Urbanista Phoenix Solar Review Earbuds With Wireless Solar Charging Case

Wednesday, April 05, 2023


Like the mythical bird, Urbanista's new Phoenix Solar rises from the ashes of true wireless with a solar wireless charging case that works with sun and artificial lighting!
The Urbanista Phoenix Solar uses the same Powerfoyle solar charging technology as the Urbanista Los Angeles Solar headphones. The solar panel is located across the rear side of the case. The bottom of the Phoenix Solar case is curved with rounded corners, while the flip top is flat and square so, you can set the case upright on a desk. The USB-C charging port is bottom facing.
The flip top cigarette case design is nice, although large and bulky. The flip top lid has a strong hinge (does not wobble), which allows you to keep the lid open when resting the case flat on a desk. The earbuds are buried vertically inside the case so, no chance of losing them accidentally. The downside though, the buried style makes removing the earbuds from the case fiddly, especially with slippery fingers. 
The Urbanista Phoenix Solar earbuds have a hair dryer style stem (2.5cm long) design with short angled nozzles, which makes the fit not too deep. The touch controls are low sensitivity, requiring a proper tap on the stem to register an action so, no accidental tapping when touching the hair, which can happen when adjusting your hair and can be annoying when listening to an audio book.
The Urbanista Phoenix Solar U-shape case measures 9cm long x 6.5cm wide x 2cm thick and features a text engraving of Urbanista on top of the lid, as well as a side facing anchor point for the included lanyard. The case weighs 71 grams, while each earbud weighs 5 grams.

Mobile app support is another feature you get with the Urbanista Phoenix Solar via the Urbanista app, which doesn't require an email account registration to use, although you do have to agree to "privacy terms" before you can use it. The app has a simple, easy to use interface with a nice pastel color scheme. The app shows useful information such as battery status for each earbud and case, charging solar rate of the case, battery gain estimation and 30-day charging history when charging via solar and via cable. 

Touch controls options include play/pause, volume, track skipping, ANC/transparency control and voice assistant, which are controlled via double tap, triple tap and long press. Only the long press gesture can be remapped via the Urbanista app and, there is no single tap gesture, which is odd. 
You can only choose one function per gesture so, a total of three touch controls per earbud. You can also disable the long press gesture control but not single or double tap. By default, the double tap controls play/pause and calls (answer/end), while the triple tap controls track skipping (next/previous). 

The Phoenix Solar earbuds have a fun dyanmic bass sound, which can be tweaked via the app's EQ presets from V shape sound to flat sounding, vocal focus, bass focus and treble focus. The lack of manual control to adjust specific EQ frequencies is a disadvantage.

The Urbanista Phoenix Solar can be connected whilst inside the case. It is nice that the earbuds will automatically power off when putting them back in the case without having to close the lid, which allows you to air off the earbuds inside the case when they get sweaty. The Urbanista Phoenix Solar earbuds re-connect instantly (no reconnection delay) when taken out of the case which is convenient when switching between stereo and mono listening and viceversa.
As far as solar/light charging performance, you can achieve up to 15mA per hour under direct sun or artificial light, although 6mA is more realistic. The strength of the lighting and distance from light source is very important. 
On a cloudy day, solar charging is very slow (~1mA). Under strong indoor grow led lights, you can achieve 4mA. To fully charge the Phoenix Solar case from 0% to 100%, it would take 8 days of strong lighting at 6mA. The Phoenix Solar earbuds can be charged to 100% within 10 hours but again, the lighting must be strong and constant. This makes solar power charging practical as the main source of charging in a sunny country or during summer time.

 When charging via cable, the earbuds charge in 1.5 hours, while the case in 2 hours and there is quick charge support. Battery life is 7 hours with ANC ON and 9 hours with ANC OFF. The Phoenix Solar case can hold around 25 hours. As far as call quality, the microphone delivery loud, clear and amplified calls, although background noise suppression isn't the strongest. 

Potential deal breakers
  • Heavy and bulky charging case
  • Awkward to remove earbuds from the case
  • Non adjustable ANC/transparency mode
  • Non-adjustable EQ 
  • Limited button remapping
  • No custom EQ option
  • No low latency game mode
  • No R/L markings on the earbuds
  • No single tap gesture control
  • No Qi wireless charging case
  • IPX4
  • Needs direct light source to work efficiently
  • App doesn't work with the earbuds in the case and lid closed
  • Budget ANC & transparency mode performance
  • Expensive

Selling points
  • Active noise cancellation (ANC)
  • Wireless solar charging 
  • Works with solar and artificial lighting
  • Transparency mode (ambient sound)
  • Premium build quality
  • Anchor point for lanyard 
  • Strong hinged lid 
  • Multipoint connection for 2 devices
  • AAC codec 
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • On-ear detection for auto play/pause (can be disabled)
  • Mobile app support
  • EQ presets
  • Auto power saving mode (can be disabled)
  • Voice prompts
  • Bass boost when enabling ANC
  • 1 year warranty
  • Can be carried around the neck
Accessories included are an Urbanista-branded lanyard (38cm long) and silicone eartips with soft flange and thick inner bore. The lanyard is made of fabric and integrates a ring style metal carabiner with a detachable loop. You can buy the Urbanista Phoenix Solar from Urbanista and amazon.

Similar Gadget Explained Reviews


Connect With Gadget Explained