Eton's Soulra shines in the sun
Its sound won't blow you away, but the Eton Soulra is a durable and compact portable iPod/iPhone audio system that offers a built-in rechargeable battery and solar charging.
We've seen some good portable iPod/iPhone audio systems in our time, but Eton's Soulra is one of the more intriguing products we've come across in this category.
The unit has a rubberized aluminum body that the company says is splash-proof, and the speakers are sealed on the inside to provide "protection from sand, water, and other outdoor elements" (according to the company's press materials). On top of that, the $199 Soulra incorporates not only a rechargeable lithium ion battery but a "high-efficiency" solar panel that allows you to trickle-charge the unit while it's outside (so long as there's ample sunlight, of course).
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 four hours of battery life from the system as your iPod or iPhone is charged in the cradle. But that number will rise if you flip up the solar panel, which doubles as a cover for the dock.