Swedish audio brand Urbanista has unveiled a new solar charging wireless Bluetooth speaker, which it's calling the Malibu. Thanks to a small solar panel, this portable speaker doesn't need to be charged in the traditional sense because it can top up its power whenever it's exposed to both outdoor and indoor light.
Once juiced up, the battery can last a full day depending on how much extra light you're exposing it to between listening sessions, although it does have a USB-C port for regular charging too.
The Urbanista Malibu boasts all of the features you'd expect from one the best Bluetooth speakers. It's built for day-long listening in all sorts of environments, including a durable design and IP67 rating, which means it's fully waterproof and protected against sand, dust and dirt.
An accompanying Urbanista app enables you to track battery levels, look at historical data and tweak the sound profile with a fully customizable EQ band. You can also link two Malibus together to create stereo sound for parties and outdoor listening.
The Urbanista Malibu will be released imminently and available in Midnight Black and Desert Grey. It costs £149 / $149 / about AU$296.13 – we don't have official details about Australian availability, but we'll update this article when we find out.
Here comes the sun
You can already buy solar-powered speakers from other brands, like Abfoce. But Urbanista's tech, specifically its use of Exeger's Powerfoyle solar cells, make it an incredibly efficient way to charge up your tech.
The Malibu is the first light-powered portable speaker from Urbanista, but the brand has already released solar tech in the past. Urbanista's Los Angeles headphones and Phoenix earbuds both use the same solar cells to recharge.
It doesn't seem like the Urbanista Malibu's battery can be recharged while it's being used – a plus point of the Los Angeles headphones – so it's tricky to say exactly how long you can listen to the portable speaker in one sitting. Urbanista says all day, but we're looking forward to putting that to the test when we get a hands-on with the Urbanista Malibu soon.
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Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.