81 percent. Current battery level on a pair of Urbanista Los Angeles headphones sitting at my desk. When I took them out of the box about a week ago, the battery level was 75 percent Number of charges? Zero. Hours of use? About 10. In short, with some fairly normal hearing and precisely no interaction with a charging cable, the battery life of the headphones is longer than I ever received. Impressive, though not without some caution.
First, let’s back up a little bit. If you miss The announcement, The main selling point in Los Angeles was that they came up with a “PowerFail” solar charging cell in the ্যান্ড 200 headband. The promise was simple: even indoors, these headphones would charge slowly when not in use. Get out? They can even maintain their level while playing music; If it’s a particularly sunny day, they can gain battery life while you listen while the ANC is on.
The headphones themselves have a classic Scandinavian underestimated look. Acoustically, they don’t give too many flashes. That is to say, a hope A little Down-heavy EQ experience, but overall they provide powerful clear audio that won’t tire your ears. Although these are only Bluetooth, so there is no wired option 6 More on that in a moment.
Of course, the real interest claims to be a “nonstop audio experience”. My role suggests, the company’s claim is true. Or should I say, To be able to Be truthful? Headphones must charge themselves, even indoors, but it’s not time to drop the (included) USB cable.
If you plan to use most of these indoors, you will almost certainly charge them. Even as much as you could be any other pair. This is because while the claim about indoor charging is true, it is just a trickle and only under direct light. You can expect a little more juice if you keep them near a window in use, but it’s more of a decent top-off than a free energy flow.
This I can say with relative confidence thanks to the companion app which please shows that power is coming in contrast to power with a fancy small round chart. When the photons are abundant, the chart turns a pale green, and a reassuring “up” arrow lets you know that the headphones are getting power. However, enter the shadows and things turn red to let you know that you are running out of battery. You can even see the amount of energy coming or being used at any one time.
With this information we can start to get an idea of how effective solar charging is. For example, they would use about 2.6mA to keep in touch with a phone just by turning on the headphones. Play music, and it goes up to about 9mA. Add ANC or ambient mode and it can be continuous up to about 13-15mA. These are the numbers to “beat” us.
In my experiments, when placed flat on a table without direct sunlight or any light during the day, they will not charge at all. If I place them Directly Under a lamp or bulb you can get a charge between 0.2 and 1mA Place them near a window during the day and it can rise to about 3mA. Open that window and it will probably rise to 4mA (indirect sunlight). So far, you’re reducing their battery usage by a very small amount.
As I’ve already hinted, things get more interesting when you go out. You can expect about 3-5mA input when walking in the shade on the street. Again, you are still at a net loss. However, go straight to the sun and everything becomes lively. While listening to music with ANC I was often able to achieve a 24mA “gain” (for about 8-10mA drains).
The short version is that the urbanists will charge if there is ambient light. A little. But take them outside (and with good sunshine) and they will also charge when used. Suffice it to say that if I use them like any other wireless headphones, I hope solar charging can add a few hours to their battery life. If I use them outside, they will live forever.
This is all good news though. Urbanista has set a benchmark for what it has done here. JBL Try something similar, But That project Covid was introduced to make them unusable due to travel restrictions. Urbanista is actually shipping its version and it could only get better from here.
Perhaps the least achievement here is that headphones don’t Look As such they have a solar panel attached. At least if you opt for the black pair. The head strap cells more or less blend in with the Los Angeles design, just the PowerFail logo on them (also in black so it’s fairly delicate). The headphones are also available in “Sand Gold” which is more of a cream / mushroom color. On top of that, the solar strip is painfully obvious but done in such a way that it can be passed on as a style choice.
There are some other small notes to consider. Most notably, for me, volume. Urbanista says the pair I got for review is set at about 2dB below what the retail model will offer. But using these with an iPhone if I want to be immersed in a song, I almost always have to be in full volume. I found myself frequently mashing the volume button in vain when a banger came along and I really wanted to get lost in the sound but had nowhere to go. I hear Lots of bangers.
For those who don’t attack their ears, volume is probably okay. It’s not much less than that, say, AiAiAi TMA-2s I use. Connect things to a computer and, well, you can go a little louder, so some of these include company advice, your device’s chipset and regional limitations.
If there was a second bugbear, it’d be the button. There are three buttons to the right of Los Angeles for volume / play / pause and skipping track and power. Then there’s a single button on the other side to switch between ANC, Ambient mode and “Default” mode, or to activate your phone’s assistant. The problem is, the buttons on the right – the ones you interact with the most – are smaller and closer. This means that it is difficult to change the volume quickly. Instead, you’ll need to pick around to “count” the buttons with your finger to find the first or third.
I wish there was an option to use them with 3.5mm wire. Not only does this give you an option for running out of battery (or in case you are in airplane mode) it will alleviate some of my volume problems when I literally have to feel a drop in my core amygdala (DACs are wonderful things.)
As with other small positives, the app is a nice touch and opens the door for possible firmware updates or new features. It was a little flakey to connect sometimes. Or rather, once it’s connected and then left idle, I’ll have to restart it occasionally, but it’s not a big pain to swipe it and reopen it for as long as you need.
There is also auto-pause when you turn off the headphones. It’s a subtle but welcome addition that gives things a slightly more premium feel.
Above all, the features and price points of Los Angeles are combined for a pleasurable experience. The sound is very capable without being too aggressive at low frequencies. Battery life is definitely a selling point if you often find yourself without gas while running. And small touches like Ambient Mode / ANC, Automatic Break, etc. This price range can be a little wider than other options. If they’re louder and have a 3.5mm port it would be a tough pick for me, but even without these features, it’s hard to appreciate what Urbanista has done here for $ 200.
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