For the past year, I have been looking for an Apple Airpod alternative; Bluetooth earbuds that would provide as much or better comfort than Airpods with better battery life. Did the Urbanista Stockholm In-Ear Earbuds hold up?
Look & Feel
Let’s just go ahead and say it since the comparison is invariably the first thing anyone will think about; the Stockholm model earbuds from Urbanista look almost identical to Airpods. If you were moving too fast and saw them next to each other on a shelf you could easily confuse the two. However, there are some vast differences in terms of form, build quality and functionality.
Though I requested rose gold, I received the white colored Urbanista Stockholm models which came in a simple book style package with a magnetic closure. Inside the package were the earbuds (separated from the case), the charging case, and a really small micro USB charging cable.
The Stockholm earbuds are made of a smooth matte, plastic type of material that feels more tactile than the shiny, more slippery Airpods. Where the Airpod stem is cylindrical in shape, the Stockholms are more rectangular with rounded edges, making it easier to hold. Located on the stems are touch controls and the right earbud has dual mics to help cancel surrounding noise. Both earbud stems have a tiny LED light to indicate when they are on our charging. Interestingly, the Stockholms bud portion, the part that actually goes in your ear, is almost twice the size than the Airpod bud. That said, the Stockholms still felt identical in weight.
I was surprised how comfortable the Stockholms were once I placed them in my ears. They fit into the groove of my ears easily and felt pretty secure. Still, the larger size of the bud undoubtedly means a higher probability that they could be accidently knocked out my ear. Where the Airpod really hugs the grooves of the ear canal and require just a bit more force to remove, the Stockholms felt looser.
The case is made of the same lightweight, plastic material that really helps with grip. It’s about almost twice the size of the Airpods case length wise–if you placed two airpod cases down flat, side by side you’d get the Stockholm charging case. Within are the two earbud bays which securely keep the earbuds in place with a strong magnet. On one side of the case is the micro USB port and another LED light to indicate charge. Speaking of charge, the case promises up to 3 full charges; it being a 300mAh battery. You can get the case (which will have the earbuds in the matching color) in white, black, forest green or rose gold. From a design-only perspective, the Urbanista Stockholm are very sleek and stylish.
How Well Do They Work?
The Urbanista Stockholms were easy to set up and connected to both my iPhone and Android devices via Bluetooth without issue. Upon connecting you hear a European-sounding voice letting you know the Stockholms are charged and connected.
This model also allows for Voice Control to facilitate a hands free experience through Google Now or Siri. I tried the feature and it worked well. I was able to call upon both voice assistants and they responded accordingly.
The battery life of the earbuds were very impressive, easily beating out my Airpods. My Airpods would typically die after 4 hours of straight usage. The Stockholms lasted for almost double that time.
Unfortunately the sound quality is extraordinarily dull and tepid. Calls and music alike sounded muddy at worst and flat at best. There didn’t seem to be any real dynamic range with the audio and there is virtually no bass. Sound quality is generally the number one most important aspect of any earbuds. So as an accessory that goes for $100 at retail, I was vastly disappointed that it’s looked way better than it actually worked.
As the Urbanista Stockholms are strong for their form, style, durability, general ease of use and battery life; they are weak in overall function. If you’re mainly interested in appearing like you’re wearing the Apple brand and you are looking for a lower cost, true wireless alternative; then these are for you. However, if audio quality is paramount, I’d suggest to go for a different offering.
The Urbanista Stockholm sells for $99 at Urbanista.com, and ships within 1-3 business days in the US.