Looking for a blow-away portable speaker? Urbanista have got you covered.
There’s a multitude of portable bluetooth speakers out there – but it’s always hard tracking down one that suits you. With the recent release from audio company, Urbanista – the choice is pretty much simplified.
This speaker is incredibly well designed, to a certain extent. You have the choice of four different colour combinations on checkout on their website. In this review we took a look at the ‘Dark Clown’ variant. In terms of colour the red and black really compliment each other well.
The whole build is structured of plastic, however the black accents have a rubber texture – further adding to the supposed water resistance of the speaker (though we didn’t have the guts to test that out). The black is prone to some surface scratching due to its soft texture.
There’s a handy little accession on the side of the speaker whereby the user can attach a lanyard or a wrist band for ease of use.
On the other side we find a small flap which when lifted reveals a very handy 3.5mm aux input. Brilliant if your phone or music device doesn’t have bluetooth (let’s face it though, what doesn’t?) or if you want to hook it up to your desktop or laptop computer. Also under this flap is the micro-USB input where the user can change the speaker.
Around the back is where things start to change – there’s a large subwoofer-type vent whereby the bass really comes into play. This does move quite excessively if you’re into metal-music and results in the speaker shaking and causing it to move a bit – so watch what surfaces you’ve got it on – however, this shouldn’t put you off; for it is only one of two small knocks to this device.
On the front is a red/black speaker grill which is really nice on the eyes and compliments the speaker well.
Finally, on the top of the Urbanista Melbourne can be found 4 buttons; power on/off, volume up, volume down and a bluetooth interaction button – which will pause the current song when pressed – a really useful feature that to many competitor-brand speakers boast. And I guess this is where the second of the two small knocks of this device should be mentioned.
The buttons are notoriously tricky to press down, and hen you finally do manage to press the button, they are occasionally unresponsive and need pressing a second or even third time to actually make any action – especially the power-on button, this can take up to ten seconds of solid button-holding to get any response.
As I said before though, you really shouldn’t let these alter your impression of the speaker as they have no effect at all on the overall quality of the sound that this device emits.
I could just write the word ‘outstanding’ under this heading and it would be fully accounted for.
However, I must go on. Outstanding is truly the word to describe the quality of sound. The speaker is very well balanced, with plenty of bass and defined highs and mids. It can also go very loud; enough to fill a small room or to have a decent BBQ party on the beach. When it reaches its louder volumes, the speaker still works wonders and very little quality is lost.
For such a small cost you are looking at high-end speaker-style sound here.
The Urbanista claims pride boasting a 6-hour total battery life; although when put to the test we only saw a total of 4 hours 30 minutes. This is probably affected by the volumes at which you play music at or what genre music you play; bass levels need more processing etc.
However, this is better than some competitors and while only holding a 4 to 6 hour battery life the speaker only takes two hours to fully charge. Quite impressive really.
The device offers somewhat great value for money. I would compare the abilities of the Urbanista Melbourne to that of a UE Boom portable speaker (circa £140). So for just £59 this speaker offers great value. What’s more? The speaker is also a fraction smaller than competitors so Urbanista have really managed to squeeze a lot into such a small package. This may seem quite expensive in comparison to similar products such as the XQISIT, but what you should realise is this speaker also offers twice the quality of the sound with that extra cost.
To wrap things up I must conclude that this speaker is well worth its price tag. And this comes from somebody who uses the speaker on daily occasions. I have tested a wide field of similar products and this one really stands out from the crowd because of its performance abilities and the general quality and crisp-ness of sound. I simply can’t use other portable speakers.