There are a few different types of earbuds. Most fall into the category where they sound good, but might not always look the best. Some fall into the category of “fashion earbuds” or “fashion headphones”. They look cool, but the sound quality leaves much to be desired. Urbanears is one such brand, but their new Alby earbuds are a surprisingly decent choice if you’re on a budget.
I’m not going into this review looking to nitpick about the sound and other stuff. Suffice to say, you won’t be considering these at all if the sound is your primary concern. For those, you might want to check out our Best True Wireless Earbuds of 2020 piece instead.
What the Urbanears Alby offers though, is a pair of pretty stylish earbuds that is an affordable option if you like the AirPods style. It comes with a square charging case, with matte plastic and a pretty subtle Urbanears embossing on the top.
One major plus point is that the case charges via USB-C, but I did notice something a bit odd. I left the case to charge overnight, but the next morning, I noticed that the earbuds had no power. After scrutinising the case for a bit, I noticed there’s actually film over the charging contacts in the case. It’s actually mentioned in the user manual, but if you’re like me and you don’t tend to read the user guide, do remember to take the film off to charge your earbuds.
The earbuds themselves follow a similar design to the AirPods, with a long stem on the outside that can be controlled through touch. With double taps, triple taps and long-presses, you can control music playback and the likes. There’s no volume control on the earbuds themselves though, which is to be expected at this price point. I did notice that the volume seemed a bit soft, so you might want to turn up the volume on your phone when using these.
When it comes to the sound, it’s decent. You get a good amount of bass while the midrange and highs are generally well balanced and I did like that the treble is pretty airy. You lose out on a bit of detail in the bass, but for something that costs S$109, it’s good enough.
The soundstage is also a bit closer than I’d like, but instrument imaging is quite accurate.
There’s around 3 hours of battery in the earbuds, which is definitely on the low side, along with an additional 4 charges in the case for a total of 15 hours. It’s not great at all, but considering that the case and earbuds are very light, along with the price, I’ll cut it some slack.
There’s very little else to say about the earbuds, honestly. There aren’t features like ANC because of the price point, and neither should anybody expect a load of features out of a pair of S$109 earbuds. These work fine for their price, and if you just want something that looks pretty nice while being able to listen to music or other content on, it’s an option to consider if you’re on a tight budget.
More information about the Urbanears Alby (S$109) and purchase options can be found on the distributor TC Acoustic’s website.
Written by Cheryl Tan