When these headphones dropped on Christmas Eve, I was desperate to open them. These have been my most anticipated headphones ever. The idea of never charging ANC headphones was a something I was really excited about experiencing IRL.
Sadly, time and the gloomy weather meant that I didn’t get chance to give them a workout until well into the new year. Thankfully, the weather has improved and over the last few weeks I have used my fetching rose gold coloured Urbanista Los Angeles as my daily drivers without charging them once since I got them out of their box. Somehow these marvels of technology have only gone from 82% to 36%, using them on average for a couple of hours a day.
So, whilst I might not have picked the rose gold colour, I can see the attraction. However, I’ve certainly been won over by the design, and the completely wire free existence.
It’s not all rosy however, so let’s get the negatives out of the way. They aren’t the loudest and they don’t include a 3.5mm aux like the Urbanista Miami that these are modelled on, so if you wanted to get some extra volume and use them with a lead, you’re out of luck. They are loud enough but I prefer to have my headphones at a maximum of 80% so I have so I have some extra volume in the tank if I need it. The volume is likely a balance between getting 50 hours play back with ANC or 80 hours without. The fit is snug, especially if you have a large noggin like me. Whilst they are not uncomfortable and they do seem to give a bit more over time, they are not all-day wear, and you’ll certainly want a rest after an album or a movie.
Back to the good stuff and there’s a lot. Urbanista finally has an app and it’s an app with one main purpose. To see how much juice, it is sucking up from the sun. On the first sunny day I could, I was jumping in and out of the sunshine to see the difference. Even with ANC on and the January sun, these were charge more than they were using. Getting home after a lunchtime walk with more charge than I left with was an exciting moment that I’m not sure that I will ever get tired of.
The App also lets you switch between ANC, Ambient (for conversations and outside noise amplification) and Normal. The sound stage changes slightly between ANC and Normal, however, I do personally prefer the ANC sound. The ANC works well, especially considering the price point of £169, though they have been seen on offer for less. However, Bose and Sony they are not, but that’s okay as listening to them on a busy tube cut out enough for me. The sound is warm, and the bass has a punch. So perhaps isn’t a pair of headphones for the purists, but if you like you tracks with energy and bass you’ll be happy. Codecs are only of the SBC and AAC variety, but Bluetooth 5.0 keeps the connection rock solid.
The case is also different, with an open top to allow the headphones to still charge via the solar strip in the headband. The headphones also come with an automatic stop feature. So simply take them off your ears and do what you need to do. As for buttons, as I’d previously owned the Miami, the layout is the same. One big button on the left for changing between ANC, Ambient and Normal, however, this can also be remapped to a different function like Siri or Google Assistant in the app. On the right you have three smaller buttons. Volume up, volume down and play/pause in the middle, a long press of the volume buttons let you skip backwards and forwards too. I would have preferred these buttons to be slightly bigger, but I’m nit-picking.
I’ve had a number of calls using these headphones, inside and outside. People have consistently said that I was loud and clear. However, there may be times when these cans aren’t appropriate, it could be when working out, jumping on a quick call or Zoom meeting. The Urbanista London with ANC are excellent, but for bang for your buck, Urbanista Lisbon are my recommendation. Super small pill case, snug fit and great sound for the size. Get the right deals and you could easily get the Los Angeles and Lisbon for close to a combined cost of £200.
Overall, the Urbanista Log Angeles exceeded my expectations and still can’t believe that I haven’t charged them yet. It’s a liberating feeling in a world where we are attached to one cable or another.
Would I recommend the Urbanista Los Angeles?
No, if you:
Have a giant noggin.
Need them to be ear bleedingly loud.
Love charging headphones.
You’re a vampire or only go out at night
Yes, if you:
You never want to charge your headphones.
Care about the environment
Love a bit of bass
You’re looking for a bargain.
Solar Future of Sound
The future of ANC Bluetooth headphones is here and its bright, long lasting and great sounding one.