The Soulra is the Bear Grylls of speaker docks – built for the great outdoors. Every fibre of its being is devoted to making sure that you can enjoy music in the garden or on a fishing trip without running out of power or being interrupted by the odd spot of rain.
Just take a look at that rough, tough exterior. The speakers on either side are clad in a rugged rubberised outer layer that not only makes them feel solid and sturdy, but also splashproof to an IPX-4 rating. In the middle, the iPod dock sits behind a protective flap (which is finished in tasty brushed aluminium), the underside of which is a solar panel that charges the built-in battery (and your iPod) while you’re out and about.
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On top of the unit are chunky rubber buttons controlling every function and set into the left speaker is a handy battery life indicator. It manages to be highly functional but stylish at the same time, which is no mean feat.
Eton Soulra – Features
On the back of the unit is an 3.5mm audio input, which allows you to connect other MP3 players besides an iPod, and a headphone jack. As well as iPods, the dock supports the iPhone – including the latest 4G model – and in the box you get a remote control, which is styled to match the unit and features neatly arranged rubber buttons. Otherwise the feature list is fairly light – there’s no USB port of radio, for instance – but at £150 that’s only to be expected.
Eton Soulra – Performance
The Soulra’s build quality might be beautifully robust, but sadly its sound quality isn’t. The thing that strikes you from the start is how little bass there is. Listening to a selection of house tracks – a genre that cries out for taut, punchy bass in those kick drums – the sound is too thin and weedy to inspire any excitement, and the imbalance can be fatiguing on the ears when listening at loud volumes. The situation only improves fractionally with Bass Boost turned on. In its defence, this lack of bass might not be a great concern in the garden, but in general its sound quality is disappointing. This is a real shame, as in every other respect it’s an impressive speaker dock with a very appealing design that’s perfect for hassle-free outdoor listening.