Urbanista Lisbon: One-minute review
The Urbanista Lisbon offer active users another affordable option to see to their listening needs during workouts (or when they're navigating a busy subway station during rush hour). At under $50 / £50, these true wireless earbuds are certainly an appealing choice, especially in this time of rising inflation.
They're also a somewhat unique one. While many popular wireless earbuds are competing for the best audio Grammy or the best ANC Oscar, these running headphones hone other (dare we say, equally important) aspects of workout headphones – namely, battery life, fit, and call quality. Yes, call quality – anybody who's ever attended a Zoom meeting while on a treadmill or on a hike will agree. They then wrap all those up in a great-for-small-ears package that comes in vibrant colors, because it's 2022, people: modern minimalist and neutral colors are out, and big bold colors are in.
They might not take home the best in sound award – or have ANC and waterproofing, for that matter. But, the Urbanista Lisbon, in other aspects, still win.
Urbanista Lisbon: Price and availability
- How much does it cost? $49 (£49, AU$89)
- Where is it available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Battery life: 9 hours (27 hours with case)
Weight (earbuds): 4g each
Good, cheap headphones aren't impossible to find, but in a sea of sub-par brands on Amazon, they're certainly rarer. Luckily, the Urbanista Lisbon make them less so with a $49 (£49, AU$89) price tag.
To be fair, there are also excellent options that are cheaper – although those are rarer still. The Jlab Go Air Sport will set you back even less at $30 (£29, AU$69), and it boasts a better sound and some waterproofing, albeit in a bigger package and with a slightly muffled mic. There's also the cheaper-still Jlab Go Air Pop, a non-workout option that costs only $20 (£20, AU$49) and punches well above its weight.
The Urbanista Lisbon come in different colors, three of which are bright and a nice break from all the neutral options out there: mint green, blush pink, and coral peach. And, they're now readily available in the US, Australia, and the UK.
- Value: 3.5 / 5
Urbanista Lisbon: Design
- Controls not very responsive or intuitive
- Wings keep them in place, no water-resistance
- Small and comes in different colors
Small and lightweight, each Urbanista Lisbon earbud is under an inch in size, which does make putting them on a bit tricky at first. You quickly get used to it, however, especially if you have the removable silicone wings attached as the wings can serve as handles.
The best part about these earbuds being tiny is that they fit users with smaller ears better. This reviewer has always had an issue with earbuds being just a little too big, but that hasn’t been an issue here. In fact, these earbuds fit our ears perfectly, with the wings sitting comfortably inside the concha part of our ears to keep them in place without putting undue pressure on the cartilage.
The Urbanista Lisbon, therefore, fit snugly and are comfortable to wear for long periods. That’s one of the things that make them great for working out.
If only Urbanista bothered to hone their touch controls. While having them is a nice, well, touch, they’re neither the most responsive nor the most intuitive.
For example, although we appreciate the fact these earbuds come with volume control (and, having launched in September 2021, they certainly got there way before Apple), adjusting the volume up or down takes a bit of patience. You have to tap once on the right earbud to turn the volume up a level and tap once on the left earbud to turn it down a notch. Unfortunately, to play or pause, you have to tap on either earbud twice, which means that if you’re adjusting the volume too fast, you’ll likely end up pausing instead.
In addition, there’s no option to go back to the previous track, so if you want to play a song all over again, you would have to use your smartwatch or phone.
There’s no sound isolation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Folks who work out at the gym might prefer having ANC or even passive noise cancelation, but if you prefer to run outdoors, go on hikes, or cycle, not having sound isolation is certainly safer as you’ll hear what’s happening around you.
The one feature active users will miss is waterproofing. Unfortunately, the Urbanista Lisbon don’t come with even the lowest IP rating so definitely do not run in the rain with them on. It is worth mentioning, however, that we’ve worked out with and profusely sweat on these while training outdoors on excruciatingly hot Southern California mid-summer days, and they haven’t crapped out on us yet.
- Design: 3.5 / 5
Urbanista Lisbon: Performance
- Not a lot of volume
- You’ll come out loud and clear during calls
- Not a lot of bass response, mid-range recessed, pretty good high end
In terms of performance, there are two big things we demand from our workout headphones, and those are great sound and great phone call clarity. Some headphones and earbuds focus on the former and not so much the other. In fact, even the likes of the AirPods Pro and the Beats Fit Pro aren’t that impressive when it comes to call quality.
For some reason, the Urbanista Lisbon did the opposite. During our tests, we found that we came out loud and clear during phone calls, and not in the least bit muffled unlike pricier earbuds. In fact, the people on the other end of our calls couldn’t really tell much difference between these and the iPhone in terms of voice clarity and quality.
Unfortunately, in terms of sound quality, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Our biggest gripe is the volume. You’ll find that there’s a big drop in volume when it’s set below 75% – enough that you’ll actually struggle to hear some older songs like Bowie’s Life on Mars and Queen’s Under Pressure. At 25%, you can hardly hear anything. The volume at 75% is certainly the sweet spot here. Above 75%, there’s also a big jump in volume and some fatiguing distortion.
The audio itself isn’t too shabby. There’s some decent sound imaging, the high end is pretty good, and the upper mids are well represented so higher-pitched voices come out clear and strong. However, the low end is pulled back so there’s not a lot of bass response. Urbanista makes up for that by pushing the upper edge of the bass forward. The mid-range is also recessed so it’s quieter. Finally, the overall audio sounds a little crowded so you might miss out on some instruments and deeper immersion.
Taylor Swift’s August sounds as it should on the Urbanista Lisbon, if maybe just slightly thinner. Exile sounds fine as well. Meanwhile, both Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill have enough clarity and good bass presence. However, Hounds of Love sounds thinner than usual and Begin Again from the Sayonara Wild Hearts soundtrack is missing a lot of bass.
The good news, though, is that if you’re not as discerning about sound quality, the Urbanista Lisbon should be more than enough to see to your audio listening needs.
While much pricier workout earbuds are struggling to even reach that five-hour battery life mark, the Urbanista Lisbon delivers up to nine hours of playtime per full charge – beating Jlab Go Air Sport’s impressive 8+ hours longevity. The charging case only offers a total of 27 hours, but that’s still higher than the Beats Fit Pro’s 24-hour rating.
- Performance: 3.5 / 5
Should I buy the Urbanista Lisbon?
Buy it if...
You have small ears
The Urbanista Lisbon are small and lightweight, making them perfect and comfortable for users with smaller ears. That’s even with their removable wingtips on.
You're constantly on a call
The mic quality and voice clarity on these are surprisingly impressive – so impressive people might not be able to tell the difference between them and your smartphone.
You need a long battery life
Each earbud has up to nine hours of battery life per full charge, which is much longer than some of the pricier models out there.
Don't buy it if...
You want great sound with a lot of bass
There’s not a lot of bass response here and the mid-range is recessed so it’s quieter and doesn’t have a lot of oomph.
You sweat a lot
We’ve used these for months now, wearing them during grueling workouts, and they haven’t failed us yet. Still, you should know that they don’t come with an IP rating for waterproofing.
Jlab Go Air Sport
The Jlab Go Air Sport punch above their $30/£29 weight and give rivals three or four times the price a hard run for their money. These workout headphones are definitely making some of the greats sweat.
Read our full Jlab Go Air Sport review
Beats Fit Pro
One of the best Beats headphones, it boasts great, lively audio, good ANC, and a terrific, secure fit. It's a little more expensive if you prefer a pricier pair for your workouts.
Read the full Beats Fit Pro review
Shokz OpenRun Pro
If you prefer something you can run AND swim with, a pair of bone conduction headphones might serve you better. And, you don't need to make compromises on audio quality.
Read the full Shokz OpenRun Pro review
Urbanista Lisbon: Report card
|Value||The Urbanista Lisbon are under $50 / £50, which make them a great option for budget-minded active users.||3.5 / 5|
|Design||They’re great for smaller ears, have volume control, fit snugly, and are just adorable. However, they also do not have waterproofing and the touch controls aren’t the most intuitive.||3.5 / 5|
|Performance||These are great for making calls while working out, have pretty good high end, and come with a nine-hour battery life. However, the volume is weird and the bass response is minimal.||3 / 5|
|Total||There are things that the Urbanista Lisbon do well, but there are just as many things they just don’t. Personally, we think it’s a great budget option. But, it still boils down to your priorities.||3.5 / 5|
- First reviewed September 2022
How we test
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.