We’ve looked at a number of earphones from the Urbanista brand, and one of their latest models is named after Austin, that Texas town where they like to “keep it weird”. Unlike the oddities of the city that gives it its name, the Urbanista Austin earphones are very straightforward, almost conservative earphones. They do the job of presenting music in a pleasing way with a simple, rigid form factor and decent water resistance rating. Will they do the job for you? Read on to find out!

Specifications of the Urbanista Austin earphones

  • Available colours—Black, White, Lavender, Lake Green
  • 13mm driver
  • Weight: 35g
  • IPX4 water/sweat resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.3 (10m range)
  • 5 hours of battery life on single charge
  • Rechargeable case (20 hours total playtime)

Setting up Urbanista Austin earbuds

Urbanista AustinPairing these earphones is pretty painless. You simply take them out of the case and connect via the regular Bluetooth setup on your mobile device or PC. Unlike some of the higher-end models from Urbanista, there are no specific controller apps for these earphones. That means there’s nothing specific to tweak or modify. Within seconds you’re able to have them pumping out whatever audio you choose.

The earphones are a full plastic construction, meaning there’s no “soft” tip to assist with the fit. Getting the hard plastic tips to fit in the ear canal isn’t the easiest thing, and even the slightest knock loosens them in your ear canal which dramatically changes the calibre of sound. When you get things right and secure it’s a comfortable fit, but unlike those earphones that use rubber or memory foam for a more customized feel, these rigid earphones may take some futzing to get properly seated in your ear.

The real advantage is how light they are. At only 35g, when you get them correctly aligned these almost feel like you’re not wearing earphones at all—a boon for anyone using them while exercising or even during a commute.

Testing the Urbanista Austin earphones

You can control various functions like volume, track selection, and the like by pressing on the outer tips of these earphones. While this gives you the advantage of keeping your wireless device in your pocket, I found that with the slightest touch the earphones themselves dislodge from my ear canal. Any advantage I had for not having to pull out my phone was countered by having to return the earphone to the prime listening position.

The Bluetooth signal seemed quite solid, and even at a reasonable distance the sound was free of any noticeable distortion or break-up. While there were some sync issues when paired with either a phone or a PC and watching videos, for normal audio-only use they did the job without complaint.

The five hour battery life is perfect for a daily commute or listening to podcasts while doing chores. The white LED light on the charging case also flashes to indicate low battery life (along with a vocal warning from the headphones). You can then set the earbuds in the charging case, which allows for 20 hours of listening time, so its likely you’ll only need to charge the case once every couple of days.

Sound quality of Urbanista Austin earphones

Urbanista headphonesOne nice things about the wider range of the Urbanista product is how each model fits a particular niche, while borrowing where appropriate from the more feature-rich models. Despite the relatively modest feature set, there remains a solid core of performance one can expect from this brand that’s firmly establishing itself among the leaders in the portable audio space.

Without fancier features like noise cancellation and the like, these Austin earphones have one real job—to sound good, and deliver clear audio. They mostly accomplish this, with a minor lean into the bass-heavy tuning of other Urbanista earphones. If the earphones aren’t seated correctly the sound is thin and wispy, but when the driver is aimed right down the ear canal it immediately becomes richer in bass. Unfortunately, that’s at the expense of some high-end features.

The built-in microphones do work for phone calls, and thanks to their elongated construction they actually sounded a bit better than other in-ear models. There are no noise-cancellation features on this model, so the microphone is properly tuned to capture your voice.

Playing music on the Urbanista Austin earphones is satisfactory, with a decent sound stage and a bass-heavy presentation. For podcasts and other spoken word presentations, they do an even better job, providing a rich midrange focus that is clear even in noisier environments. The earphones do a better job on more contemporary pop music that’s highly compressed than with older, more acoustic songs that have higher dynamics.

Getting the volume set right for the peaks of those tracks means the quieter moments get a bit lost, but given that the vast majority of newer music is recorded in a way that blasts out in a pretty consistent fashion, this will only be an issue for those looking for these earphones to perform a bit more above their station.

Final thoughts

These light, water-resistant, and colourful earphones perform well enough for those looking for a decent pair for commuting, working out, and casual use. While they’re not ideal for critical musical listening and the fit may take some adjustment, they’re solid, robust, and well-built earphones designed to provide hours of listening in a light, no-frills package.

While others in the Urbanista line may be more to my own liking, it’s nice that the trickle-down effect to some of the more affordable models provides a similar quality in a different package. That allows you to best select the model that makes sense for your needs. For those looking for a no-nonsense pair that’s easy to setup, the Urbanista Austin earbuds may well be the perfect pair for your needs.You can find them right now at Best Buy.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.