Wireless music systems are rarely totally wireless. Sooner or later you’ll have to plug something into a wall, and that’s not always convenient. What if you don’t have a socket available, or you want to take your music out and about? The Eton Soulra XL dock has the answer.
Bring me sunshine
A huge solar panel that covers the entire rear surface of the Eton Soulra XL can soak up enough power from the sun to power it for up to five hours. How much playback time you get will depend on how loud you crank it, but the beauty of the system is that it can be left on a window ledge or anywhere it can see the sky and always be ready to entertain you. Ideal for kitchens, sheds and roaming music lovers then.
Loud and proud
You might think a solar-powered iPod dock would be low on raw music power, but with six drivers and a bass boost button it’s got ample grunt to kick out beefy tunes. Not only does it go loud for its size but the sound has a surprising depth and balance.
Any which way
If you do have a suitable window ledge it works just great in its basic form, with a little red light glowing through the Soulra logo to let you know when it’s absorbing rays. However, you can also flip up the panel to give it the best chance of catching the sun (or cloud – it’s not fussy). If you do you’ll find a curiously shaped hole for the remote, which doesn’t give full control over your iPod or iPhone but mimicks the rubberised transport controls on the main unit.
We’d like to see more of our iThing’s screen peeping through the darkened window on the dock, and a better latch on the door would help in getting the damn thing open, but otherwise it’s a smartly designed and quite rugged little unit.
It’s a simple beast in terms of features but does have a 3.5mm input for other sources and mains input for when you can’t wait for the sun to do the business. Other docks may have more power, slicker controls and even sleeker design, but the Eton’s ability to go off-grid makes it something special.