Urbanista Los Angeles headphones review: Give me more devices that don’t need to be charged


Over the years I have had many favourite headphones and earphones, and many more that I loved but could never own. However good the headphone might be, the chances are it is out of charge when you are really in the mood to listen to something. Actually, this is a problem of our own making because when we had regular plug-na-play headphones, this was never a concern. The Urbanista Los Angeles is a Bluetooth headphone with noise cancelling that takes away this concern, because it is always charging.

Urbanista Los Angeles

The Urbanista Los Angeles are self-charging wireless headphones that don’t need you to figure out when to charge them or for how long. The headphones use Powerfoyle solar cell material on the top band to convert all forms of light into energy. This means the headphones are charging all the time, though at different levels of intensity. This is the reason why in the week or so I used the device it was always charged up.

The Powerfoyle solar cell material is on top of the headband and doesn’t really stand out. It is not as if you are wearing a solar panel on your head. In fact, the Urbanista Los Angeles has a pretty simple design that is also stylish and very modern. The headbands are comfortable over long hours and the ear cups are snug and soft. The band offers enough pressure to keep the cups tight on your ears, thus cutting off a lot of ambient noise.

The Powerfoyle solar cell material on top of the headband doesn’t really stand out. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan / Indian Express)

Under the left cup is a button to change the noise cancelling mode or summon your voice assistant. The right side has the power button flanked by volume rockers.

Urbanista Los Angeles reviewUrbanista Los Angeles review Under the left cup is a button to change the noise cancelling mode or summon your voice assistant. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan / Indian Express)

Usually with a product pushing a cutting edge innovation like self-charging I would not really think much about its other capabilities. So I was not expecting much from the audio side of the Urbanista Los Angeles. I could not have been more off the mark.

The audio quality is rich and versatile, good enough to work with whatever you are listening to. A lossless file of the BGM of The Imitation Game performed by the London Symphony Orchestra underlined this versatility for me, switching easily from the highs to the lows. The Heygana by Ali Farka Toure is a good number to check how sharp the headphone can be and if gets shrill when pushed. The Los Angeles held on pretty admirably. However, I have a feeling some of the purists might not like this audio profile at all time because it does bunch some channels together at times.

It was Earth Day week and Apple Music had some great new albums showcasing nature sounds from across the world. Listening to those I was transported to different parts of the world as the Los Angeles gave me a spatially immersive tour of the world from the Brazilian rain forest to the Australian Outback. It was sort of apt for I was testing a headphone that would not need to be charged in my Noida home using power created by burning coal.

The Urbanista Los Angeles does not offer active noise cancellation by default. This is something you have to switch on using either the Urbanista app or the left button on the earphone. You can move from the default mode to transparency and the noise cancellation. The difference is sharp and stark. Clearly, this has one of the best noise cancellations I have tried recently.

The call quality is good too and the noise cancelling does not create the spiral audio effect I am quite wary of. I was impressed by how the app connects easily to the headphones though it does not offer an equaliser which is a bummer at this price point.

Earth week or not, the Urbanista Los Angeles is the kind of tech we should all start supporting, one that does not put pressure on nature for our pleasure. The self-charging technology of these headphones is truly revolutionary and you don’t even need to stand in the sun to get these charged.

I would buy these just to support the intention behind working or a tech like this. The decent audio playback should be just an added advantage of supporting cutting edge tech, but with the Urbanista Los Angeles it is much more. However, with a price point of Rs 23,749 supporting a greener earth comes at a cost.

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