Urbanista Malibu Puts A Discreet Solar Panel On A Wireless Speaker

Portable Bluetooth speakers are great, allowing you to bring loud music with you on the go. Like all our modern electronics, though, it’s limited by battery life, so the party can only keep going so long as the darn thing stays charged. While many modern wireless speakers are optimized to run for most of the day on battery power, things can change drastically once you decide to crank up the volume or keep the playlists running nonstop. The Urbanista Malibu hopes to extend its battery’s mileage by integrating a solar panel.

That’s right, this portable Bluetooth speaker comes with a solar panel that should allow it to continuously replenish its charge throughout the day. Even better, it uses Exeger’s Powerfoyle, the same solar panel the outfit uses for their Phoenix earbuds and Los Angeles headphones, which can be bent and finished like traditional materials, so it integrates seamlessly into the new speakers. That’s right, there’s none of those ugly industrial-looking solar cells anywhere on this speaker, all while being able to charge continuously from ambient light throughout the day.

The Urbanista Malibu is a compact wireless speaker with an integrated lanyard that lets you hang it on backpacks, belt loops, and straps, so you can carry it around with you all day. It has dual 10-watt amplifiers, so there should be plenty of volume to really liven up a party. Do note, this doesn’t play in stereo. Instead, you’ll have to pair it with a second Malibu using the built-in Stereo Link function to produce a true stereo sound.

There are onboard controls directly on the speaker, so you can control playback and adjust volume with a simple tap, although it also comes with a mobile app that offers more extensive controls and settings, including a customizable equalizer to adjust the speaker’s sound to suit your individual taste. You can also keep tack of the solar charging function directly from the app.

The Urbanista Malibu has a housing that’s IP67-rated for waterproofing, ensuring you can safely take it outdoors without any worries, all while being rugged enough to survive the bumps and scrapes it’s going to encounter on the regular. According to the outfit, it’s made mostly from recycled plastics and fabrics, so there’s some sustainability credentials here as well, although, let’s be honest, we’re not saving the planet buying recycled stuff. It’s still nice, though.

The onboard battery supposedly holds a full day of charge, presumably, on mid-range volume, so this thing can keep you entertained for a decent length of time even at full blast. However, it also integrates Powerfoyle cells, which should continually fill it back up with power all throughout the day. From what we’ve read about it, the cells are particularly good with charging from indoor light sources, so it will keep trickling juice into the battery even when it’s just sitting on your desk at the office all day. At any rate, you should be able to monitor the solar panel’s charging efficiency via the app, so you can judge that for yourself.

The Urbanista Malibu debuts in September. Price is $149.

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