Urbanista Brisbane Plus (2nd gen) Review Minimalist Bluetooth Speaker

Monday, December 05, 2022


Spruce up your home interior with Urbanista's new Brisbane Plus - a modern bluetooth speaker with a classical minimalist theme!

Brisbane Plus is an upgraded version - 2nd generation of the original Brisbane speaker (now obsolete) released 2 years ago. Design wise, Brisbane Plus retains the same dimensions (21.5cm long x 10cm high x 5cm thick) and slimline rectangular fabric outer shell wrapping with flat ends for upright side positioning.The hardware has been upgraded with newer and more efficient tech that enables the Brisbane Plus to run longer and play hi-res bluetooth audio via bluetooth AAC codec.
The sides and bottom of the Brisbane Plus have been rubberized to protect the speaker against impacts. There are also two rubber feet which provide grippy stability on smooth surfaces. Brisbane Plus carries less weight too, coming in a lot lighter at the scales, weighing just 613 grams - 100 grams less than the 1st generation Brisbane speaker.
The Brisbane Plus upgraded hardware includes a USB-C port, bigger battery capacity and new Bluetooth 5.3 chip which supports AAC and SBC codec. The internal battery takes 4 hours to charge and can deliver around 54 hours of playtime at max volume via SBC codec. Battery life is lower when streaming via AAC. Both AAC and SBC are supported by Android and Apple products so, you can stream audio via an iPhone/iOS device.

The user control buttons are also located on top of the Brisbane Plus, letting you play/pause, skip tracks to next/previous, power on/off, volume up/down, TWS mode, calls (answer/end/reject) and voice assistant. The physical plastic buttons are raised and make a really satisfying click when pressed. The buttons are are easy to locate and they are seamlessly embedded within the fabric adding to the minimalist aesthetics.

On the backside of the Brisbane Plus speaker, there is a small rubber cover concealing the USB-C charging port and 3.5mm aux port for connecting the speaker to an audio source (e.g. phone) via an audio cable. Hardware wise, Brisbane Plus also integrates dual sided passive radiators and forward firing twin drivers capable of 16 watts total RMS output. Brisbane Plus' full range drivers have similarly sensitivity (80dB) but slightly lower impedance, which helps boost the volume.

Another neat feature carried over from the original Brisbane speaker is True Wireless Stereo (TWS) mode. This function lets you pair two Brisbane Plus speakers together and effectively create a wireless surround sound system.

As far as audio performance, the sound quality is better via aux cable connection and, you get lower latency too (~10ms), which is ideal when watching movies and playing games. The only downside to Brisbane Plus wired mode is that the aux port does not work when the internal battery is empty. This is likely to be a deal breaker since most bluetooth speakers can be played wired even with a dead internal battery. 
When it comes to audio dynamics though, the volume is noticeably louder via bluetooth mode than wired, which seems strange since the aux port is powered by the internal battery. The Brisbane Plus speaker definitely sounds louder via bluetooth connection.You can listen to audio while charging the speaker in wired mode and bluetooth mode, which is a good selling point. In all, it makes sense for Urbanista to drop the 1st gen Brisbane speaker from the line up since the 2nd gen Brisbane Plus is much improved. If you own a 1st gen Brisbane speaker and are looking to upgrade, it is worth it because the 1st gen Brisbane is not compatible in TWS mode so, you cannot pair a Brisbane Plus speaker to a 2st gen Brisbane speaker.

 Potential deal breakers
  • No on-board EQ
  • No mobile app support
  • No multipoint point support
  • No quick charge support
  • No grab handle for carrying the Brisbane Plus around
  • Bluetooth status led flashes during audio playback
  • The aux port (for wired connection) does not work when the internal battery is empty
  • TWS mode not backwards compatible with original Brisbane speaker

Selling points for Brisbane Plus
  • Discreet alternative to an ordinary bluetooth speaker
  • IPX5 water resistance
  • 100 grams lighter than the 1st gen Brisbane speaker
  • Passthrough audio whilst charging
  • TWS mode for pairing two Brisbane Plus speakers
  • Rubberized side edges and bottom side to protect against bumps
  • 3.5mm aux port for wired audio
  • Durable fabric grille
  • Microphone for calls
  • Bluetooth 5.3 chip supports AAC, SBC
  • Supports absolute bluetooth volume
 Accessories included with Brisbane Plus are a 60cm charging cable. You can buy the Urbanista Brisbane Plus from Urbanista and amazon

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