The number of fashion-forward headphones being released has risen sharply recently. Newcomer Urbanears is crashing the fashionista party with three lines of portable headphones designed to catch eyes and turn heads. One is the Plattan, an on-ear model that comes in a choice of 14 colours. Unfortunately, these earphones don't offer the clearest audio quality, but they do pump out plenty of bass and can be found online for a relatively affordable £40.
Choose the hue for you
The Plattan headphones come in hues to suit every taste, including a charming green 'salad' tinge, two shades of grey, and three shades of blue. The colour extends from the padded, fabric-coated headband down to the circular earcups and even the stiff padding. This could definitely stand to be cushier, as the headphones tend to put uncomfortable pressure on the ear after about an hour of wear. But the Plattan headphones definitely look good, with their matte finish and metal adjustment loops.
Although Urbanears doesn't include a carrying case of any kind -- not really a surprise at this price -- the Plattan headphones are quite portable. The earcups measure just 64mm in diameter and fold in for easier transport. A single cloth cable measuring 114cm long descends from the left earpiece and terminates in a nickel-plated straight plug. The cord is impressively thick, isn't very tangle-prone, and is reinforced at both ends, so it should be durable.
The cord also includes a module containing a mic and call-answer button, for use with the iPhone and other music phones -- a welcome feature in this price range. Urbanears packages a dual-banded adaptor with the headphones for audio sources that might take issue with triple-banded plugs.
The Plattan headphones are unimpressive on the audio-quality front, which isn't a terribly surprising discovery given the price point. Clarity is the real loser. Music in general sounds as if it's coming through water or a wall -- it's quite muffled. If you're looking for a crisp, detailed high-end, look elsewhere. Similarly, the mid-range tends to get lost in the muddiness.
On the plus side, there's plenty of bass, although it's fairly mushy for most tracks -- Scissor Sisters' songs sounded horrible during testing. Also, the headphones run loud. Our test music player had no problem driving them at our desired volume with the levels at less than half.
If you mainly listen to hip-hop and are concerned with bass, volume, style and price, the Urbanears Plattan headphones could be a suitable option. Otherwise, the Plattan headphones aren't for you.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet