|• Speakers: 2 full-range
• Amplifier: 11 watts
• Connections: minijack line input
• Remote control
• Dimensions: 11[3/4] x 6[1/2] x 3[1/2] in
• Weight: 3[3/4] lb
What could be greener than an iPod? While CD playback involves manufacturing, transporting, and ultimately throwing away petroleum-based plastic discs, an iPod deals only in eco-friendly digital data. Taking advantage of the iPod's low power consumption (along with the current high level of consumer interest in green products), Eton's Soulra lets you rock out via solar power.
The Soulra has a design that I would characterize as cool. Its rubberized chassis surrounds a central aluminum panel. Flip this panel up and there's a solar panel on the other side, along with an iPod docking well underneath. The solar panel tilts back to collect sunlight, but its tilt range is somewhat constrained; I would have liked allowance for a greater backward tilt to fully catch any sunlight coming from behind the player.
The unit can run either from AC power or from its internal rechargeable (via AC or solar) lithium-ion battery. Battery charging time is about 10 hours from solar (depending on sunlight lux) and 4 hours from AC, and playback time is about 4 hours per charge (varies according to playback volume). Don't leave your iPod plugged into the dock: Even after it is fully charged, it will continue to run down the battery.
Because the player is portable (and has a built-in handle to prove it) and might find its way outdoors, it is splash proof (no dunking allowed) when the front panel is closed. Buttons on top let you control playback, adjust volume, and boost bass, and there are indicators that let you check the battery level. There is an audio line input around back. A nice-size — and rubberized — remote is included.
The Soulra has two full-range speakers; there are no separate tweeters, woofers, or even passive radiators. As a result, its frequency response is limited, lacking both high- and low-frequency extension. The middle of the audio spectrum is reproduced with respectable, but not great, fidelity. Amp power is on the low side — probably to help conserve juice — although its playback level should be sufficient for most rooms. On the other hand, if you're outdoors at the park, the Soulra won't blow away anybody's car stereo.
This player is all about cool tech. It looks cool, has a cool solar panel and cool rechargeable batteries, and is even coolly rugged and rubbery. Moreover, the reasonably small size makes it cool to carry around. The Soulra's coolness comes at the price of fidelity, but sometimes being cool is worth any sacrifice.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.