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The crew here at Knapsack, we like our headphones. For myself, particularly, they’ve become a focus since Covid hit and working from home became a reality, and not just an occasional thing. Wired is great for fidelity, but I find it hard to beat the flexibility that wireless gives you to be able to move around and do things. The caveat there is battery life – it’s getting better, but if you’re using cans all day, they’ll run out at some point in the week. Well, that is, until the promise of the Urbanista Los Angeles came about.

So, the big story here with the Urbanista Los Angeles is the fact that it can charge itself via solar – outdoors or indoors. The solar panel is running across the top of the headband, so realistically, if you’re using them (and not sitting in a darkened room) you’ll be topping off the battery (and it can be charged via USB-C if you prefer). Aside from the solar power top-up, they’re claiming an 80-hour power reserve on this headset, which is frankly pretty astounding. The closest I’ve gotten on an active noise cancelling headset (and yes, these do have ANC) is around 40 hours or so, so these should easily get you through a work week (and commute).

I also rather like that the Urbanista Los Angeles has on-ear detection, meaning that it knows when you’ve taken the headphones off. No scrambling for the pause button on your phone or laptop – just take the headphones off, have the conversation or listen to what you need to listen to, and then pick back up in your song, podcast, or audiobook right where you left it. It sounds simple, and maybe a little nonsensical – but I became a believer in this feature after I experienced it in this review. Another feature that seems key for these is the info the companion app gets you – charge levels, and how intense the solar charging actually is.

While we’ve reviewed Urbanista earbuds before, we’ve not tried any of their on-ear / over-ear headphones, so we can’t speak as to the comfort or audio quality at this point – but we’ll work on getting a sample in. For now, if you want to get onto this solar wave, you can pre-order the Urbanista Los Angeles for $199, in either Midnight Black or Sand Gold. Pre-orders also net a free headphone stand, and should be shipping out at the end of July. urbanista.com

Tech Specs from Urbanista

  • Drivers: 40 mm dynamic, moving coil
  • Microphone: electret condenser
  • Echo canceling: built-in DSP
  • Battery capacity: 750 mAh
  • Bluetooth version: 5.0
  • Bluetooth class: 2
  • Profiles: A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.5, HFP 1.6
  • Codecs: SBC and AAC
  • Range: ≤10 m
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 107±3dB @ 1 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm ±15 %

Features

  • Virtually infinite playtime
  • Always charging when exposed to light
  • 80h battery reserve
  • Hybrid Active Noise Canceling
  • Ambient Sound
  • On-ear detection
  • USB Type-C charging
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Siri and Google Voice Assistant
  • Compatible with iOS & Android

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.