Batteries suck, which has become even more of an issue over the past few decades as the battery-dependent mobile devices we’ve become addicted to now demand more power than ever. But as long as you’ve got a source of light—be it the sun or soul-crushing office fluorescents—Urbanista’s new wireless earbuds will keep charging all day long.
It’s an idea the company introduced last year with its Urbanista Los Angeles wireless headphones. Integrated into the headband was Exeger’s Powerfoyle solar cell material, which was be screen-printed onto flexible materials, allowing the Los Angeles headphones’ headband to still flex and bend without damaging the solar cells. The other advantage to Exeger’s tech is that it can harness energy from both direct sunlight as well as less intense indoor light sources, which allowed the headphones to recoup a charge even when used at night next to a lamp.
Although most reviewers found the solar cells worked best in bright sunlight, charging the headphones’ battery faster than it was being drained even while listening to music, it was a clever idea, and one that Urbanista is now bringing to its wireless earbuds. But for the $149 Phoenix buds, which will be available later this year, Exeger’s Powerfoyle solar cells aren’t included on the buds themselves, but on the charging case. Given earbud charging cases are usually kept in pockets or deep in bags, that makes recharging these headphones a little harder than the Los Angeles, which expose the solar cells all the time while in use. But Urbanista promises that for every hour the case is left out in the sun, enough charge should be collected for an additional hour of powering the buds.
Battery life is rated at eight hours with the buds alone, plus an additional 24 hours with the charging case, assuming you’re trapped on the dark side of the moon without access to any light. The case can also be charged with a USB-C cable, and the buds feature ANC, multi-device connectivity, and IPX4 water resistance for shrugging off sweat and occasional splashes. As for colorways, you’re limited to a choice of either black or pink, and we’d probably recommend the latter if these are going to be sitting out in the sun for hours at a time.