Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Ever since Swedish audio model Urbanista first introduced out its mightily spectacular photo voltaic headphones that, sure, charged even whereas they had been getting used, WIRED has been hoping the corporate would take this tech and check out it in a bigger audio product. Now it has, and the result’s a brand new transportable wi-fi speaker, the Malibu.

The Urbanista Malibu, identical to the model’s Phoenix photo voltaic earbuds and Los Angeles headphones, makes use of Exeger’s Powerfoyle photo voltaic cells to recharge the Bluetooth speaker’s battery. This implies the Malibu can recharge whereas unplugged utilizing each ambient indoor lighting and outside sunshine. The speaker additionally has an IP67 ranking, that means it’s absolutely waterproof and guarded in opposition to sand, mud, and filth—excellent for the seashore.

The $149 (£149 or €169) speaker may be linked to a different Malibu to kind a stereo pair, and it comes within the compulsory black and a brand new Desert Grey. A chat with Mårten Sahlén, product director at Urbanista, reveals that the rugged design homes a 3,600-mA battery, which powers twin 10-watt amplifiers inside. That battery may be absolutely charged by the photo voltaic cells, however there’s USB-C charging too.

The accompanying app allows you to customise the sound profile and preserve monitor of the speaker’s dwell light-charging and historic information (do you have to be concerned with how a lot free power you’ve harvested over the product’s lifetime).

Urbanista says the photo voltaic speaker comes with a full-day battery reserve, which it says equates to a play time of as much as 30 hours. However the query is how for much longer the Malibu can pump out the jams whereas sitting in daylight. We requested for this information, and the model performed some in-house assessments for us. Urbanista used a curated playlist of songs and set its speaker on the quantity it believes different manufacturers are utilizing for testing.

Apparently, the Malibu can lengthen its 30-hour play time by as much as 15 hours with 50,000 Lux photo voltaic mild charging, which is the extent of outside mild you’d discover on a median sunny day. Photo voltaic mild ranges from roughly 20,000 to 100,000 Lux, so the technical crew at Urbanista determined to go for “half-sun energy” for testing. Nonetheless, a complete potential run time of 45 hours in full solar is attractive, if considerably troublesome to realize in actual life.

{Photograph}: Urbanista

Lit Up

There are, after all, solar-powered audio system available on the market from lesser identified manufacturers, equivalent to Abfoce and Cyboris, however what makes Urbanista’s mannequin attention-grabbing is the considerably superior effectivity of the Powerfoyle photo voltaic cells. So long as you don’t utterly drain the battery in a single lengthy listening session, the speaker can high up when not in use and lengthen the play time significantly. Sahlén presents three examples of battery drain if the Malibu is used on this means.

Situation 1: If the speaker is used twice per week for a complete of seven hours and all that point saved in full darkness, the battery ought to final for as much as 30 days.

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