The latest wireless earphones from Urbanears are made from trash and boast impressive sound for their budget price. They’re lacking for features but if all you want is a pair of cheap wireless earphones that sound good, then these environmentally minded pair are a great option.
- Well balanced, natural sound quality
- Comfortable fit
- Solid battery life
- Good Bluetooth connectivity
- Admirable sustainability goals
- Loose fit results in average noise isolation
- Thin on the ground for features
- Recycled materialMade from 91% recycled plastic
- Battery30 hours of battery life in total
Urbanears’ Boo Tip are the Captain Planet of true wireless earbuds. Like the 1990’s green-mullet sporting hero, sustainability is at the core of the Boo Tip buds’ message, with the units manufactured from plastic recycled materials.
Like Sony with its recent LinkBuds, Urbanears is making a beeline to become climate neutral in its operations; but the Swedish lifestyle brand is looking to get there sooner with its 2030 target. The Boo Tip and the Boo earphones are the first products out of the gate.
It’s a laudable goal, but these earphones still have to perform – otherwise, they won’t be of much use to anyone.
- Average passive noise isolation
- Solid comfort levels
- Compact charging case
- Very lightweight
With a long stem and earbud housing that nestles in the ear, the Boo Tip buds settle for a tried-and-trusted look. Touch controls are simple: play/pause/taking calls; track skipping forwards and back are covered by single, double- and triple-taps respectively. For volume, you’ll need to use your mobile/source device.
At 3.95g per bud, you can wear the Boo Tip for a while without experiencing any discomfort; but there’s something about the way they fit that doesn’t gel for me.
The noise-isolating design of the headphones isn’t great; push the Boo Tip into the ear and they tend to push back, weakening the seal required to keep external sounds at bay. Walk around with them in, and I found the earphones regularly needed to be pushed back in.
Some may actually prefer the loose fit. The popularity of Apple’s AirPods show that people aren’t too concerned about hearing what’s around them and their music at the same time. While the seal isn’t always the strongest, the Boo Tip never felt like they would fall out, whether as a result of vigorous head shakes or running up the steps to try to catch a train – they always remained in place. So they’re loose, but music still sounds good – even though bass is slightly impacted.
In addition, although the wash of ambient sound can mix with music, on the underground it didn’t get to the point where it overwhelmed the music I was listening to. You get small, medium and large silicone tips to manage the seal/fit, and swapping between medium and large had no discernible effect on the sound quality.
The earphones are rated at IPX4, so these are an option for use while exercising or during wet weather. The case is rated to IPX3, which is good enough to fend off sprays of water.
The case’s dimensions are small; everything about the Boo Tip feels compact and pocketable. There’s a tiny LED indicator to show the case’s battery levels, and below that is the “U” logo that acts as the Bluetooth pairing button, with a USB-C connection in the bottom of the case. The earphones don’t ship with a USB-C cable, as Urbanears imagines you’ll have plenty already – all part of reducing the buds’ environmental footprint.
They’re available in a choice of colours, too, something you don’t get with Apple’s AirPods. The Boo Tip options include Almost Green, Slightly Blue, Charcoal Black, Dirty Tangerine and Raw (or white).
- Good Bluetooth connection
- “Optimised” charging feature
- Dual microphone setup for calls
The Boo Tip boast a Bluetooth 5.2 connection, although there’s no confirmation of Bluetooth codec support. At least with Bluetooth 5.2, the Boo Tip make a good fist of sticking with your mobile device in busy areas. At a particularly congested Waterloo, there were only a few mild signal drops to contend with. At other stations, there were no problems at all. The Boo Tip have performed better than headphones that cost three times as much.
Battery life with the case is 30 hours, 4.5 hours per earphone. In the few weeks I’ve used the buds, I haven’t needed to charge the case often. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did. There’s no mention of fast or wireless charging, but the latter seems unlikely. Like other Zound Industries’ wireless earphones, the Boo Tip limit charge to 80% to prolong the use of the buds.
The dual microphone setup for calls offers above average performance. My voice was clearly relayed, and while the Urbanears did pick up noise around me (trains, voices, cars, construction work), it wasn’t enough to obscure my voice. There isn’t much else in terms of features; these are pretty casual, lifestyle-orientated earphones, so no noise cancellation, ambient mode, wear sensors or even control over a voice assistant is offered here.
- Well-balanced sound
- Clear vocals
- Wide soundstage
For the asking price the Boo Tip get plenty right – and very little wrong when it comes to sound quality. The loose fit can impact bass performance; but with the earphones sitting snugly, listening to Eminem’s I’m Shady or Billie Eilish’s xanny, the bass lands with a satisfying thud. Depending on the quality of that fit/seal, there is some decent depth and extension, but I have found that I need to push the earphones in to get that sense of weight from tracks.
Vocals are crisply and clearly delivered across a range of different tracks and genres, and there’s good amount of definition and brightness granted to the high frequencies, which come across sharp and impressively clear for a cheap true wireless offering. The mid-range is sufficiently detailed to convey instruments in a natural manner, with a fair amount of punchiness delivered by the 10mm drivers that gives a good kick to the percussive instruments in Doves’ Sea Song.
The soundstage is described with width; it isn’t too dissimilar to the similarly priced 1More ColorBuds 2, allowing vocals and instruments to breath while avoiding that feel of a soundstage that’s described in cramped terms.
There’s good dynamism, both in the broad sense and at a smaller scale in how the earphones describe the difference between quiet and louder moments, whether it’s dealing with a voice such as Anette Askvik’s in Liberty or the orchestral instruments in the Theme from Ant-Man. There’s a naturalism in the way they conduct themselves, with a nice sense of energy and flow that isn’t over-egged. It makes for a smooth, engaging listen across a range of genres.
The Urbanears Boo Tip prove to be well balanced across the frequency range, showing good ability in terms of conveying the fluctuating rhythms of a piece. They also display solid timing with Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Hudson Mohawke’s Trykk. Nothing feels out of sorts or sticks out like a sore thumb, making the Boo Tip’s sound one that’s unified and coherent.
Factor in a slight hint of richness of the low-end frequencies and, in short, the Urbanears Boo TIp offer a very accessible and appealing sound that’s one of the better efforts I’ve heard at this price point.
Should you buy it?
Good sound at a cheap price Forget for a moment the environmental benefits and the Urbanears offer a well-balanced sound for £70. Add the sustainability to this and you have a laudable pair of wireless earphones.
You want more features There’s no ambient mode and features are thin on the ground in general. The Sony LinkBuds share similar sustainability goals, offer more features – but are double the price.
With a sustainable ethos at their core and a pretty good sound to boot, the Urbanears Boo Tip present themselves as a bargain buy within the cheap true wireless market.
You won’t get much in the way of features – Urbanears keeps things simple in that regards – and while I have a nit-pick about the noise isolation they offer, some may prefer to be more aware of their surroundings. If you’re after a simple pair of cheap wireless earphones that sound good, the Boo Tip hit the mark, and you can feel good about the fact you’re helping the environment, too, which is a great bonus.
How we test
We test every pair of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested over two weeks
Tested with real world use
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There’s no USB-C cable packaged with the earphones, with Urbanears expecting you’ll already have one to hand.