This will be the second iPhone and iPod speaker/ dock with a solar panel attached we have reviewed. The whole concept of having an iPod and iPhone speaker system/ dock with an equipped solar panel, excites me. If it worked like a solar calculator indoors it would be even more exciting but we’re a long way off that.
The exterior of the Soulra is made out of a rugged plastic. It feels very versatile and this is of course manufactured and designed this way due to the solar panel being on the Soulra which will make you want to take it outdoors into the sun where all kinds of bumps and scrapes can occur. It’s also splash proof for those days on the beach and out by the pool. On the back back of the Soulra a very easy to get at handle is built into the body. This is must for such a light weight device and makes it truly portable.
The Solar panel is placed in the middle of the two opposing speakers. It’s on a flip out mechanism so you can cover your iPhone and iPod which sit inside under the flap while playing music indoors and when out you can flip it up into the air to absorb that sun. When the solar panel is down you see a single piece of black aluminium with Soulra written on it, slick!
Up top on the Soulra we have our control buttons for skipping tracks, pausing and playing, adjusting the volume, battery indicator button, turning the unit on and off and you can turn the bass on and off also. The buttons are nice option if you have the Soulra on your desk or in the kitchen with easy reach for your hands but if not a remote control is included. The remote control has pretty poor range which is a huge downer considering this thing is designed for the outdoors. The buttons on top of the Soulra and on the remote control are carved in an alien like manor with orange being used to see each symbol.
In terms of battery the Soulra does have one well actually it has two lithion ion batteries. Having two gives the unit around 5 hours of music playback and it charges your iPhone or iPod while doing that. To realistically charge this from the sun it will take around 8-10 hours. It will also charge under a light bulb if you put the solar panel close enough. But if you have a little bit of battery in the Soulra you can leave it out in the sun and it will convert the sun light into energy right away, which sounds like a great idea and works even better. And the conventional way of charging is also here using an AC wall outlet to charge.
The sound quality is very impressive. The Soulra doesn’t really weigh all that much which made me think from first impressions that the sound would be quiet. I was wrong of course. The sound can get very loud indeed, outside it holds up really well, even in areas which have no objects for the sound waves to bounce off. Indoors the sound is equally superb, this could easily be used as a full time music dock. The bass is very very deep which I think is a good thing but you can actually turn the bass off as I mentioned earlier on for those who don’t like the bassy sound. The clarity of all genres of music we tested were amazing, everything was crisp and clear. When the volume is turned up extremely high you won’t get any reverb which must be down to the build quality.
Overall the Soulra is a fantastic iPod and iPhone speaker/ dock. Sturdy design, excellent sound quality, portable, charges from the sun, loud volume and it’s easy to use (Remote Control, what more could you ask for?