Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless review: A dynamic Bluetooth headphone

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11

The Good The Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless is a well-designed, comfortable over-ear wireless headphone that offers exciting, dynamic sound with quality bass. Battery life is strong at 25 hours of music playback; features highlights include dual microphones, touch controls and aptX support.

The Bad The nylon carry "pouch" is skimpy; has a tendency to make songs that have a grittier edge sound harsher.

The Bottom Line The Sennheiser Urbanite XL is a well-designed, dynamic-sounding Bluetooth headphone that works well with a lot of music -- but not quite everything.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 7
  • Value 8

As part of its 2015 line of headphones, Sennheiser is serving up a few different wireless headphones, many of which are based on earlier wired models. Such is the case for the Urbanite XL Wireless, which follows in the footsteps of last year's wired Urbanite XL and carries a list price of $300 (£250, AU$400). It currently only comes in black, but more color options should arrive in the future.

Sennheiser's Urbanite line is designed to have a little more urban flare to it and appeal to the Beats audience. This model looks very similar to the wired Urbanite XL that we liked, but this model gives you the option of going wired or wireless and has touch controls on the right ear cup.

Tap the side of the headphone once and your music pauses or plays (the touch interface is quite sensitive). Tap twice and you advance a track forward. Swipe up and down to control volume.

The headphone has touch controls on the right ear cup. Sarah Tew/CNET

Some people don't like these types of touch controls because you can end up accidentally touching the side of the headphone and interfering with music playback. But the touch controls worked well for me, even if I did have a few accidental pauses from time to time, particularly when I went to adjust the headphone on my head.

While made mostly of plastic, the Urbanite XL Wireless does have metal hinges, seems sturdily built and folds up into a more compact form factor. They come with a carrying pouch, but it's pretty skimpy, which is a little disappointing.

As far as other extras go, near-field communications (NFC) tap-to-pair technology and aptX, which is supposed to offer enhanced Bluetooth sound with smartphones that support it. The headphone also has dual microphones, so you can hear your voice in the headphone when you're using it as a cell-phone headset.

This model doesn't feature active noise-canceling like the Beats Studio Wireless and Sennheiser's more expensive Momentum Wireless . But sound isolation is decent and the headphones are comfortable to wear.

Battery life is rated at a strong 25 hours of music playback and the headphones come with a 2-year warranty, which is a year more than the warranty that you get with most headphones.

Best Headphones for 2020

All best headphones

More Best Products

All best products