to-micro USB lead for charging the headset’s internal Lithium battery, an audio lead with built-in remote and mic, a draw-string soft cloth carry pouch and a folded sheet of Quick Start instructions in various languages. When not in use, you can pack everything away in the carry pouch.
The Urbanite XL is an on-the-ear type of headset. The unit’s headband can be expanded by up to 3cm at each end to help ensure the headset can be accommodated on different head sizes. Expanding the headband involves using aluminium sliders which provide a smooth sliding action. The headband itself consists of a sturdy outer material which is stitched onto an off-white compressed rubber layer.
While this might sound a little uncomfortable, and this was my initial impression when I first unpack the product, for wearing over a long period, my experience proved to be of the opposite opinion. I found the headset was very comfortable when worn for long listening sessions although the Urbanite XL did have a tendency to slide a little if I inclined my head especially with a forward movement. This resulted in an occasional quick grab to ensure I remained in contact with the headset.
The two well-padded earpieces, like the outer surface of the rest of the unit, are black in colour apart from a slim white band encircling the earpiece. Attached to the outside of each earpiece is a touch sensitive panel offering access to various features supported by the headset. The panel on the right can be used for NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity to establish a Bluetooth pairing.
You can also set up a Bluetooth pairing by the more traditional method. This method requires the headset to be put in pairing mode using a small three-way button switch on the left earpiece so that the necessary connection can be established from your mobile device’s Bluetooth feature. The Urbanite XL supports Bluetooth 4.0 with profiles for HFP (Hands-free Profile), HSP (Headset Profile), AVRCP (Audio Video Remote-free Profile) and A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). This headset can save up to eight Bluetooth devices and will automatically attempt to connect to the last two connected devices.
Along with the power/Bluetooth switch, the left earpiece holds the battery charging micro USB port, jack socket for use by the remote and mic lead plus the second of the touch sensitive panels. Depending upon whether you swipe, tap, double tap or a combination action, you can adjust the volume level and instigate specific music or phone calling options such as accept, reject or call back. I found the application of these actions required a certain amount, actually a great deal, of practice before I felt some confidence that I could achieve the result I wanted at the first attempt.
From time to time you might need to use the supplied audio cable for linking to your mobile device. This could be when you are in a location where wireless transmission is not allowed or, possibly more likely, if you have forgotten to charge the headset’s internal Lithium battery. Although not immediately obvious, until you come to attaching the lead, the jack plugs at either end are of a different size. The L-shaped plug is of the 3.5mm variety while the straight plug is 2.5mm and is the one which attaches to the headset. While this might not seem to be important, it does mean that, due to the positioning of the remote feature at 11cm from the straight jack plug, you could be reduced to accessing this feature by touch alone which I found a little fiddly at first. To ensure that the audio lead does not become accidentally detached from the headset, you can lock/unlock the lead in position with a clockwise/anti-clockwise twist.
I always feel that a headset should be judged primarily on the quality of its audio delivery and the degree of comfort it offers users. The Urbanite XL Wireless certainly fulfils the latter aspect and, I am pleased to state, it also fulfils the former aspect. I was impressed by the quality of the audio received by my ears. On a full charge you should expect in the region of 25 hours of wireless use which could reduce the need for the audio lead. The Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless headset is priced at £249.99 for this quality product.
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