Metropolis planner Los Angeles

RRP $ 199.00

“So long as you spend quite a lot 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 beneath optimum circumstances

  • 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 self-charge when uncovered to pure and electrical mild. However how is it used and the way a lot mild do you 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. Resulting from its ease of use, no app was required. However if you happen to resolve to promote the world’s first photo voltaic powered headphones, you actually need a approach to present individuals how this complete photo voltaic factor works. So Urbanista got here up with their first cell app, and it is, um, sensible.

As soon as you’ve got related the Los Angeles to your phone by way of 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 appropriate, the quantity of electrical energy that the cans devour is proven in pink.

In a really perfect world, there could be a relentless stability between yellow (your revenue) and pink (your consumption), so if you happen to began your day on a full battery, you’d finish the day identical to that. In idea, you might then repeat this balancing act on daily basis and by no means must plug the Los Angeles right into a charger.

Mad Canine and English

Los Angeles city planner.Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Oh, and as you will have guessed, that is simpler mentioned than finished. Noel Coward famously wrote that solely loopy canine and English individuals exit within the noon solar, and if you happen to observe that habits too, you’ll not solely maintain the battery from draining, however you’ll find yourself harvesting much more power than you employ. However until this describes a typical day for you, the extra doubtless you’ll break even or find yourself in a efficiency deficit. That is as a result of the Los Angeles photo voltaic panel – fully hidden in a superbly normal-looking headband – wants quite a lot of direct mild.

As I sort this in my residence workplace, I’m sitting about three toes instantly beneath a light-weight 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 relatively concentrates the quantity of sunshine that’s directed instantly onto my head. Nonetheless, the Urbanista app exhibits that the Los Angeles can barely draw 0.1 mA of present, whereas the ability consumption of the headphones is 2.3 mA. In different phrases, I take advantage of 23 occasions extra power than I take in.

Urbanista Los Angeles is held under a light.Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

It could possibly be worse. Proper now I am not utilizing Los Angeles Lively 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 soar as much as 7.5 mA or as much as 10 mA relying on the amount chosen and many others. At this velocity, the headphones’ spectacular 80-hour battery capability would final for precisely 80 hours and no extra.

To considerably improve the ability drawn, I needed to maintain the headphones instantly beneath the sunshine and even then the ability meter indicated I used to be barely operating on a break-even foundation.

None of it is a criticism of Los Angeles’ photo voltaic expertise or their Powerfoyle photo voltaic expertise – I do not know of any photo voltaic module that would 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 relatively than totally achievable. It’s price noting, nevertheless, that on a brilliant October day in Toronto I used to be in a position to take a forty five minute stroll with ANC and tunes at 50% quantity, and once I returned (after making an attempt a bit of arduous to remain on the sunny aspect of the road) I nonetheless had as a lot battery life as once I left.

Sunny sounds

Urbanista Los Angeles seen alongside Urbanista Miami.Urbanista Los Angeles (left) and Urbanista Miami. Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

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

I actually like that Urbanista discovered a approach to maintain that stability throughout your complete quantity vary. There isn’t a distortion as you strategy the highest of the dial. So long as you’re in a quiet place, even the decrease volumes will present good general sound high quality.

After all, if you happen to do not just like the Los Angeles voting, there’s not a lot you are able to do. Though Urbanista created the app for these cans, it did not add any EQ changes.

However one huge change from Miami to Los Angeles is Urbanista’s choice to take away the three.5mm analog enter jack from the appropriate earcup. Maybe extra room was wanted for the Los Angeles’ bigger battery, or maybe it was a cost-saving measure. Regardless of the cause, it is an odd selection 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 shortage of an analog enter means no extra melodies till you discover some solar or a socket.

Stands nonetheless

Man wears Urbanista Los Angeles.Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Certainly one of my favourite elements of Los Angeles is how protected they keep 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 throughout your complete time they have been worn. I do not advocate exercising with full-size headphones, but when that is your factor, the Los Angeles might be blissful 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 part of the ear cups and make them look so plush and deep. However they’re actually extremely flat, with only some millimeters in your ears. Over time, I discovered that this created bruises.

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

Bizarre ANC

Los Angeles city planner.Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

The most effective noise-canceling headphones can just about remove exterior noise, however do not count on this degree of efficiency from the Los Angeles. As an alternative, consider it as noise discount. When activated, ANC attenuates annoying background noises equivalent to site 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 outdoors world, however it does not fairly spoil the sensation that you simply’re nonetheless carrying headphones.

My largest criticism right here is that the Urbanista app helps you to resolve whether or not you need to use the ANC button to show ANC on and off, flip ambient noise on and off, or let ANC on> surroundings on> cycle off. However you possibly can’t set it to only soar forwards and backwards between ANC and Ambient, that are arguably the 2 most necessary settings.

Good for calls

Los Angeles city planner.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Los Angeles city planner.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Los Angeles city planner.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

Los Angeles city planner.

Simon Cohen / Digital Tendencies

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

Who’re they for?

The Los Angeles are primarily a superb set of wi-fi headphones that occur to have a photo voltaic panel constructed into the headscarf. When you spend most of your listening time outside, in sunny and even partly cloudy circumstances, you’ll benefit from the promised advantages of limitless efficiency. However for many of us, this profit might be fleeting at finest: we’d not must plug the headphones in fairly as typically (particularly given the spectacular 80-hour battery), however we nonetheless must plug them in. Is that this? Well worth the $ 50 premium Urbanista costs over the same $ 149 in Miami? Solar seekers would most likely say sure.

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