For someone with small ears, it can be difficult to find a set of truly wireless earbuds that not only stay in, but stay in comfortably. The Urbanears Luma In-Ear Truly Wireless Headphones do exactly that. They’re responsive, have a great Bluetooth connection, and offer splash protection with fantastic battery life.
What’s included with the Urbanears Luma earbuds?
In the box of the Luma headphones, you’ll find a sleek charging case on a sturdy loop, two IPX4 splash-resistant earbuds, a short USB-C charging cable, and an instruction manual. The Urbanears Luma earbuds have the following features.
- In-ear headphones with Truly Wireless design and Bluetooth 5 for a complete cord-free connection
- 25 hours of total play time on one 5-hour charge
- Headphones charge from the case 4 times before it needs to be charged again
- Tap and voice controls so you can take calls or swap out music
- Wear-detect sensors automatically pause your song or podcast when you take ear buds out and start it again when you put them back in
- Noise-filtering dual microphones on each ear bud for crisp and clear phone calls, even if you’re wearing just one ear bud
- IPX4-rated resistance
Setting up Urbanears Luma earbuds
To connect them with your device, Urbanears uses a step-by-step process. First, you remove the plastic layer between the earbuds and their case. Then, you rest the earbuds next to each other for about five seconds, which initiates a pair between the two.
Finally, you simply have to select them in your device’s Bluetooth settings. From then on, they should pair automatically once you put them in your ears, provided that they’re within range. This is something that I find a lot of brands’ earbuds struggle with. I’m often left manually selecting my earbuds in my Bluetooth settings every time I want to use them, but not Urbanears. With the Luma, the connection is swift and reliable.
Urbanears Luma headphones offer 5 hours of playback. Their charging case holds an additional four charges, giving you a total of 25 hours of battery life per two-hour charge. It’s an impressive feat in such a lightweight case.
How to use the Urbanears Luma in-ear truly wireless headphones
I don’t usually like to tell people exactly how they should use a product, but… Oh, boy, the Urbanears Luma headphones are something else.
If you’ve been lured in by the Luma’s beautiful, matte black finish, don’t panic. More importantly, don’t follow the included instructions immediately. What you’re going to want to do first is turn off your phone’s Voice Control function if you do not use it on a regular basis. Restrict all voice command access that you can. On an iPhone, you can do this by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Voice Dial. On an Android, you can turn off the equivalent function by going to Settings > Accessibility > Voice Access. Then, and only then, should you sync these earbuds with your smartphone.
I’m currently testing two pairs of Urbanears headphones. They both struggle with the same issue: spontaneous calling. I can’t go an hour without my Urbanears headphones deciding to make a voice call on my behalf, and dear reader, it is nothing short of an absolute nightmare. These headphones are designed, like many, to give the user touch control over their phone. One-touch pauses or plays your music; three skips forward or back a track. But (and this is a big “but”) a two-second press turns on your phone’s Voice Command functions.
What controls voice command?
When designing a microphone, you have to make certain decisions. One of these is to set a minimum volume for transmission.
This is an important step, but one that it feels like the Urbanears designers did not do at all. The microphone on these headphones (both the Alby and the Luma models) pumps up the static of the room to feed something into the waiting Voice Command line, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the process feels incredibly haunted.
The extreme sensitivity of the Urbanears Luma headphones both for voice commands and sensors means that these earbuds often register a two-second “Voice Command on” tap even when both of my hands are down on my keyboard, perhaps from a stray strand of hair or a passing shadow. Then, in my panicked silence, the Voice Command assistant on my phone searches through its pumped-up sound waves (in silence!) to supply itself with a contact name—any contact name.
As I stare at my frozen phone screen with wide eyes, my iPhone guides itself through a list of possible commands, and then, as if possessed, starts to dial.
My Urbandears earbuds have initiated phone calls to my grandmother. They have called a deeply embarrassing first date, which I’m disappointed to say I did, in fact, capture while filming this review. (I immediately deleted the footage with prejudice, and it will live on only in my own mortification.) They’ve called a friend who was almost definitely at work, and have tried to dial more than one work colleague. They are a nightmare in black plastic, and unless you turn off all of your phone’s voice command functions before connecting them via Bluetooth, they are going to haunt you, too.
The Urbanears Luma experience
I often find that, when brands launch two sets of similar headphones, they’re based around the same technology. However, while the Urbanears Luma headphones look a lot like their in-ear, sound-isolating Alby model, their sound quality is quite different.
The Luma earbuds are stylish and lightweight, and they fit fairly comfortably in my ears. However, their matte plastic casing brushes a little roughly against my skin, a sound which is magnified by the time it gets to my ears. And, while the Luma earbuds connect easily to my phone, they don’t disconnect easily. I find that they register just about any close surface (that isn’t their case) as in-use, so they always need to be manually un-paired. On top of that, their sound quality just isn’t on par with the company’s Alby earbuds.
These in-ear, truly wireless earbuds release an intermittent, tinnitus-like ringing when they’re not playing any music. That noise switches to a high (but slightly lower) pitched background squeal when in use. It isn’t super obvious when you’re watching videos or listening to podcasts, but it’s immediately noticeable as soon as you switch to something more instrumental—and it is annoying. It’s something that I’ve noticed in wireless and truly wireless headphones before, but for a product in 2021, it’s disappointing.
How is the Urbanears Luma sound quality?
As other consumer reviewers have mentioned, these earbuds skimp on the bass. I spent most of this afternoon listening to the Stardew Valley soundtrack, and honestly? It sounded tinnier on these earbuds than it does coming out of my Nintendo Switch—which has never tried to call my grandma on me in the middle of the day.
These stylish, Scandanavian-designed earbuds are best for casual listening in situations where lightweight comfort and a sleek design are most important. They’re a good choice for listening to podcasts and TV shows, and they’re perfect for making phone calls (which, hopefully, you’ve made intentionally).
I know this is a bit of a hot take, but I actually like a higher-pitched earbud for brief chats: they don’t sound as pleasing, but there’s something about a weak bass range that makes it a lot easier for me to make out words over the phone. My partner is always making fun of me for listening to things on my iPhone when I could easily be listening on our Sonos system instead, but honestly? Sometimes, it’s just easier to stay focused on a crisp, clear story—even when it’s a little higher-pitched than usual.
Shop the Urbanears Luma In-Ear Truly Wireless Headphones at Best Buy. And make sure to turn off your phone’s voice command function to avoid awkward mistakes!