Editor’s Note, Jan. 25, 2010: We initially miscalculated the ratings for this product. Overall correct rating is 6.0; Design is 7, Feature is 7 and Performance is 4.
It’s nothing new, but the headphone makers’ trend in developing the newest “fashion transition” model saw a dramatic increase late in the year. Newcomers to Urbanears provide a few examples, with three lines of portable headphones designed to catch the eye and turn heads. One is the Plattan, an on-ear model with 14 color options. Unfortunately, these headphones don’t offer the clearest sound quality, but they produce plenty of bass and are relatively affordable $ 60 a time.
In case you’re wondering if the previous 14 was a typo – the Urbanears Plattan headphones come in a variety of colors to suit every taste, including a charming, two-color green tone. gray and three blue. Colors range from padded headband and fabric upholstery to round ear cups and even hard cushioning. This can definitely become cushioned, as the headphones tend to put uncomfortable pressure on the ears after about an hour of wearing. But the Plattan headphones certainly look good, with a matte finish and metal adjustment ring.
While Urbanears doesn’t include any type of carrying case – not really surprising at this price point – the Plattan headphones are quite portable. The ear cups are just 2.5 inches in diameter and foldable for easier portability. A 45-inch fabric cable goes down from the left earbud and ends with a nickel-plated straight plug. The wire is impressively thick, doesn’t get tangled easily and is reinforced at both ends, which says a lot about its potential durability. It also includes a microphone module and call answer button for use with iPhones and other music phones, a nice feature in this price range. (Urbanears also bundles dual-band adapters with headphones for audio sources that may have problems with tri-band plugs.)
The Plattan headphones are not impressive in terms of sound quality – not a surprising revelation in terms of price. Obviously the real loser is here. Music in general sounds as if it is piercing through water or through a wall – it’s pretty muffled. If you’re looking for a sharp, detailed high-end device, look elsewhere. Likewise, mids tend to get lost in the haze. On the plus side, there’s a lot of bass, although it’s pretty weak for most tracks (Scissor Sisters sounded awful during testing). In addition, the headphones run loud; Our test Walkman had no problem driving them at our desired volume at less than half a level. If you mostly listen to hip-hop and are concerned with bass, loudness, style, and price, this might be the right choice. If not, the Plattan headphones aren’t for you.