The Urbanista Melbourne is a brilliant portable Bluetooth speaker with good sound quality, water resistance and a portable design.
Urbanista is a new audio company hailing from Sweden that has managed to create quite a product catalogue in the past year. With a bunch of different headphones and speakers, they focus on giving their products a Scandinavian design twist which appeals to younger millennials and audiophiles alike.
The Urbanista Melbourne continues that tradition. Marketed as a trendy portable speaker with a big sound, it manages to tick all of those boxes admirably well.
Taking it out of the box, we’re always happy to see attractive packaging on a product. On a Point of Sale display this is always the first thing you will see, so kudos to Urbanista for making a rather generic accessory feel special. A message on the inside lid wishes us love from the company and hopes you will “enjoy your Melbourne as much as we do”. The product itself is very small, measuring only 5.25″ x 2.5″. It’s also less than 1″ thick, meaning you can quite easily throw this in your pocket and forget any unnecessary bulge. A handle sits on the bottom left of the speaker, which can be used with the included lace/strap for carrying around. The whole product is wrapped in a rubber insulated finish, which is fully IPX4 water resistant. This will protect it from splashing water and general rain… but we wouldn’t advise using it in the bath.
On the back of the speaker is 50mm passive radiator capable of kicking out some decent bass for such a small device, with a metal finish for added protection. Inside the speaker itself, you’ll find a pair of 40mm drivers which operate in full stereo, an excellent addition that most competitors tend to forgo.
Connectivity is kept simple on the Urbanista Melbourne, with only four controls along top. You get volume control, a power button and a pairing button. On the topic of Bluetooth connectivity, we encountered zero problems hooking up devices in the office to the speaker. It uses the slightly older Bluetooth 4.0 protocol which is a bit disappointing but still offers most of the features seen in newer versions.
On the back of the speaker is 50mm passive radiator capable of kicking out some decent bass for such a small device, with a metal finish for added protection.
Sound quality is the primary area for any Bluetooth speaker and we’re pleased to say that the Melbourne exceeded expectations. We rarely see decent sound quality from smaller speakers due to compromises made in order to pack everything inside, yet Urbanista has found an excellent balance here. The inclusion of DSP surely helps, as the overall presentation feels much bigger than what you’d expect.
The initial sound is quite flat and unexciting, which is commonplace with most portable speakers. After tuning the EQ on my HTC 10 a little bit, I found a sweet spot where the Melbourne really began to shine. Sound quality in the upper regions is excellent, with no distortion at high levels. Bass goes further than other competitors devices and manages to stay controlled. Despite being slightly more expensive than most portable speakers, you get what you pay for.
Battery life is quoted at 6 hours, which is an acceptable number but slightly below the leaders. We found that when using the speaker, this depended heavily on the volume level. Driving it hard would reduce things by over an hour but at moderate levels, the claim only fell short by about 30-45 minutes. On the plus side, the Urbanista Melbourne can be fully charged in roughly two hours.