Urbanears Hellas Wireless Headphones: Tough to Use but Worth the Hassle

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Steve Anderson
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Urbanears Hellas Wireless Headphones: Tough to Use but Worth the Hassle

Urbanears Hellas headphones have one particular advantage for the gamer, in that they're wireless and can work with most any device that offers Bluetooth connectivity. That's both their blessing and their curse, as I recently found out when trying a pair that our friends at the Max Borges Agency sent out for review.

The Urbanears Hellas offer a touch interface built into the exterior of the left earphone, allowing for comparatively easy operation. It boasts a built-in microphone to handle phone calls, along with a completely foldable design to ensure that they won't take up a lot of space. Both the headband and the ear cushions are washable, helping to ensure that the system will always be fresh and clean regardless of how far or how hard a user puts them to use. A USB charging cable comes included to put some life in the devices.

You're likely wondering about the headline; indeed, my time with the Urbanears Hellas was fraught with difficulty, starting with the process of pairing the device to an iPad. It took several attempts, including one attempt where the headphones were on so long in a bid to make the connection that their power-saving mechanisms kicked in and shut themselves off before actually making the connection. A second time, I left the devices alone for some time, then needing to leave the house and not wanting to leave the devices run, I shut down the headphones just as their pairing appeared on the iPad. Several more attempts took place before, finally, a connection was made and the system accepted the headphones.

With the pairing finally complete, which took off-and-on attempts for better than two weeks, the interface itself could finally get some hands-on time. Several attempts to use the touchscreen systems proved less than effective; whether it was a matter of touching in the wrong place or touching too much of the interface at once was unclear. The interface is simple enough, but it's not immediately clear where exactly the touchable portions are.

Some portions are more intuitive; it took only seconds to suss out just where the charger port was, and once it was found, it was clearly in the right place just under one of the ear cups, hidden by the frame and revealed with a bit of angling. Then, actually running sound through the device proved welcome; this system has shockingly good sound for being wireless. Running both the trailer for Sony's "The Shallows" through it as well as Mark Petrie's "New Dawn" afforded me looks at both bass and treble, and whether a calm, introspective bit of smooth jazz evoking images of sunrise in nature or the latest version of woman versus shark, I got a terrific handle on these. The sound quality is spectacular; not quite as good as last week's vModa Crossfades, but certainly a worthwhile addition.

Those interested in getting in on the Urbanears Hellas can do so for $119, and will even have a choice of colors involved, particularly on Amazon.

In the end, the Hellas were extremely difficult to work with, but for those willing to take the time to get them up and running properly, the results--and the value--should be welcome.

Pros: Excellent sound, wireless for convenience, washable, decent price

Cons: A rolling litany of disasters just getting them to work, simple yet difficult to work with controls

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