If you are in the market for a unique and fresh looking portable speaker system, look no further than the new Jabra Solemate. Its funky shoe-looking design makes it an instant eye catcher to start your impromptu party – anywhere and no power is required.
Look and Feel
The Solemate’s distinctive look has a rubberised sole which prevents the device from moving which comes in handy when you pump up the volume and don’t want your portable speaker to start dancing around the table.
At the top, the Solemate has three neatly tucked buttons: volume up, volume down and the function button in the middle.
On the left of the device is a solid carry handle and on the right is where you find the on/off/ Bluetooth button, the 3.5mm jack and the microUSB slot. It also has the Bluetooth and battery indicator light there too.
The system is paired to your phone, tablet or pc via Bluetooth which is simply done by holding up the Bluetooth button and putting the device into search mode. You will then hear some music and instructions to help you pair the device. This was painless and within minutes I had my phone connected. Whenever you switch on the Solemate and it connects to your paired device you will hear a deep voice saying “Solemate is connected”.
If on the other hand you want to save your phone’s battery and not use Bluetooth, the Jabra Solemate conveniently comes with its own 3.5mm cable neatly tucked away underneath the rubberised “sole” of the unit. Simply unclip the cable and plug it into the headphone jack of your phone and your music is played through.
The Solemate comes pre-charged right out of the box allowing you to start using it immediately. I managed to get around 6 hours of music from the Solemate without charging it and according to the specifications, the Solemate has a Standby Time of up to 960 hours and can stream music for up to 8 hours. When the battery reaches certain stages, the same deep voice alerts you with a “battery medium” message so you are not caught off guard with no power.
When you need to charge it, the Solemate uses the standard microUSB and does comes with a both a 2-pin wall charger and the microUSB cable in the package.
The sound quality is great for a device of this size. Listening to Adele’s Skyfall you can really hear those instruments behind Adele’s bass voice. In a small to medium size room, the Solemate does a superb job in filling the room. There is a decent level of bass which doesn’t kill and overpower the music clarity. However when you turn the volume right up there are some distortions but I did notice that by pacing the Solemate on different surfaces it does help with that distortion. Obviously the source of the music plays a critical part in the quality of music being streamed through.
For most events, get togethers, and general background music the Solemate was perfect and provided entertainment. The Solemate delivers big sound but if you are looking for a speaker to run a house-party on full blast this is not what this speaker was designed for.
When it comes to making calls, the quality was a distorted too with people reporting a buzzing sound. On the other hand, the quality of the person speaking came through loud and clear. This was a bit disappointing as the other Jabra speaker products I have used in the past were flawless in this department – perhaps it might have been a fault on the review unit?
If I was going to change anything on the Solemate would be the ability to control the volume from my phone instead of having to use the volume buttons on the device. I love the design and just how neat it looks and sounds.
The Solemate weighs 610 grams which is fine for taking it to the beach or throwing it into your picnic bag when going to the park but is a bit heavy for taking it with on a hike or on a bike ride where every kilogram counts. Saying that, the Solemate is robust and the carrier bag that comes with it is splash and dust proof which does make it ideal for the outdoors.
My kids loved this device and I often found them just chilling outside playing music through their BlackBerry phones.
The Jabra has a recommended retail price of R1 999 which is on the expensive side and I fear will ultimately be the stumbling block for selling lots of these devices. The Jabra is part of the wide range of product imported and distributed by Wintec Solutions