13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Distinctive styling, great sound,
This review is from: Jabra SOLEMATE Portable Bluetooth Speaker -Black (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Programme (What's this?)The first thing to get out of the way is the design of these speakers.
They are in fact modelled on a Doc Martin boot.
This may divide opinions; some will love it, while others may write off the Solemate for this reason alone. I shall try to be objective, in the full knowledge that the styling alone may be the deciding factor for many. If the styling is not to your taste, I would suggest considering the Braven 650 (or one of its siblings) as I also have one of these, and have found it excellent, and which I shall use as a point of comparison. (Braven 650 Portable Wireless Speaker - Silver Aluminium)
The Solemate is marketed as being tough, dust and splashproof. It certainly feels well built with a black matt soft touch finish, steel grille, ridged rubber sole and carry loop. It is also quite heavy, and somewhat larger than the Braven (610g, 172mm x 64mm x 70mm VS 350g, 159mm x 64mm x 45mm).
Inside the case there are 3 speakers; two smaller and a larger central speaker. On one end there is a fabric grab strap, and on the other the 3.5mm audio, micro usb, off-on-Bluetooth multiswitch. On the top are three flush buttons for controlling the device. A clever design feature is the inclusion of a 3.5mm to 3.5mm connector in the style of a yellow boot lace which is stored in a groove in the sole.
The raison d'etre for speakers: Sound. Fortunately, the quality is excellent, with a very full sound. All frequencies sound well balanced, except that the bass seems somewhat emphasised. The sound was both louder and of better quality than the Braven 650, with no distortion evident, as there was for the Braven at full volume. However the sound is slightly directional, which was not a problem with the Braven. There was no difference in the sound when the speaker was inside the carry case.
The Solemate claims 120dB at 0.5m. I'm not sure how Jabra got this figure as it is the equivalent of standing next to a jet engine. As a commercial pilot I can assure you that this little speaker is not THAT loud! It is however loud enough to fill a room.
An unexpected and novel feature is that the device talks to you. When you turn it on it plays a (slightly dubious) jingle and you are instructed to turn on the Bluetooth on your phone. When it connects to your device, it tells you. It's a completely unnecessary, yet a really nice feature that illustrates the thought that has gone into the design.
In terms of additional tricks; you can connect it to your computer as a USB speaker, or with the 3.5mm cord. It will work as a handsfree speaker for phone, Skype, Gtalk or other VoIP, although only in Bluetooth and USB modes as the 3.5mm jack is output only. However, unlike the Braven, there is no full size USB to allow charging of other devices, which disappointing to see. The battery is also only rated at `up to' 8h, where the Braven is `up to' 20h.
In the box you will get instructions (very brief - it's very easy to setup and use), a 1 year warranty card, a micro USB charger, a USB to micro USB cable and a water/dustproof carry bag.