Eton Soulra XL review: Mostly sunny
While it may not blow you away with its sound quality, the Eton Soulra XL is a sturdy and attractive portable iPod/iPhone audio system that offers a built-in rechargeable battery and solar charging.
Last year we reviewed the
Featuring an extra-large, retractable 72-square-inch "enhanced" monocrystal solar panel, the 7-pound Soulra XL has a built-in 2,000mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery. The company says it will run for 5 hours of continuous play (as long as it has some sun to soak up) and has eight speaker drivers (two tweeters, two woofers, and four passive radiators), and a 22W output, which will fill a decent-size room or patio space with sound.
This model is sleeker looking than the smaller Soulra, but it isn't as rugged, and it doesn't offer the splash-proof design with speakers that are sealed on the inside to provide "protection from sand, water, and other outdoor elements." Still, the unit appears solidly built and has an integrated carrying handle, as well as a removable padded strap for carrying the Soulra XL over your shoulder.
The best thing to do is charge the battery fully using the included AC adapter before you take it outside. Fully charged, you should get about 5 hours of battery life from the system as your iPod or iPhone is charged in the cradle. But that number will rise to as much as 8 hours if you flip up the solar panel and expose it to direct sunlight (obviously, how much sunlight you get will affect battery life).
How does the Soulra XL sound?