Urbanista Phoenix, the first solar-charged bluetooth earphones

Urbanista Phoenix, the first solar-charged bluetooth earphones

Urbanista Phoenix

The Urbanista Phoenix are the first solar-charged Bluetooth (5.2) earphones with active noise cancellation, which truly inaugurate a new eco-sustainable trend worthy of interest for the general public. Probably in some basement there is a misunderstood genius who has already nominally created something similar, but this is a fairly mature product although with an efficiency closely related to the environment of use.

Potentially, as Urbanista points out, they offer infinite playback time, because while the earphones are used, the case – which integrates photovoltaic technology – recharges itself under both natural and artificial light. Then, in reality, at least two variables have a great influence on the experience of energy independence: the intensity of the light and the time. Under a cloudy autumn sky, recharging takes biblical times, while on a beautiful day with a clear sky or in very bright indoor conditions, the recharge rate is a few percentage points per hour.

Said like this it seems like a ridiculous performance, but in reality we need to think differently. Today, with common wireless earphones, we use the recharges of the case until (almost) exhaustion and then we reconnect everything to the current. With the Urbanista Phoenix, naturist charging always takes place making sure to position the side of the case that integrates the Powerfoyle cells (by Exeger) in an exposed area or by wearing it around the neck – in fact it has a long strap. The same technology is employed by the Urbanista Los Angeles headphones.

In this mode, especially during the summer, you could actually have an infinite charge. In any case there is also a usb-c port and therefore putting everything in the system in the worst case scenario there is a power competition with a consequent reduction in time and consumption. Finally, a LED indicates the battery status.

The style is Scandinavian

Urbanista is a Swedish brand, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the design focuses a lot on essentiality and functionality with a touch of pleasant shapes. The Phoenix look like the top of the Urbanista London range: the main body looks like a small artisan sugared almond while the touch-sensitive bar is reminiscent of PETZ candies, yes those that came out of the dispensers with the head of Mickey or Goofy. This perhaps explains why the design is so familiar and pleasant. The plastics are of quality, but the case is big: it occupies the surface of half a smartphone and is almost as thick as a candy box; fortunately it weighs just under 80 grams.

After which, as usual, the package includes three sizes of silicone ear tips to allow adaptation to each type of ear. The comfort is good, as is the stability since the positioning takes place in the ear concha. In summary, worn for many hours they don't give boredom and even in sports, thanks to the resistance to liquids (IPX4), there are no problems.

The interaction takes place through touches, as on other models. In this sense, as usual, audio tracks and calls can be managed, as well as activating / deactivating noise cancellation and transparency, or calling up the voice assistant. The Urbanista App (Android and iOS) allows you to customize the long press by enabling the noise cancellation mode, the voice assistant or volume increase (on the right earphone) or volume reduction (on the left earphone). You can enable automatic shutdown after 30 minutes of inactivity and also automatic pause if you remove the earphones.

Musically they take you wherever you want

The audio quality of the Phoenix is ​​undoubtedly adequate for playback of all genres - it supports Sbc and Aac codecs - but the experience is characterized by some weaknesses. It is in fact a classic mid-range product, where there is a clear perception of the differences compared to the entry-level and top-of-the-range models. First of all the level of detail is predictably far from the top lines of Bose, Apple or B&O , but in reality they also take the pay from the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Sony LinkBuds S. It's not that they sound bad, they simply tend to emphasize the frequencies voice averages. Translated: listening to Ms. Jackson of OutKast the voice is always in the foreground, the low frequencies are there but not too deep, while the keyboards remain ethereal without affecting; the three-dimensional reconstruction is weak. With a classic like Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love, it lacks some warmth and involvement; piano and bass sound unnatural. But there is healthy panache and energy with a piece like Portugal's Feel It Still. The Man. It could be said that the stylistic hallmark of this model lies in the need to offer a non-fatiguing daily experience: to reproduce music adequately without exaggerating in the search for peaks.

On the other hand, the yield in telephone calls is very pleasant. While the noise cancellation system is only acceptable: in fact it attenuates surrounding noises a bit and the transparency function appears sufficient.

Autonomy and other details

The new Urbanistas nominally ensure about 8 hours of autonomy of the earphones, which thanks to the case can reach 30. With active noise cancellation, obviously the times are reduced, but still in line with competing products. It should also be noted that complete charging via cable is quite fast, so the energy component is undoubtedly an advantage. As we have already anticipated, for solar charging we are talking about a few percentage points every hour, practically a few milliamperes per hour (mA). But be careful: a LED desk lamp does not offer adequate intensity, and on a classic cloudy and autumn day the recharge is weak.

The function that allows you to monitor the history of consumption and refills (also solar). It is precisely from this that we realize that the season dramatically affects efficiency. In this period very little autonomy is recovered, while it is probable that on the sunniest days you can do better. In this sense we intend to update the review over time, because cloudy skies and artificial light really do not honor the technology used.

Finally, again on the app, there are various equalization presets to enhance voice, bass, mids, balance, etc. The support for Multipoint technology is also very useful.


The Urbanista Phoenix, available in black or pink, cost 149 euros in the price list and as such appears an adequate figure if you line up all its qualities. First of all, solar charging is a plus, although obviously it's not as fast as traditional charging. Secondly, the musical quality is adequate, but if this were the priority, it would be good to look at other models. Noise cancellation is passable, while battery life is good. Overall it is a successful product, even if only time will tell us if this is really a Phoenix… or an Icarus.

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