Gadgets for humans

UrbanEars Plattan 2 BT Review: Minimalist Bluetooth headphones with clear, balanced sound


UrbanEars’ Plattan 2 headphones – a popular set of cans known for their minimalist design – are getting the wireless treatment. I’ve had the chance to try out the new Plattan 2 BT for a couple of days, and for $99 there’s a lot to like.

UrbanEars’ headphones make a statement through simplicity. There’s little in the way of obnoxious branding, instead relying on solid colors and clean design to be recognizable. Other than a small black tag with the company’s name on it, there’s no way to tell who even makes them, but that very same minimal design is what makes them so eye-catching.

They’re pretty comfortable too, with foam-filled pleather pads and a flexible headband that adjusts to your head movements. Considering how light they are, they provide a decent amount of isolation too. 

But my favorite design detail is actually the control scheme. There’s a tiny knob on the right earcup that you use for all your interactions. Push it up/down to change the volume. Push forward or back to change tracks, or hold in either direction to rewind or fast forward (a feature few headphones have nowadays). Push it in to play and pause.

It’s extremely intuitive, without any of the finickiness of touch controls or accidental presses of the usual button combos.

Of course, none of this would matter if the headphones didn’t actually sound good, but there too they deliver.

Unlike many headphones aimed at the mass market, the Plattan have a fairly neutral sound, with just a slight boost to the bass and treble, and a clear midrange, ample detail and a pleasant amount of treble. Their biggest flaw is a narrow soundstage, even by on-ear headphones standards.

Bluetooth connectivity is solid, if barebones. I haven’t experienced any signal drops, and range was good enough for me to walk around my room before losing a connection. That said, don’t expect any advanced features like noise cancellation, an equalizer or any app functionality. These are as barebones as Bluetooth headphones get.

Another qualm: the Plattan 2 BT includes a headphone jack that can be used for connecting to other headphones or to use in wired mode, but there’s no actual headphone cable in the box. That’s weird.

At $99, the Plattan 2 BT are entering a crowded market with plenty of other great-sounding options. But let’s be honest – you buy these for the design. The fact that they actually sound quite good is just a nice bonus.

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Published November 13, 2017 — 22:11 UTC