review

Urbanista Stockholm Plus Review Outer Ear Wireless Earbuds

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Featuring a quirky crossover pod stem design, the Urbanista Stockholm Plus have best of both worlds - a close in-ear experience with an outer ear earbud design that doesn't require having to push them into the ear canal. And, you aren't getting cut out from the outside world either!
The front of the Urbanista Stockholm Plus charging case has a slit opening with four tiny battery status leds embedded in the centre. The top of the lid is deeply engraved with the word Urbanista. There are no other etchings or marking on the charging case. The USB-C charging port has been positioned on the rear of the case.
The Stockholm Plus charging case has a plastic hinge that allows the lid to remain upright 90 degrees. The docking area is raised and made of plastic too and, it features vertical cut outs for resting the earbuds. The pod section of the earbud sits buried under the docking area, while the stem rises slightly above it, making it easy to take the earbuds in and out of the charging case. In between the earbuds, there is a reset button, which is a unique feature typically found on Urbanista true wireless earbuds.
With a lot of true wireless earbuds, you have to remove them from the charging case to activate Bluetooth pairing but not with the Stockholm Plus. Opening the charging case lid triggers bluetooth pairing, which means the Urbanista Stockholm Plus earbuds can be conveniently paired while sitting inside the charging case. The automatic bluetooth pairing feature of the Stockholm Plus charging case is actually useful for times when you don't want to listen to audio but you want the earbuds connected to your phone so, they're ready to use when an incoming call arrives. 
True wireless earbuds that don't have this feature require you having to take the earbuds out of the charging case and waiting for automatic re-connection. With some earbuds this can take up to 8 seconds, which is not ideal when wanting to quickly answer a call from the earbuds. The Stockholm Plus don't have any re-connection delay; hence they re-connect instantaneously and without pausing the music either; hence you can switch between earbuds without any interruptions. You can use the Stockholm Plus earbuds independently too, as two standalone bluetooth earpieces.  
Just beneath the touch control area of the earbud, there is an led that feedbacks battery/bluetooth status. This led does not flash though, during audio playback, which not only conserves battery but, it also doesn't distract anyone sitting next to you. The Urbanista Stockholm Plus can be automatically powered on and powered off by holding down the touch control area for 2 seconds (power on) and 10 seconds (power off). 
Muscle memory is something one develops with everything and true wireless earbuds are no different. Some true wireless share the same control functions, while others differ, requiring you to relearn and get used to a different control setup. The Stockholm Plus control functions are for the most part intuitive so, they are easy to remember. You can answer, end and reject calls from the left or the right earbud. The skip track function performs as you would expect: skip forward (from the right earbud) and skip to previous (from the left earbud).
The Urbanista Stockholm Plus also support volume control, which is adjusted via tap increments; hence every time you tap the control area, the volume goes up or down a notch. The Stockholm Plus volume control is basically performed via single taps, which on a lot of true wireless earbuds means play/pause.
Some earbuds volume control is performed by long touching the touch control area, making this type of volume control much more convenient to execute. When maxing out the volume, the Stockholm Plus earbuds generate an audible beep, which may seem like a small thing, but it actually makes for a better experience because without a volume "max beep" or audio prompt, you end up tapping endlessly wondering to yourself whether you have maxed out the volume or not.
The Stockholm Plus don't have any R/L indicator markings on them, which is probably by design since telling the earbuds apart is easier than with regular in-ear monitors (IEMs). The Stockholm Plus earbuds feature one microphone per earbud, which is located at the tip of the stem. The microphones have a clear pickup with a good DSP chip that does a good job at amplifying your voice, while suppressing sounds around you. 

The Stockholm Plus vented pod design isn't just quirky though. It is also functional because of the larger nozzle opening and bigger sound chamber that accommodates single 12mm dynamic drivers. The Stockholm Plus deliver good bass, although the midrange and treble are more emphasized. The Urbanista Stockholm Plus Bluetooth 5.0 chip only supports AAC and SBC audio codecs. There is no aptX support, which does help lower latency on Android devices. When streaming via SBC, you can expect 4 hours of playtime (2 hours per earbud) when playing audio at 50% volume. The Stockholm Plus have a charging time of 1.5 hours and stand by time of two full days and a half.
The Stockholm Plus 500 mAh charging case provides a further 16 hours and has a charging time of 2 hours via 5V/1A input charge. The charging case is compact and feels surprisingly lightweight despite weighing 40 grams. The charging case is made of plastic with a smooth matte finish. It has a squarish rectangular design, reminiscent of a truncated pyramid with a slopping edge around the top and bottom sections. Total dimensions are 5.5cm long, 5cm wide and 2cm tall. 
Measuring 40mm long and 7mm wide, the Stockholm Plus have a longer and more slimline stem than the one found on the London ANC true wireless. Both have a stem design but the Stockholm Plus earbuds weigh 6 grams (3 grams each), compared to 9 grams for London, which aren't as lightweight but do have active noise cancellation. Because of the ultra low weight, the Stockholm Plus earbuds feel like wearing nothing on the ears. Despite the pod design, the Stockholm Plus should fit most ears comfortably and securely when properly slotting the stem inside the ear notch. 
The Stockholm Plus do rest outside the ear canal; hence they are prone to have the same potential issue you get with this type of earbuds and that is slipping out of the ears. This will depend largely on the size of your ear concha and notch. If you have no problems wearing earbuds, you will no doubt enjoy wearing the Stockholm Plus for hours on end, which is something you can't really do with IEMs.
The Stockholm Plus are IPX4 rated, which is enough protection for minimal water splashes. If you do plan to sweat on them a lot, or perhaps run with them in the rain, you should definitely consider the Athens true wireless, which are IP67 waterproof. If you like extra features, the London true wireless has them, including Qi wireless charging support. You can buy the Stockholm Plus true wireless earbuds on amazon.
Gadget Explained disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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