Review: Jabra Solemate

By Mike Wheeler

Since MP3 players became as prolific as grains of sand on a beach, so have a plethora of portable speaker devices.

By Mike Wheeler

Since MP3 players became as prolific as grains of sand on a beach, so have a plethora of portable speaker devices.

The theory behind a portable speaker is that you can take your music with you anywhere and share it with friends – ideally at a barbeque or the beach, around the pool or maybe at the local skate park. Most vendors will up the rhetoric by telling you that their speaker is like a portable home stereo, or that it will be the hit of the party. This is usually blatant hyperbole to try and sell the product.

But occasionally, a speaker comes along, that while it might not quite be on  a par with a nightclub DJ’s kit, does offer that little bit more power that you might have to yell to be heard. Enter Jabra's Solemate.

First of all design. It’s quite heavy for a little product, and this is due to a couple of reasons. Jabra have said that it is fairly rugged – ie can handle some knocks – and while we didn’t test that aspect to any great degree, it is certainly a solid piece of kit. The other is that it has three front-facing speakers, which is reasonably impressive when you see the size of the device. In other words, they’ve packed a whole lot into a small package. It's under carriage looks very much like the sole of a shoe, thus the name.

And connectivity? There are several options of connecting you MP3 player – USB cord, 3mm jack, or bluetoothing. For this test I connected an iPhone 4 using the jack. Pretty straight forward.

The first hint that the Solemate is a bass-heavy portable speaker is when you switch it on and you are greeting by an audible thud. But how does the sounds stack up? Well I played the following tunes at full-tilt boogie – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No 3 in E Major, Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls, Coldplay’s Fix You, The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise and finally Flo Rida’s Good Feeling. The sound was reasonably consistent throughout all six songs. The only time it descended into distortion was during Fix You when Johnny Buckland’s guitar(s) went into overdrive. Otherwise all the other sounds were fine. If I was to pick a winner for pure sound clarity it would be Good Feeling, with Beautiful Girl a close second.

Overall I would rate this an above average portable speaker, and would not go amiss around our BBQ area.

Pros: Packs a punch for such a small device; super easy to use; rugged so can handle some knocks
Cons: You need a PHD in Origami to get out of the box; some distortion; pricey

RRP
$199

4.6 Shacks Out Of 5

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