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Urbanista Los Angeles Powerfoyle Solar Review Self Charging ANC Headphones

 

Harnessing sunlight into electricity is a no-brainer It's free (for the most part) and a sustainable energy source unlike traditional coal-driven electric power, which isn't looking as appealing due to the current collapse of electricity suppliers. 

 

Urbanista have come to market at just the right time to launch their new headphones - Los Angeles solar - which are powered by, you guessed it, sun! Los Angeles solar headphones use Powerfoyle technology, which is a solar cell material patented by the company Exeger and works similar to a standard silicon solar panel but Powerfoyle is apparently also able to harness artificial indoor lighting. Virtually all solar panels, regardless of material, create what's called the photovoltaic reaction, which is the conversion from light to electricity. The self charging feature of Los Angeles headphones really does work, providing free electric power to charge the headphones and also prevent the battery from ever going flat. 


Los Angeles Powerfoyle solar panel can harness the sun's power even on an overcast cloudy day but it doesn't work indoors with artificial lighting - at least not with led lighting. If you want them to self charge inside a building, the headphones need to be placed on a windowsill. 

 


While the Powerfoyle solar panel works, it can only draw a max of 25mA (depending on the strength of the sunlight). This translates to 0.025 amps, which is very low input charge and would actually take more than 40 hrs to fully charge the internal 750 mA battery from empty. Powerfoyle isn't as powerful as standard solar cells so, Los Angeles solar charging feature is more of a trickle charger that works great for topping up the headphones.


Charging via cable takes around 3 hours and there is no quick charge support. Runtime with ANC turned on is around 56 hours at medium high volume (70%) and 79 hours with ANC turned off. There is no absolute bluetooth support; hence you cannot control the volume source of the connected device (e.g. phone). The on-ear detection sensor works well automatically pausing and resuming audio when taking off the headphones and putting them back on. There is a slight delay (2 seconds) when resuming audio.



When charging Los Angeles headphones, bluetooth connection disconnects and the headphones automatically power off; hence you cannot use Los Angeles solar headphones whilst charging. There is mobile app support via the Urbanista Audio mobile app, which has a sleak, simple to use user interface and, best of all, it doesn't require an account registration, which adds to a better user experience. 

 

The Urbanista Audio app doesn't require access to the phone's contacts and messages either, which virtually all mobile apps do. The only permission you do have to grant access to it's the phone's location. From a privacy concern stand point, the Urbanista Audio app is one of the few user friendly headphone mobile apps that are less invasive of privacy.


The Urbanista Audio app displays the headphones battery level and gives you access to ANC, Ambient sound and default sound so, you can manually turn off ANC/ambient sound from the app. From the app, you can also re-assign the short-press and long-press functions of the ANC button on the earcup. The short-press button is set by default to toggle between ANC, ambient sound and default (normal sound) but you can re-assign it to have one function only (e.g. ANC, ambient sound or voice assistant). The long-press function can also be set to whichever function you want. You will hear a female voice prompt when toggling between ANC and ambient sound.The Urbanista mobile app also provides a reading of the recharge solar power rate.


The one thing the Urbanista app doesn't have is an equalizer for tuning the sound, which would have been a really neat addition for those who want to tame the bass, which becomes a little over-powering when turning on active noise cancellation. Los Angeles solar headphones are really bass heavy headphones and, that is without turning ANC mode, which gives even more thump to the bass but without smothering the vocal range and instrumentals.


Los Angeles solar headphones bluetooth 5.0 chip supports SBC and AAC audio codecs but does not support multipoint connection; hence you cannot connect the headphones to multiple devices at the same time. Los Angeles solar earpads are made of firm memory foam covered with very soft PU leather. Los Angeles solar hole openings measure 5.5cm high and 4cm wide. The earcup depth is a bit shallow (1cm deep). The outer earpad ring measures 9cm high and 8cm wide. The earcups have a low profile so, they don't stick out excessively.


Los Angeles solar headphones also uses a "yoke-less" headband, consisting of a black anodized aluminum alloy bar for headband adjustment. The bar slides smoothly into the headband without making noise and uses friction to stay put at different heights to suit different heads. The front of the plastic earcups have been coated with PU rubber, which is really lovely and smooth although it marks easily with fingerprint oily smudges. Urbanista branding can be seen carved into the front side of the earcups. Powerfoyle branding has also been etched on top of the solar panel.


Los Angeles solar headphones are comfortable and not too heavy (weigh only 320 grams). That said, comfort will depend on your head size. The headphones have very thin foam padding underneath the headband and the earcups have very short up/down tilt, which maybe an issue for big, odd-shaped heads. There is swivel motion though. The earcups can be rotated 90 degrees one-way so, you can rest the earcups flat against a desk or wear them around the chest. The earcups integrate four physical buttons in total - three buttons on one earcup for controlling volume, skip tracks and calls. The ANC/ambient button is located on the other earcup. The buttons are low profile, rubbery and clicky sounding.


There is no audio cable accessory included which is not surprising since Los Angeles solar are wireless-only headphones. A chic (Urbanista-branded) tote bag is included (weighs 208 grams) for storing the headphones. The tote bag is made of smooth PU leather, padded throughout and lined with soft microfiber material. The top of the bag fastens via an elastic cord loop and metal pin mechanism that prevents the headphones from falling out. The sides of the bag are elasticated, which allows the bag to stretch and keep the headphones snugly inside it. From a fashion stand point, the included tote bag is nice and elegant but it's not as functional as the rugged hardshell carry shell included with the Miami ANC headphones model.


If you are planning to buy the Urbanista Miami ANC or already own them and wondering whether to upgrade, consider the following. Los Angeles solar and Miami ANC headphones have the same 40mm dynamic drivers, same hybrid ANC and same good sounding microphone too but, with Los Angeles solar you get the solar charging feature, longer batter life, better comfort, less sound leakage and better audio too because of the over-ear style, which increases passive noise isolation and makes the ANC performance better than the Miami on-ear headphones. 


The only thing that Los Angeles solar headphones don't have (which is a bit of a deal breaker) it's an audio port to listen to audio via cable, which Miami ANC does have. You can buy Los Angeles solar self charging solar headphones from amazon. Check out the review of the Urbanista Stockholm Plus earbuds, Urbanista London ANC earbuds, Urbanista Brisbane portable bluetooth speaker. 

 

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