A strong marriage of eco-friendly tech and retro-chic design, the Urbanista Los Angeles headphones are the one-and-only pair of solar-powered cans available on the market at this time. Fitted with a scarf crafted from solar-cell materials, the great thing about the Los Angeles wi-fi headphones is that they’ll at all times be charging so long as they’re uncovered to any sort of sunshine, be it solar or bulb.
Thankfully, the cutting-edge photo voltaic tech doesn’t add further girth to those wi-fi headphones, and we have been thrilled to search out that they provided noise cancellation and aggressive, energetic audio – although for $199, they actually aren’t low-cost. Interested in donning this futuristic eco-friendly accent? Here’s what we thought after toting the avant-garde Urbanista Los Angeles round for the final week.
What we liked
The Urbanista Los Angeles are available Midnight Black or Sand Gold, and I used to be glad to obtain the muted gold shade, which fortunately, didn’t look low-cost or cheesy. As an fanatic of over-ear headphones, I admit to having switched allegiance to earbuds lately – primarily as a result of they’re simpler to throw in my pocket on the best way out of the home. So it was with nice pleasure that I reverted to this retro model.
The wi-fi headphones are handsome, with ample cushioning on the earcups and headband. I appreciated the compact measurement, and that it didn’t encroach on the consolation of sporting the headphones for longer intervals of time. But along with its stylish model, the true showstopper right here is the Exeger photo voltaic cell materials which is layered on the highest of the scarf.
True nonstop battery life
The first and solely pair of solar-powered headphones, the Urbanista Los Angeles certainly caters to these occupied with a extra eco-friendly way of life, but in addition to those that by no means wish to take into consideration operating out of battery life. Like, ever.
The handy photo voltaic cell materials will be discovered on the surface prime of the scarf and is the one matte black materials you’ll discover on the gold Los Angeles. And it’s so benign,, you in all probability wouldn’t even understand it’s a photo voltaic panel simply by wanting.
To hold these headphones charged, merely put them below the sunshine. The window is a superb spot, however any lamp or lightbulb will do – although they may also hold charging whilst you put on them. Inspired by photosynthesis, the Exeger Powerfoyle transforms that gentle into clear, continuous power. And for anybody who has run out of battery in the course of their favourite track, a brilliant fascinating podcast or on a long-haul flight, that is no small achievement. If, by some likelihood, you permit them at nighttime for too lengthy, additionally they include a plain-old USB-C charging cable.
In our day by day testing, we by no means got here near operating out of battery simply utilizing gentle as our energy supply, often hovering between 60 and 75%. The case is fabricated from the identical matte materials and has a reduce out to go away the scarf uncovered. So even if you happen to’re toting them, you possibly can nonetheless ensure that they’re ingesting up the sunshine.
A helpful app and good audio high quality
The controls are discovered on the underside of every earcup. The proper earcup homes a three-button management pad, with the primary middle one for energy, Bluetooth pairing, audio playback and name administration. The proper button turns quantity up and the left turns it down. The left earcup comes with only one, bigger characteristic button, which helps you to entry your voice assistant and cycle via Ambient and energetic noise canceling (ANC). I’d have most well-liked it if these buttons have been on the precise earcup, fairly than beneath it, however they have been easy sufficient to choose up as soon as I bought the grasp of it.
You also can change via these modes utilizing the app, which moreover reveals how a lot battery you’ve gotten saved. For occasion, I simply checked after utilizing the Los Angeles for a couple of hours this morning, and it’s at a 60 % cost. So onto the windowsill they went. And, if you wish to see precisely how shortly the solar energy works, you possibly can hit the sunshine icon on the highest left of the app to take a look at a real-time meter of whether or not the headphones are Gaining or Draining. Mine instantly confirmed the Gaining, which was kinda cool.
Urbanista factors out that the solar-powered charging shouldn’t be fast, however fairly takes time to show into energy. This means you could not see the precise share change drastically, and the way a lot depends on the standard of the sunshine. The firm additionally claims that you just get an amazing 80 hours on one cost, although it’s onerous to inform if that is true when the headphones are constantly charging.
The Los Angeles mechanically shuts down once you take them off, which I favored as a result of until I’m going into my gadget, my Beats Fit Pro earbuds don’t cease enjoying till they’re safely of their case. So, if I’m in the course of an audio guide or podcast, I’ve to do some rewinding once I choose it again up. However, in case you have the time and instinct, you may as well set any Apple or Beats earbuds to mechanically pause once you take them out.
As for audio high quality, the Los Angeles are certainly bass-forward, although they do provide a clear, balanced sound. They don’t have the encompass sound-like spatial sound of my Beats Fit Pro, however they made tracks like Kanye West’s “Power” as energetic to take heed to as Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” I do like some low-end listening.
What we don’t like
When it involves controlling the headphones, it might be tougher to get used to discovering the proper button for the proper perform – particularly if you happen to’re used to easily tapping on an earbud. Though when you do it a couple of instances, you’ll actually get the grasp of it.
The app, although useful in the case of switching ANC modes and checking battery life, doesn’t do a lot else. And you possibly can’t go in and change up the EQ.
And, lastly, for $199, the competitors is fierce. For occasion, the JBL Live 650 TNC, our price range choose for finest headphones, include a greater all-around soundstage for a less expensive $129, however they’re not gonna provide you with that eco-cool enchantment. For those that need one thing gym-friendly, our prime exercise choose within the Jabra Elite 85h are solely $50 extra at $249.99.
As the primary pair of solar-powered headphones, the Urbanista Los Angeles stay as much as the hype. Not solely will you by no means should plug them in once more, however you’ll have the ability to showcase your eco-warrior cred. And, as a result of they’re smooth, trendy and compact, these wi-fi headphones can go under-the-radar in black or get glitzed up with the urbane gold.
With above-average sound, the over-the-ear headphones have been a great match for my Spotify playlists, podcasts and Audible books. For those that spend plenty of time exterior or for anybody who travels a ton and hates having to continuously plug in, these are additionally a no brainer. But, let’s face it, the Urbanista Los Angeles are all about innovation and comfort. If you need a dependable pair of noise-canceling headphones with great-sounding bass that you just’ll virtually by no means have to cost, you’re going to wish to seize these – and present them off.