By Nick Miles
The Eton Soulra XL speaker dock is an iPhone speaker dock with a twist: it uses an inbuilt solar panel to prolong the battery life of your mobile while in use and also recharges the internal battery when not connected to the mains.
The battery may take 2 hours longer to charge your phone than a typical iPhone dock, but when in use, exposing the solar panel to the sun will give the speakers an extra 3 hours of playing time over regular battery-powered speakers, making it ideal for any prolonged outdoor activity or camping expedition.
As an added bonus, the speakers also have a protective shield that covers the iPhone or iPod from splashes or sprays that may occur during outdoor use.
Personally, I hate the idea of battery-charged speakers: it just seems wasteful. So when I saw this solar panelled speaker system from Eton, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.
Using the AC adaptor, the inbuilt rechargeable battery reaches 100% in a couple of hours and then allowed me to listen to great quality sound audio for hours after. After flipping the solar panel down and exposing it to the sun, it does indeed give you extra playing time. However, I found that the length of time taken to charge the battery purely off the solar panel is quite long, and it definitely requires a cloudless day for maximum efficiency.
However, having said that, the sound produced by the Soulra XL is crystal clear and can reach very high volumes (warn the neighbours!) What’s more, this is a fantastic, good-looking product that has given me much enjoyment, both in the garden and camping. The protective shield has also saved me from a potentially broken iPod on a couple of occasions.
In sum, I’d say this is a great accessory to your iPod, allowing you to listen to music without the need for constant mains recharging.
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