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Solar Gadgets for Summer

Eton Soulra XL Cont’d

After leaving the Soulra XL outside to charge up in the bright sunshine for six hours, the system’s 2,000 milli-amp hour lithium ion battery pack was fully juiced and ready for my iPod. It played my tunes non-stop for over 10 hours at a moderate volume on an overcast day.

The good news is that if you don’t play music with the Soulra XL, it can charge itself in direct sunlight in about 6 hours, making it ready for a nighttime party. The bad news is that the mainly black plastic box gets really hot in the sun.

Be warned, the Soulra XL can get very loud. Not enough to rattle windows, but more than enough to annoy the neighbors. The system’s 22 watt amplifier, array of six speakers and two passive radiators deliver balanced sound regardless of whether you’re listening to a podcast, jazz or rap music. Pressing the Bass button added an element of richness, but overloads the speakers at high volume.

The Soulra XL’s remote control is a great addition. It can’t control every aspect of an iPod but does the basics well. It can raise or lower the volume, play, pause or skip to a new track as well as activate the bass circuit and turn on the auxiliary input. The device has a 22-foot range, but only works pointed at the front.

It all works well together, but the Soulra XL is a bit on the heavy side at 7 pounds. There’s one thing that’s missing, however, an AM-FM radio for when you tire of what’s on your iPod or want to see how much the Mets are losing by.

Solar Boom BoxHeavy
AC Adapter IncludedNo AM/FM radio
Auxiliary Audio Input
Battery Gauge
iPod/iPhone Friendly
Good Loud Audio

Final Score: 4/5


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.