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Solar Gadgets for Summer

Eton Soulra XL

How often have you gotten to the beach only to find out that your boom box’s batteries are dead. Eton’s Soulra Xl can put an end to that beachcomber faux pas because it can be powered by a flip-open solar panel.

Designed to work with iPods and iPhones, Soulra XL has a nook in the front for the music player with a hinged door to protect it from sand, flying drinks and the like. The 11.8- by 5.6-inch solar panel fold open and can be tilted at the sun, but it can’t be set vertically.

It’s more than enough to fully power it on a sunny or slightly overcast day. When it’s running on its own power, a red lightning bolt LED is illuminated. Soulra XL comes with an AC adapter, just in case it’s too dark to play outside.

Inside its black and orange case are a powerful amplifier and a lithium battery to store the sun’s energy for night time use. The system has a battery gauge that tells roughly how much power remains. It can even charge up an iPod while it is playing, but this cuts into Soulra XL’s battery life.

Left your iPod at home? Soulra XL has an auxiliary input that works with everything from a satellite radio receiver to a TV. The boom box has buttons for turning it on and off, increasing and decreasing the volume, adding some extra bass and playing what’s on your iPod or iPhone. There’s a handy remote control that has a cut-out in the back to store it.

Brian Nadel
Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets.