Go green. You hear it all the time, but unless you’re a gamma ray powered monster or a Jet fan, it may not hold any resonance for regular people. The fact of the matter is we live in a world of finite space and infinite consumption and desire. Whether you are stumped at the pump or just trying to heat or cool your home, the cost of these things do affect you, no matter what you do.
Many tech firms are trying their darndest to create products that reduce our dependence on gas batteries and fossil related fuel systems. Most of that stuff is as far away from fun as we are from the sun. The good folks at Etón have sought to shorten that distance and have created the Soulra XL speaker system which runs on *gasp* solar power.
The system is compact, yet solid and comes with a shoulder harness if you are trying to get your Radio Raheem on. It comes equipped with a remote control, a retractable 72 square inch solar panel, and 8 drivers (2 woofers, 2 tweeters and 4passive radiators) for balanced sound that stays consistent at all volume levels (total 22 Watts with bass boost). It comes equipped with a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack
It’s been overcast for a while so when I got the chance to get some consistent sun, I took the unit out back to give it a fair shot. You’re supposed to give it 5 hours out in the sun to get right so I set it out there to bake. After three hours I got impatient and went out to try it out and after a few button clicks I was bumping “High Definition” from Rich Forever. Before I got neighbor complaints from all the “n****s” in “Yella Diamondz” I switched to Michael Jackson and continued the test.
The Soulra didn’t do half bad. There were no slow performance issues that you expect from solar things (like those weak ass calculators). It was loud enough to conduct a backyard bbq with some ambience but not powerful enough to have the cops called on you for disturbing the peace. I used an mp3 player with the 3.5 audio jack but the unit is primarily designed for iPhones and iPods and the interface is such that you can use Nanos and pretty much the entire multigenerational lineup of Apple audio products in conjunction with this sound system.
There is also a protective shield whenever you use an Apple device and controls for forwarding and reviewing via remote or button that aren’t available with non-Apple devices; you’d control them from their own interface. Depending on the model, it can charge your iPod in 4 hours.
I was happy with the outcome. It was enough sound to drown out background noise and get the party started but not enough to get you in trouble. Anything that doesn’t raise the light bill is a definitive win. Save the planet and blast your beats with the Soulra XL.
*Dimensions: 8.125″ H x 15.125″ W x 5.25″ D (206mm H x 384mm W x 133 mm D)
Weight: 7 lbs. (3.175 kg), Retails for $250 at Amazon, Best Buy or the Etón website.
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