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Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless review: Great sound and super-long battery life

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Sept. 16, 2015
At US$300, Sennheiser’s Urbanite XL Wireless headphones are a little pricey considering they lack a few of the premium features (such as active noise cancelation) that some of their lower-priced competitors have. But these wireless over-the-ear headphones arguably earn their high price point in other areas, particularly their well-balanced sound profile and impressively long battery life.

Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless

At $300, Sennheiser’s Urbanite XL Wireless headphones are a little pricey considering they lack a few of the premium features (such as active noise cancelation) that some of their lower-priced competitors have. But these wireless over-the-ear headphones arguably earn their high price point in other areas, particularly their well-balanced sound profile and impressively long battery life.

Design-wise, the Urbanite XL Wireless headphones are pretty but not spectacularly eye-catching, with a plastic and metal frame, a rubber-padded headband covered in black stitched canvas, and large circumaural ear cups with velvet-covered muffs. The hinged frame allows these cups to fold inward for a slightly smaller (but no less bulky) traveling size.

The XL Wireless is on the heavier side, weighing slightly less than 11 ounces (the similarly priced Beats Solo2 Wireless, in comparison, weigh just 7.6 ounces). This is problematic if you happen to be moving around while listening, because the rubbery material on the headband is slick and the headphones’ mass will cause them to slide around on your hair.

Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless
Sennheiser's Urbanite XL Wireless don't travel light, but they deliver a superb audio performance.  Credit: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

These headphones are a little large for my liking, though the cushioned ear cups are very comfortable—and they’re excellent at blocking outside noise (in part because they’re so big). Sennheiser does offer a smaller version (the Urbanite), but these are not yet available with Bluetooth.

The right ear cup houses the XL Wireless’ controls, including some surprisingly clunky and unrefined touch controls. A square piece of plastic on the right ear cup acts as a touch sensor for Play/Pause (tap) and volume control (slide up or down), but it’s overly sensitive and often mistakes taps for slides and vice-versa. There’s a power switch, audio-in jack, and micro USB port for charging underneath the right ear cup. The headphones come with an audio cable (with a built-in remote), USB charging cable, and a thin nylon carrying case that will do little for actual protection.

Sennheiser describes the Urbanite XL Wireless headphones as delivering “massive bass for a club sound wherever you go.” As you may know, I love bass-heavy club beats, and these headphones deliver solid and deep bass, but it’s not what I would call “massive.” In fact, I found the XL Wireless’ audio profile extremely balanced and detailed—no one tone outshines the others, and vocals are crisp and clear. Even with my bass bias, these headphones offer the best, most layered audio in this roundup. If you are looking for deep, club-tastic bass, you’ll be happier with Beats by Dre.

 

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