The EarPods revolution that never was at least got someone inspired.
When the iPhone 5 launched I wasn´t too impressed with the new features, but what did impress me was the new earphones or rather EarPods. The new design of the EarPods didn´t really catch on, and there hasn’t been the stream of new versions from other manufactures I had predicted. Now finally a proper brand has released their take on EarPods. Swedish Urbanista brings some alterations to the design with their San Francisco.
Much like the EarPods the San Francisco will have a mixed audience. The one thing I really like is the fact that I don’t have to cram them down my ear canal. They rest comfortably in the outer ear, and just a slight narrow tip that enters the outer ear canal. The not so good thing is the lack of noise isolation, as there is really minimal material blocking outside noise. Furthermore bass response is not that great, as the rather loose fit means that there is no seal providing a space for the bass to evolve.
The sound quality is quite good for most music styles, and they to quite a good job at providing bass despite the lack of a seal that brings the bass out in in-ear headphones. Especially if you are quite still in a quiet environment you can get quite a good listening experience. If you are exercising, or for example cycling next to traffic the experience deteriorates quickly. Listening to podcasts on my way to work means that I have to crank the volume to the max not to miss what is said.
The look of the San Francisco is cool, and fresh. There is a proper large brand recognition piece of flat plastic on the back of the earphones. This also helps getting the earphones in place, as you get a proper grip.
The cord is flat, and not prone to tangle. It is however prone to curling creating loops that are easy to adjust, but that I have managed to hook onto for example the handlebars of my bike. Overall the cord seems durable, and there is no transfer of noise from rubbing against clothes.
The microphone is ok, and I haven’t had any issues with the sound quality. The one button has acted up on me though, and writing this review I can’t get it to work with neither my Galaxy S4 nor my MacBook Air. When it worked it performed standard play/pause, and Google Search duties well. Probably me getting stuck pulling on the cord one too many times.
I personally really enjoy the San Francisco, and am really glad to see more earphones that don’t need to be forced inside the ear canal. The issues with lack of noise isolation, and deteriorating sound quality when moving about are low points. These still come highly recommended at a reasonable price.