Good Looks, Above Average Noise Cancelling, and Decent Sound.
The Dyplay Urban Traveller Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are wireless over the ear noise canceling headphones that as of this writing, sell for $79.99 on Amazon. Just looking at the specs I really didn’t expect much, but once I got them in my hand, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound and construction. The sample I have was sent to me by the manufacturer in exchange for an honest review, and that is what follows.
The Urban Traveller as the name suggests has a clean minimalist design that one can easily see hipsters rocking on the subway in some urban locale. I actually like the look of these, since I’m a fan of clean design, but the light matte gray color, which is the only color they come in, is not my cup of tea. I would really love to see these in either matte charcoal or matte black color, but then again my wife went crazy for the gray color and the overall design as well, so it seems there is an audience for it.
The headphones are mostly plastic, but the plastic seems to be good quality, and there are no creaking sounds or wobbling when you pick them up. All the parts are tightly fit together, some may be too tight. The adjustment arms for the earcups are made of metal, as are the joints which allow the earcups to fold up toward the headband. The only issue I had with these joints is that they were very stiff. It seems like they have some kind of mechanism to lock them down in place when you wear them. But when I tried to fold them up, it required a pretty good amount of force to make the joints bend, and they made a loud clicking noise that was disconcerting. Plus, with the amount of force it took to fold them up, it made me nervous about just grabbing the bottom of the cup and folding it. I pushed in at the joint itself and had no issues folding it that way.
As far as wearing comfort is concerned, the Urban Traveller is very easy to wear, they are actually more comfortable than my $400 Bowers and Wilkins ANC headphones. Head clamp is minimal, the protein leather earpads are very soft, and there is sufficient room in the earcup even for my relatively big ears. There’s also a memory gel strip that rests on the top of your head which adds to the comfort. I was able to wear them for long periods of time with no fatigue.
Controls on the earcup are laid out in an intuitive manner within easy reach of your fingers when you are wearing the headphones. On the right side, there are three buttons, the one in the middle controls power, Bluetooth pairing, playback of music. The other two situated above and below, control the volume along with track back and track forward when you hold the buttons down. This is a very common setup for Bluetooth headphones today. On the left earcup, there is a switch for the ANC, and it is also easy to reach when you have the headphones on but my only issue with it was it was very hard to push up and down. However, this is something that may loosen up over time. When the ANC is on, there is a small green led on the switch that shows it’s activated. On the other side is a multicolor blue/red led above the Volume Up button that indicates power status and Bluetooth pairing status.
Bluetooth pairing is quick and painless as with most Bluetooth devices nowadays and the BT 4.1 + EDR chip ensures a stable connection under most circumstances. The phone headset functionality is also par for the course, and quality was decent when I placed a phone call with them. The other party was able to hear me fine and I could hear them.
The Noise Cancelling was pretty good also. Even without the ANC switched on, the headphones cut out a lot of noise passively, but when I turned it on, it cut out a lot of the background whirring noises, like the fan on my laptop and my bathroom fan which is pretty loud. I would say about 90%. The volume of voices was reduced but not totally cut out, something that really only the most expensive ANC headphones really achieve. When compared to my AKG N60NC Wireless, which originally sold for over $300, they actually cut out a lot more noise. On the AKG, voices were cut about 50% and other sounds about 80%…but the Dyplay was more like 75/90. I was really impressed by how well they did for the price.
ANC can be turned on and off independently of the main power, which is nice if you just want to cut some noise without music, but you have to be careful to turn if off or you will kill the battery when you put them away. You can also play music using the included wire with or without the noise cancelling, which is also pretty cool since this allows you to preserve the battery. Battery life is rated at about 15 hours with either Bluetooth or ANC on individually and 12 hours with both of them on. This is a little low compared to other headphones like this, but it’s still respectable. It will get you through most flights, and through the workday.
As far as accessories go, you don’t get much, an instruction manual, micro USB charging cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for wired playback, and a hard case for storage, which is a nice touch, something that my AKG NC headphones didn’t even come with.
Now if you know anything about this blog, you know it’s all about high fidelity sound. So the first thing I look at when I look at Bluetooth headphones is the audio codec. Usually, if a headphone doesn’t list what it is in the specs, then it’s probably SBC, which is basically the default lowest quality codec used by all Bluetooth headphones. I usually like to see at least aptX which can support CD-quality audio transfer. But codecs are not the only word in sound quality, part of the story is in the implementation of the data transfer and the quality of the drivers in the headphone.
In this case, the sound is respectable. The overall sound signature is what I would call bass-heavy, but to their credit, even though it’s elevated, the bass doesn’t overwhelm the other frequencies. Even though there is not a whole lot of detail, the highs are crisp enough to make things interesting, and the mids, which are actually their strong suit, are rich enough to anchor an overall fun sounding headphone. I listened to a bunch of different tracks, from hip-hop to jazz, and the fun non-fatiguing sound worked with just about everything I listened to.
I also compared the sound to my AKG N60nc Wireless headphones, and the AKG was pretty much richer and more detailed all the way around. But the one area which the Urban Traveller held it’s own with the AKG was in the mid-range. While the mids were more detailed on the AKG, the more forward mids on the Dyplay headphones gave them a more open sound.
So, in the end, good looks, good build quality, excellent comfort, decent sound, and above average noise canceling makes this a good product for someone looking for a budget wireless noise cancelling headphone.
-Bluetooth version: 4.1+EDR
-Working Time: up to 15hrs (Bluetooth only)
-Working Time: up to 12hrs (Bluetooth+ANC)
-Working Time: up to 24hrs (ANC only)
-Operational Range: up to 33 feet
What’s in the box?
-dyplay Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
-3.5 mm Audio Cable
-USB Charging Cable
-Quick User Guide