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Jabra SOLEMATE Bluetooth Portable Speaker Review

By on October 2, 2012
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The audio powerhouse you can take anywhere.

Good: Great sound; Solid build quality; Easy Bluetooth connectivity; Multiple connectivity options; Decent battery.
Bad: Audio looses fidelity at highest volume (but doesn't crackle).
Price: AED 749
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The Jabra SOLEMATE Bluetooth portable speaker is one of those things that seem like overindulgence for listening to music on the go, but once you hear it, you’ll feel the need to have it.

Measuring 171 x 64 x 70mm and weighing just 1.1kg, the Jabra SOLEMATE is one of the best portable speakers I’ve used in a long while. Not only does it sound great (for its size), but it’s also built in a very practical manner.

Packed in with the speaker is a microUSB 2-pin power cable, another microUSB to USB cable, both of which charge the Jabra SOLEMATE. Then we have a small water & sand-resistant cloth pouch, and an instruction booklet.

Coming to the Jabra SOLEMATE itself, the device looks like a sneaker at first glance, what with the grooved rubber bottom and the carry strap on the side. Look closely, and your initial reaction will turn into pleasantness as you see the rigid build of the device as well as the smart size of it. There’s a 3.5mm male to male cable neatly tucked under the feet, while the main body holds the speakers as well as the rechargeable Li-Ion battery.

There are just three buttons on top, two of which are obviously there for volume control. Hold them together to mute the Jabra SOLEMATE. The center button serves multiple purposes. It’s normally used for knowing the battery charge level, where the announcer will say the charge is Full, Normal, or Low. The center button is also used to answer (single press) or reject (double press) calls.

Coming to the side you’ll see the Bluetooth and Battery level indicator, the latter glowing Green, Yellow and Red depending on battery level, and that too only when you press the center button on top to know the charge level.

The microUSB slot can be used to charge the Jabra SOLEMATE as well as connect it to a PC to be used as the primary device. The 3.55mm jack will help connect to any audio device that only has an analog out, while the On/Off button also activates the Bluetooth pairing.

Basically if you hold the On/Off switch upwards for more than 3 seconds, the pairing will begin. Pretty much all the iOS and Android devices I connected the Jabra SOLEMATE to, worked seamlessly within seconds. The audio commands while pairing Bluetooth do sound a little cheesy at first, but you soon get used to it.

At medium to low levels, the Jabra SOLEMATE sounds really good, you can clearly listen to the lows and vocal tracks sound crisp. There’s no background static noise at all, which makes the Jabra SOLEMATE sound very pleasant when listening to Jazz or slow tracks. The two tweeters and subwoofer produce a lot of impact, especially for trance tracks and pop songs, while bass heavy songs also sound great with decent ‘punch’. Raise the volume to the max and you’ll some of the clarity low end, but vocals will still be clear. The Jabra SOLEMATE doesn’t crackle at full volume, and still maintains a decent amount of quality; something I wouldn’t expect in a speaker system this small. So whether you want to listen to some easy music near your desk, or go all out for a small outdoorsy type of setting with a small group of people, the Jabra SOLEMATE will suffice your audio needs.

With a full charge, the Jabra SOLEMATE lasted me just under 7.5 hours with the audio level set to just above medium. That’s pretty impressive, since that’s about as long as you’d want to listen to music without the device being plugged into a power source. Of course, your mileage may vary.

For the price the Jabra SOLEMATE looks a little bit on the expensive side, but knows that you’re getting a quality product with easy connectivity options, great battery life and impressive sound, all in a very small package.

 


About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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