A couple of years ago, Urbanista released their Los Angeles headphones, which could be powered by the sun via this built-in solar panel of sorts within the headband. It worked, it wasn’t great, a bit of a gimmick some said but Urbanista must have seen something there as they’ve now released the Phoenix Solar. They’re a pair of buds and the carry case allows solar charging. I’ve been using them for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts. 

Out of the box, this is a pretty large carry case for these buds and I understand why, because they want as much surface area for this powerfoyle solar panel section. Matte black finish, some subtle branding, and it is well constructed. There is a single push button and indicator light at the front and a USB C port at the very bottom. The Powerfoyle section is obvious, it’s a different finish to the rest of the case and that needs to be directed up to the sun to benefit from any charge. 

The buds themselves resemble your typical in-ear earbuds. Rubber tip to one end, stem to the other which also allows for touch controls. Double tap is play/pause or answer a call, three taps is change track and long hold is voice assistant or sound mode, depending on whether you tap left or right. Overall, the buds look good, the case looks ok too and although it is large, it’s very lightweight. I have the black version here but a dusty pink version is available as well. 

As for specs and features, they include this always-charging, solar design as mentioned before. Hybrid active noise cancellation, transparency mode, multipoint connection, battery life of 8hrs in the buds, 34 hrs in the case. Automatic in ear detection which I like a lot. Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 sweat proof and you can pair them to the Urbanista app too.


With a price tag of £150 here in the UK, I’m expecting big things in terms of audio performance and I am pleasantly surprised. Well balanced, punchy bass, and overall a joy to listen to. Via the app, there are EQ options, and 6 presets which do allow some customisation on sound to suit what you’re listening to but at present, no custom EQ option but I cant see why this couldn’t be added later through an update. I switched between presets default and energize, which best suited my rock and country playlists. Noise cancellation works well, you get a good amount of passive cancellation via the rubber tips, then select the active part too, to boost it. They definitely helped reduce background noise while working or walking around outside. 

They’re comfortable to wear, they’re secure and will be fine for joggers or gym goers. Controls work well, they’re somewhat limited but play pause or changing track is generally all you need and these can provide that. These do have ear detection so take a bud out when someone is talking to you and your content will pause. 

As for the charging and solar part, it does work and you can see it working via the app. Solar charging works best with natural sunlight but does also work with artificial light too, so you can either leave these by a window on a sunny day or if you have the lights on at night, it will pick up that energy a little bit. The app shows live solar performance, so you can walk around, and find a good spot where it’ll generate the most energy in milliamps per hour, which is kinda cool. The average maximum input I could achieve via natural sunlight on a very sunny day was about 12 to 13millamps  It also shows charging history over 24 hours, month, and total. If you remember and you keep the case near light, this will help boost your battery life, and best case scenario, you may not need to charge the case up all that often at all. 

So there we have it, they were the new Urbanista Phoenix earbuds. They’re a tad pricey in my opinion but they do sound good and they are comfortable. The solar element does work and it could come in handy, as long as you remember about the feature don’t keep the case in your bag, where it’s dark. The case is large but it is light and it didn’t bother me too much being in my pocket. 

For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Urbanista website.