REVIEW: URBANEARS Alby – The best budget wireless earbuds?

Last year we tested the Luma from Swedish brand, URBANEARS and were impressed with the performance they delivered for the low price. Now they are back with the Alby for just £59.99. They might just be the best value wireless headphones we’ve tried.

The wireless earbud market seems to be flooded at the moment with every tech company and once-famous rapper getting in on the act. Most are ok and some are excellent but one thing they have in common is cost. The vast majority we’ve seen and used cost north of £100 and some breach the £200 mark. If you’re an audiophile, the cost might not put you off but for the Average Joe, cost is a big factor. That where UrbanEars fit in. They offer a range of stylish, well performing and affordable wireless options for those of us without deep pockets.

The Alby is their latest offering. Like the Luma we reviewed last year, they are well made and stylish but offer better sound quality and a lower price. You do sacrifice some functionality for the price but as someone who still has the Luma as a daily carry item, the Alby is now my go to wireless headphone. 

The reason for this is simple. The Alby fits better so it sounds better. The more expensive Luma has a earpiece much like the Apple AirPod. It sits just inside the ear so it can’t offer that much bass. The Alby has a soft, rubber tip that seals the ear canal giving a richer sound as well as blocking more background noise. I do find after more than an hour in the ear, they can feel a touch more uncomfortable than the Luma but it’s rare to use headphones for that long.

Included in the box is a charging case that also houses a battery that’ll charge them on the go. In total you’ll get 15 hours of usable battery life (25 hours for the Luma) which is more than enough for even the busiest of days. It charges via USB-C and there is a cable in the box but you’ll need a charge brick to be able to plug it into the wall.

Built into the earbuds are microphones each side and a double-tap on either side will pause/play your music. One thing I do miss about the Luma when using the Alby is the wear detect sensors. On the Luma, removing a single earbud would pause the music allowing you to talk to someone (remember that??) but the Alby looses that feature. It’s a minor gripe but only one you’ll miss if you were switching from one the other.

Overall, the Alby is great product for the money. I’ve used cheaper units from Amazon that sound as good but they don’t have the style and design that Urbanears offer. If your budget is tight but you want a wireless earbud that’ll look good and sound good too, the Alby is a great choice.

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