Eton Soulra XL review

Portable solar-powered boom box dock for iPod/iPhone and other MP3 players
Photo of Eton Soulra XL
£199.95

Etón has built up a commendable reputation for providing green technology products in general, and solar-powered creations in particular. Recently we looked at its excellent rugged outdoor radio, the Etón Raptor. The company has now followed that up with the Etón Soulra XL, a portable solar-powered boom box for use with iPhones and iPods.

When we say portable, you’ll need quite sturdy shoulders to lug it about. The Soulra weighs a hefty 3.2kg, and measures 384x206x133mm, resembling a giant Toblerone bar in jet black with bright red side panels. Fortunately there are two strong metal hinges on the apexes to thread the supplied gel-cushioned strap through, and the ends are rubberised to protect from accidental collisions.

Plenty of boom in the box
A see-through, protective plastic panel folds down from the middle of the front to reveal the recessed compartment for your iPod/iPhone, and this is flanked by no less than eight speakers (two woofers, two tweeters and four passive radiators). Along the top row is a selection of large chunky control buttons, including a bass boost and a battery level monitor.

The back is given over entirely to a 72-square-inch enhanced monocrystal solar panel, which is hinged but does not rotate, so you’ll have to make sure the whole machine is pointing directly towards the sun. When positioned correctly, it takes five hours to charge the onboard lithium ion battery (four hours to charge an iPod), and you then have five hours playback. A separate mains supply allows you to charge from the wall when it’s too dark, and a built-in recess under the solar panel houses the supplied remote control.

There’s certainly no shortage of volume – 22W output, with the bass boost – and MP3 players other than the iPod or iPhone can be fed in through an Aux audio input (although they cannot be remotely operated). We can see this being a very popular beach or pool party music machine, as long as you’re willing to pay the rather steep £200 for it.

Company: Eton

Website: http://www.etoncorp.co.uk/

Contact: Nevada Radio on 023 92 313090

Positives
  • Eco-friendly solar charging.
Negative
  • Possibly too pricey for youngsters.

Verdict

The Etón Soulra XL is a solid but stylish iPod/iPhone boom box with plenty of volume power under the hood and potentially endless power supply through its solar panel but the price point might be too steep for many.