Metropolis planner Los Angeles

RRP $ 199.00

“So long as you spend a variety of time within the solar, the solar-powered headphones from Urbanista Los Angeles will free you from charging.”


  • Photo voltaic charging actually works

  • Safe match

  • Actual-time energy meter within the app

  • Large 80 hour battery


  • Solely works below optimum situations

  • No EQ settings

Urbanistas $ 199 The angel – the very first set of photo voltaic powered wi-fi headphones – are right here. And sure, they really cost up when uncovered to pure and electrical mild. However what’s it like to make use of them and the way a lot mild do they want? We tried them to see them.

Energy meter

Urbanista makes a number of fashions of wi-fi headphones and true wi-fi earbuds, however the firm by no means felt the necessity to develop a companion app for iOS or Android. As a result of its ease of use, no app was required. However when you determine to promote the world’s first photo voltaic powered headphones, you really want a option to present folks how this complete photo voltaic factor works. So Urbanista got here up with their first cell app, and it is, um, good.

As soon as you’ve got linked the Los Angeles to your cellphone through bluetooth, the app lets you change to a display screen that has an enormous energy meter on it. On the left aspect of the show, the quantity of power that the headphones suck from the ambient mild is proven in yellow. On the suitable, the quantity of electrical energy that the cans devour is proven in purple.

In a super world, there can be a continuing steadiness between yellow (your revenue) and purple (your consumption), so when you began your day on a full battery, you’d finish the day identical to that. In concept, you can then repeat this balancing act day-after-day and by no means need to plug the Los Angeles right into a charger.

Mad Canine and English

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Oh, and as you will have guessed, that is simpler stated than performed. Noel Coward famously wrote that solely loopy canines and English folks exit within the noon solar, and when you observe that habits too, you’ll not solely preserve the battery from draining, however you’ll find yourself harvesting extra power than you utilize. However except this describes a typical day for you, the extra doubtless you may be balanced or find yourself in a deficit. That is as a result of the Los Angeles photo voltaic panel – utterly hidden in a superbly normal-looking headband – wants a variety of direct mild.

As I kind this in my residence workplace, I’m sitting about three ft immediately below a lightweight fixture powered by a single 100 watt equal LED mild bulb. And whereas the frosted glass of the lampshade scatters the sunshine laterally, the underside of the shade is definitely a transparent lens that fairly concentrates the quantity of sunshine that’s directed immediately onto my head. Nonetheless, the Urbanista app reveals that the Los Angeles can barely draw 0.1 mA of present, whereas the facility consumption of the headphones is 2.3 mA. In different phrases, I take advantage of 23 occasions extra power than I take up.

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

It could possibly be worse. Proper now I am not utilizing Los Angeles Energetic Noise Cancellation (ANC) or Ambient Sound Modes and I am not listening to any music. If I have been to activate these capabilities, the present would bounce as much as 7.5 mA or as much as 10 mA relying on the amount chosen and so forth. At this pace, the headphones’ spectacular 80-hour battery capability would final for precisely 80 hours and no extra.

To considerably enhance the facility drawn, I needed to maintain the headphones immediately below the sunshine and even then the facility meter indicated I used to be barely operating on a break-even foundation.

None of it is a criticism of Los Angeles’ photo voltaic know-how or their Powerfoyle photo voltaic know-how – I do not know of any photo voltaic module that might ship considerably extra energy with the identical space. However it’s a reminder that Urbanista’s promise of “nearly infinite recreation time” must be seen as worthwhile fairly than totally achievable. It is price noting, nevertheless, that on a vibrant October day in Toronto I obtained a forty five minute stroll with ANC and tunes at 50% quantity, and after I returned (after making an attempt a bit to remain on the sunny aspect of the road) I nonetheless had as a lot battery life as after I left.

Sunny sounds

Urbanista Los Angeles (left) and Urbanista Miami. Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Urbanista primarily based the Los Angeles on its Miami wi-fi headphones, and the 2 fashions share greater than appears to be like. Her sound signature may be very shut, with excellent readability in regards to the frequencies and with a barely ahead method that works properly on beat-heavy tracks.

I believe it is excellent that Urbanista has discovered a option to preserve this steadiness throughout your entire quantity vary. There is no such thing as a distortion as you method the highest of the dial. So long as you might be in a quiet place, even the decrease volumes will present good general sound high quality.

In fact, when you do not just like the Los Angeles voting, there’s not a lot you are able to do. Regardless of creating the app for these cans, Urbanista has not made any EQ changes.

However one huge change from Miami to Los Angeles is Urbanista’s determination to take away the three.5mm analog enter jack from the suitable earcup. Maybe extra room was wanted for the Los Angeles’ bigger battery, or possibly it was a cost-saving measure. Regardless of the purpose, it is an odd alternative for a set of cans that’s meant to free you from worrying about operating out of energy. Ought to the 80-hour battery ever run out, the dearth of an analog enter means no extra melodies till you discover some solar or a socket.

Stands nonetheless

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Considered one of my favourite elements of Los Angeles is how secure it stays in place. I’ve a reasonably small head, and I discover that some headphones simply do not clamp tight sufficient to maintain them from sliding round. However the Los Angeles are impressively secure and have not moved your entire time I wore them. I do not suggest exercising with full-size headphones, but when that is your factor, the Los Angeles might be comfortable to maintain you firm.

The one factor lacking within the consolation division is extra space for the ears. The ear cushions are deceiving: They enclose a big a part of the ear cups and make them look plush and deep. However they’re actually extremely flat, with only some millimeters to your ears. Over time, I discovered that this created bruises.

The controls are simply accessible, with buttons on the aspect of every earpiece so your thumbs can rapidly discover them. Nonetheless, the play / pause, quantity up / down, and monitor skip controls on the suitable earcup are very small, very shut collectively, and fairly tough to tell apart. I don’t know how you’ll use them with gloves on.

Extraordinary ANC

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The very best noise-canceling headphones can just about remove exterior noise, however do not anticipate this degree of efficiency from the Los Angeles. As an alternative, consider it as noise discount. When activated, ANC takes the sting off annoying background noises resembling visitors or the fixed roar of a fan or plane engine. Nevertheless it’s only a respite from the very lowest frequencies – the upper pitches will nonetheless come by way of.

Transparency mode (or ambient noise, as Urbanista calls it) is equally efficient – it undoubtedly brings within the exterior world, however it would not fairly destroy the sensation of you are still carrying headphones.

My greatest criticism right here is that with the Urbanista app you may determine whether or not you need to use the ANC button to show ANC on and off, to show ambient noise on and off, or to let ANC on> atmosphere on> each off. However you may’t set it to simply bounce backwards and forwards between ANC on and Ambient on, that are arguably the 2 most essential settings.

Good for calls

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

As with most full-size headphones, the decision high quality is fairly good. It is not nice, however it’s fairly adequate for talking, even in reasonably noisy environments. Typically the ambient noise cancellation circuitry can decrease the amount of your voice whereas it tries to silence the opposite noises, however it will solely be an issue when you insist on answering calls at busy intersections.

Who’re they for?

The Los Angeles are basically a superb set of wi-fi headphones that occur to have a photo voltaic panel constructed into the headscarf. In the event you spend most of your listening time outside, in sunny and even partly cloudy situations, you’ll reap the promised advantages of limitless efficiency. However for many of us, this profit is fleeting at finest: we would not need to plug within the headphones that always (particularly given the spectacular 80-hour battery), however we nonetheless need to plug them in. Is that this? Definitely worth the $ 50 premium Urbanista fees over the same $ 149 in Miami? Solar seekers would in all probability say sure.

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