Last year, I reviewed the Dyplay Urban Traveller Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling headphones, and I was quite impressed with their value. The build quality was excellent, the noise-canceling was effective, and the sound quality wasn’t bad either. They had a few quirks, but none of them were deal-breakers.
This go around I’m checking out the sequel, the $99 Dyplay Urban Traveller 2, a similar headphone in size and style, but with some key upgrades over the original. The price is also upgraded a little, moving from $79 to $100. Are they worth the extra scratch? Well read on, and I’ll tell you why they may be the best budget noise cancelling headphones!
What we dig:
The Urban Traveller 2’s overall design is very close to the original save some additional flourishes that I assume are there to dress it up. The original Urban Traveller came in a stone gray color, which was a little blah to me, but the new one looks a lot more interesting. It comes in a charcoal gray with orange accents on the earcups. They may come across as gaudy to some, but I can see others loving them.
They are mostly plastic like the previous model, but the plastic is still of good quality. There’s no creaking or wobbling when you hold them up and give them a little shake as I’m wont to do. The adjustment arms for the earcups are still made of metal, as are the joints which allow the earcups to fold up.
On the original Urban Traveller, I thought the joints were a little too stiff out of the box, and I was worried I would snap the arms when I folded them. But on the sequel, the joints folded smoothly, and I had a lot more confidence in their operation.
The Urban Traveller 2 is super comfortable, again, just like the first model. The clamp is minimal, the protein leather earpads are plush, and there is sufficient room in the earcup even for huge ears like mine. The memory gel strip which rests on the top of your head adds to the comfort. You can wear these for long periods without pain.
Controls on the earcup are still laid out intuitively, just like the Urban Traveller 1. All the buttons are located on the right earcup within easy reach of your fingers when you wear the headphones. The ANC switch is located on the left earcup, and it is also easy to reach while wearing these headphones.
I liked the effectiveness of the noise canceling on the first Urban Traveller, and I still do on the Traveller 2. It handles about 90 to 95% of general background noise and low rumbling sounds like engine noise.
It’s less effective with higher-pitched sounds like voices, but it’s pretty good with those as well. If a person is talking at an average volume, these will quiet their voice down to a whisper (I would say about 80% effective). The ANC on these headphones beats the noise canceling on some models costing 2-3 times the price.
I’ve talked a lot about the similarities between the Dyplay Urban Traveller and Urban Traveller 2, so let me talk about the differences for a minute.
The new Urban Traveller has some decent upgrades over the first one, like Bluetooth 5 versus Bluetooth 4.1. That adds a slight increase in battery life. You also get USB-C fast charging as opposed to the Micro USB on the first model, which brings the charging time down to 1 hour compared to 2-3 on the original model.
They also have the apt-X/apt-X LL Bluetooth codec, which allows them to play music at close to CD-Quality as long as your phone or tablet supports it.
I’m happy about the upgrades because they added just about everything I thought was missing from the first one. I think they did an excellent job of picking enhancements that added value.
Watch out for:
While I dug the upgrades, they brought some things over from the first model which gave me pause.
For one thing, battery life is still somewhat low, topping out at 22 hours playtime, when other models out there give you ten plus more hours. However, 22 hours will get you through the workday, and most flights, so it’s not the end of the world.
Also, the ANC still operates independently of the main power, which is helpful if you just want to banish noise without playing music. However, you still have to remember to turn it off, or you can end up draining the battery when you put them away.
On the other hand, the separate power switch for ANC also allows you to turn it on even when using the wire to connect to your phone. So that provides you an additional option to save battery.
Another nitpick I have is they took away the hard case that came with the older version. Now you get a bag to put it in…I miss the protective case.
Sound: As I said earlier, I’m happy they added the aptX Bluetooth codec this time around. You can hear the sound quality improvements it brings to the Urban Traveller 2.
I think the highs are crisper and more precise than the original model. They provide richness and depth without the brightness you get from some inexpensive headphones. The mids are smooth, but a tad bit congested and recessed.
The bass is deep and articulate, a welcome departure from the boomy one-note stuff you get from most mass-market headphones. It adds nice weight without muddying up the other frequencies.
It’s a well-balanced sound that skews a little bit warm, which is actually good for a headphone you will most likely wear while commuting and need some beats to get you going. BTW, it’s also a beautiful, non-fatiguing, all-round sound signature that works with most genres. I can see these getting you through many long days in the office.
I wouldn’t call the sound audiophile-level, like the sound you would get from the DALI headphones I just reviewed, but they cost about four times the price of the Dyplay cans. These are more of a warm and inviting headphone that does everything just good enough to entertain a picky audiophile like myself.
Conclusion: Just like the originals, the Dyplay Urban Traveller 2’s good build quality, excellent comfort, ease of use, and well-above-average noise canceling makes this a quality product for someone looking for a budget noise-canceling headphone. The improved sound quality and faster charging make them even better than the originals. The only thing to look out for is the battery life, which is a little shorter than most, but not short enough to be truly problematic. All in all, I think these qualify as one of the best budget noise cancelling headphones under $100.
Where To Buy:
AMAZON: dyplay Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Over Ear with Dual-Mic ANC Tech, Hi-Fi Deep Bass Aptx/Aptx-LL, Quick Charge, Foldable Headset 22Hrs Playtime for Travel Work TV
I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.