4 Bluetooth speakers: Mono colors with stereo sound

Today's smartphones and tablets still have less-than-stellar speakers. Try one of these for a better audio experience.

By , Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless

One gets the idea that the Solemate was named by people with a sense of humor. The bottom of the speaker is ridged rubber, very much like the sole of a jogging sneaker. Embedded inside that rubber is a slim indentation that contains a 3.5mm audio-in cable; if your music source doesn't have Bluetooth, you can just pull out that cable.

The top of the Solemate has three buttons: one for volume down, one for volume up and a third that lets you answer and end phone calls. Surprisingly, there is no way to manually pause the music on the device.

Several more controls on one side of the speaker include a micro-USB jack (the device comes with a USB cable and a separate AC jack), a headphone jack and a tiny switch that lets you turn the device on or off or enable the Bluetooth. Two LEDs indicate the status of the Bluetooth connection and the battery level.

On the other side of the speaker, there is a small handle loop. The Solemate also comes with its own hear-through travel bag that lets you use the speaker even in inclement weather. It is available in either black or white; according to the company, you get up to 8 hours play time.

If you like devices that talk back to you, the Solemate is definitely the one to get. When you start up the Bluetooth, you get a rap beat and a male voice says, "Go ahead and connect me." The voice lets you also know when you've made the connection and, if you tap the answer/end call button, you get a verbal report on your battery status. At first, I found it a bit startling, but I must admit it's clearer than the usual code of beeps and buzzes that other devices use.

How did it sound?

I found the Solemate's sound to be clear and crisp, although it wasn't quite up to the standards of the Switch or the Pill, and some of the audio details that I got from the other two were slightly blurred here. Volume seems to bring out the best in the Solemate; when it got louder (and it could get very loud), the beat of the bass seemed to increase in relation to the music, and there was little distortion.

As a speakerphone, the Solemate performed adequately, although there were some digital drop-outs (not as much as with the Zooka, however). While I'm not sure I'd depend on it for long calls, it would perform adequately in a pinch.

Bottom line

The Solemate is a good Bluetooth speaker with a decent bass range and good sound, especially when it gets nice and loud. It is also a convenient travel speaker; it comes with both a protective bag and an embedded audio-in cable. However, I think it might be more attractive to buyers if the cost was slightly lower, especially considering the competition.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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