The Eton Soulra XL is a speaker system that uses an inbuilt solar panel to prolong the battery life while in use and also recharge the internal battery when not connected to the mains. The battery takes around 5 hours to charge through the solar panel compared with 2 via the mains charger. However when in use, exposing the solar panel to the sun will give the speakers an extra 3 hours play time, taking it from 5 to 8, of use and makes it idea for any prolonged outdoor activity or camping expedition.
How does it work?
Once fully charged via the mains, the 72 square inch solar panel helps boost the potential battery life of the speakers and allows extensive use away from power sources. While the battery life lasts up to 5 hours without the solar panel it lasts 8 with it, making it feasible to take with you on your outdoor travels. The solar panel can also be used to trickle charge the inbuilt rechargeable battery, however this takes significantly longer than the mains charger. The speakers also have a protective shield that covers the iPhone or iPod from splashes or sprays that occur during everyday standard use.
How did it work for me?
I get very frustrated when, during the very few hot days we have here in Britain, iI have no way of playing my favourite songs while in garden or during camping expeditions. In the garden I have, in the past, resorted to miles upon miles of extension cables running through various rooms and out through the garden and into my iPod dock. I also refuse to have a battery powered device due to the fact i end up drowning in batteries, not knowing if they are dead or not. Therefore 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 reachers 100% in a couple of hours and then allows 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 seems to require a cloudless day for maximum efficiency.
However, having said that this is a fantastic product that has given me much enjoyment, both in the garden and camping. The protective shield has also saved me from a broken iPod on a couple of occasions.