I was recently given the opportunity to check out the Etón Soulra: a solar powered speaker system designed for iPods and iPhones. I’m quite impressed with what it has to offer in terms of both features and performance. And, it seems I’m not the only one who thinks highly of the Etón Soulra, as Daniel McGoldrick mentions it in his article on the top 10 camping gadgets for backpackers.
Design (5 out of 5)
We’ll start by looking at the design of the Etón Soulra. The solar powered speaker system has an aluminum body and rubberized case, making it extremely robust and resilient to the elements of the great outdoors, such as rain, dust, and dirt. It’s important to note, however, that the Etón Soulra is not entirely waterproof, only splash-proof, and only when the solar panel is closed. With that said, it is still extremely rugged for common use when camping, at the beach, pool, sports games, or other outdoor activities and locations.
The size and weight of the solar powered speaker system according to Etón’s website (I didn’t have my tape measure or scale handy) is:
- Dimensions: 11.875” x 6.625” x 3.5” (W x H x D)
- 301 x 168 x 89 mm (W x H x D)
- Weight: 3 lbs 7.9 oz. (1.58 kg)
Features (5 out of 5)
The Etón Soulra, as I’m sure you’ve already worked out, is solar powered. This feature, along with its rugged design, makes the Soulra one of the best speaker systems for iPods (and iPhones) available for outdoor enthusiasts. What makes it even better is you don’t need to rely on the solar charge of the device – which would pretty much render it useless in the dark winter months or if you want to use it indoors more often than not – you can charge the internal lithium-ion battery to use the Etón Soulra too.
The solar powered speaker system doesn’t just play your tunes, it also charges your iPod or iPhone, which is perfect if you’re in the middle of nowhere camping and don’t have access to a power outlet.
For the lazy users, the Etón Soulra comes with a remote control, so there’s no need to put down your drink and get out of your lounge chair in order to use the solar powered speaker system.
The Soulra has bass boost and full-range speaker drivers. Your music sounds excellent coming from the speaker system.
Performance & Compatibility (5 out of 5)
Though I haven’t personally tested how long it takes to charge the Etón Soulra, according to the manufacturer, the Soulra will get a full charge in 4 hours if charged with the AC power adapter, and 10 hours in direct sunlight. When running on the fully charged battery, the Soulra offers 4 hours of audio playback time with the volume set mid-level and the iPod or iPhone continuously charging.
The Etón Soulra is compatible with all iPods and iPhones.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
The Etón Soulra’s price varies depending on where you look, so it’s a good idea to shop around a bit before you buy. One of the best prices I’ve seen is at Amazon for $177.45. The Apple Store sells the solar powered speaker system for $199.95. For a look at other places where the Soulra is sold and to see more images of the Soulra, you can visit the company’s website.
Yes, there are cheaper iPod speaker systems available on the market, but the Etón Soulra stands above the rest thanks to its eco-friendly solar panel and its rugged design. The solar powered speaker system is an excellent option for those who love to go camping, sit by the pool, lounge at the beach or other outdoor environments where you’re not close to a power outlet and you need to protect your iPod from the elements. The Etón Soulra is also great for teenagers who aren’t so gentle with their gadgets and are always packing their electronics with them to school, friends' houses, hockey change rooms, etc. For under $200, I’d say the Soulra is definitely worth buying. Highly recommended.