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161 of 176 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Eton rukus is a well made boombox with the key feature of having a solar panel to charge the battery. Unfortunately, it seems most of the product cost is going to the battery and solar panel rather than the speakers themselves.

The sound from this unit is ok, but not great. You'll get sound similar to lower priced systems, but you do get the added benefit of a long lasting battery and the solar charger. The speakers are two small full range drivers. They are not ported at all, and their positioning makes the sound come out in a pretty directional nature.

The volume can be controlled on the unit or by your device. Cranking it all the way up, it's not all that loud for filling a noisy room or playing to a crowd outside. That said, the distortion isn't all that bad, either. What it lacks in sound, it makes up for in portability. The handle and design of the unit is very good quality. It feels sturdy.

I like that the elastic band to hold your music player is recessed and protected, although the down side to this is that it's on the underside of the Rukus, and you can't see it unless you take it back out. Therefore, you pretty much have to be resigned to set a playlist then walk away. Since it's bluetooth, there's no way to skip/reverse/pause from the unit. The only sound customization is a "bass" button, which adds a little, but unfortunately there's no indicator on the screen to let you know if it's on or off.

The e-ink screen is good, no complaints and when it changes, it doesn't flash completely black like some ereaders. It simply updates. Unfortunately it only displays battery level and the input (USB, Line in, or Bluetooth). It does not indicate volume or if the bass boost is turned on. I really would have liked those to be displayed.

In all, if you want something portable and solar powered, this would be an ok choice, just realize you're spending some of your money on those features vs. sound quality.

[Update]
Just wanted to update this review with a few more observations. The Rukus doesn't really charge via the solar panel while indoors. If it does, it's not strong enough for the charge indicator to come on. It will charge outdoors, even in fairly overcast skies.

Another good use for the Rukus is that it can charge any device via the USB port. To do this, you have to have the unit turned on, then you have to press the USB button. It will still play via bluetooth, but just plugging something into the USB port doesn't automatically start charging it. This makes sense in that you might not want to drain the Rukus' battery every time something gets plugged into the USB port. This also makes the Rukus a choice for disaster preparedness, travel (like mission trips or when you're not sure when you'll have power available), etc.

Lastly, I'm still not overly impressed with the sound. It's ok, but not on par with other docks. I believe that the size of the speakers and volume limitations are probably a design choice that helps conserve battery life. Driving bigger speakers louder would certainly take more power thus reducing the length of time you can play on battery power. I do like how it can be laid flat or be stood on end. By standing on end indoors, it helps disperse the sound as it hits the ceiling.

[Update #2]
I used this as an iPhone charger at a baseball game. My phone was about 50-75% depleted and the Rukus had about 3/4 of its battery left. I was using a baseball scoring app that drains the battery pretty quickly. It was bright and sunny and the Rukus was in direct sunlight. I was just able to get a 100% charge before the Rukus' battery was completely drained. Once drained, it shuts off. I guess the point is that if your iPhone needs charging and you plan to have it on using apps, it will drain the Rukus faster than the solar panel will charge it. I thought this might be useful info for some people.

[Update 7/2012]
In my quest to be green I placed the Rukus outside to charge the battery, then forgot about it. It rained. Now water is clearly inside the unit as the solar panel is fogged up. I'm trying to let it dry out before powering back on. Lesson learned: it's not water resistant. Not sure if I will let it dry out on its own or try to open it up to dry out.

Also, the plexiglas panel covering the solar panel is easily scratched. I took it to a baseball game (very dusty) and was placing a cooler and my drink on it since it provided a nice flat surface. Now there's a bunch of fine scratches on it. Doesn't seem to affect anything other than aesthetics, though.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
Color Name: WhiteVerified Purchase
Finally, a product that has what I'm looking for!!! This just arrived yesterday and I love it. Turned it on, paired with my phone in about 10 seconds, and started playing music right away!

Pros
1) The solar panel is pretty big and seems to work well for charging small devices. Gonna see how quickly it charges my iPad...a slightly bigger draw.
2) I love that it has a USB port and not an iPod specific port like some iPod docks, so you can charge any low power USB device from it.
3) You can turn charging on and off while a device is connected (so it won't charge if you don't want it to; and you can use the Bluetooth connected device while another device is plugged in and charging.
4) It's pretty small, lightweight, and easy to carry (even though it comes in a box way too big for it's size).
5) Some reviewers have said the speakers were weak. I haven't played it outside but in my house it was pretty darn loud and the base was decent. I will update when I come back from a beach trip next week.
6) The Bluetooth range is about 40 feet or so line-of-sight, a little less with walls in the way, so you can keep your "player" in your pocket and use it as a remote.

Cons
1) The one thing I'd love for this to have is a water-resistant and dust-resistant design like the Eton Soulra.
2) The design of the iPod compartment leaves a little to be desired; it is only a black elastic strap, not very secure especially for small iPods.
3) Not sure how scratch resistant the solar panel is, I'm leaving the protective cover on for now. I might decide to put an iPad screen protector on it, trimmed to size.
4) It doesn't have an AM/FM tuner. I'm really tired of companies not making products with tuners...the circuitry is so simple now...just put it in. That goes for Apple's products as well. I'm not going to "stream" everything over my data connections when the AM/FM airwaves are all around me.

********* I will update with any new findings after my next 2 weeks of use. ***********

Update 8/30/2012
The sound is not LOUD, but it is definitely loud enough for it's purpose, which is a decent set of speakers that you can play in your vicinity and never run out of power (ahem...during the day). It was certainly loud enough for what I had it for, which was to play some tunes while sailing down the Chesapeake Bay and lounging on the beach. You will not be able to throw a party with just this little guy...but for two 2-inch speakers...it worked just fine.

*********

Update 9/17/2012
I've discovered a few quirks that are worth sharing.
1) It seems that you cannot turn off the Bluetooth. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong, but it's constantly on when the unit is on. Update: I did figure out how to turn the Bluetooth off...it was just confusing me for a bit.

2) The charging takes quite a long time. It has a fairly large battery so you can fully charge your phone and play for a few hours, but the solar panel takes a good bit of time to charge this battery back up. This is compounded by a quirk in the software that causes intermittent charging. When you place the unit in the sunlight, it doesn't automatically start charging; you have to push the power button to turn it on for it to start charging. This is a problem because if you're just charging it and not using it, you want to turn it off so that the system is not on draining your battery. When you push the power button again, it does indeed turn off and continue to charge UNTIL the sun fades for longer than about 1/2 a second, after which it does not continue charging. So, if a cloud rolls by or you cast your shadow over it by walking in front of it, it will stop charging and not come back on and you won't know it. You have to cycle the power button to get it to start charging again. This is a disappointing design to me; you would think that anytime it has light, it would attempt to capture that automatically by charging, but this is not what happens. This means unless you place the unit in direct cloudless sunlight, you have to nurse it the whole time.

3) USB connection - This is a more minor one for me, but you cannot hook your device up to the unit with USB in order to play music. The USB is a CHARGE ONLY port, it does not do data transfer. This also means that either Bluetooth or analog stereo-mini jack is the only way to play audio.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 26, 2012
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eton is known for their emergency radios and the like. This isn't one. There is no radio on board so if your "device" quits you have a solar powered paperweight.

This is a great little unit for beach, poolside, tailgating, camping and all your bush parties. Probably not for hiking because it weighs close to five pounds, too heavy for a backpack. The sound is good with bass boost. There is a 50 to 70 foot range from your iphone. Don't know why this would be important but it's true. I think I would be more comfortable with some sort of protective cover over the solar panel when it's not being used but maybe it's tougher than I would expect.

I guess everyone is expected to be tech-savvy these days but the instructions are very sparse. There is a pamphlet which tells you how to charge the unit and that's about it. The online manual has about eight pages in english. The picture, naming the parts, is labeled wrong. Of course the 4G iphone is simple. Hold the bluetooth button on the unit for three seconds until you hear the beep. Tap "rukus" on the phone. If it asks for a password put in 1234. That's it, but not much info on connecting anything else. There is a USB port to charge you phone if needed and a little pocket on the back to store your phone securely.

There's a code number for three months free access to MOG music downloads ($30 value) but be sure to keep track of your registering date. You will be signed up and charged for a membership if you don't cancel in time. One of those deals.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I spend allot of time on my deck when it is warm out and have been struggling to find an elegant solution to listening to music downloaded to my phone when I am out there. Enter the Eton Rukus Solar Bluetooth Sound System. This device has thus far fit my needs perfectly.

(1) I charged it once a few days ago...since that time, my battery has continued to stay full. The built in Solar Panel keeps it charged continuously throughout the day.

(2) It was a breeze to connect to my Android phone. Once I paired the device through my Wireless Manager, it now automatically streams to the player if the Rukus is on and within range. No user intervention on my part.

(3) Sound Quality is just fine. It is certainly not high fidelity, but should meet the needs of 99% of all people.

(4) Not clunky, ultra portable.

(5) Stylish and slick looking in an old school way! My neighbors saw mine, and they liked it enough that they also ended up purchasing one.

(6) Its just reliable. Works when you want it to work. I can't recommend enough.

(7) Left it outside overnight and it rained! The Rukus is no worse for wear and playing just fine afterwards. Very durable it seems!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 26, 2012
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the warmer weather here, it's nice to have a boom box you can use anywhere outside without access to electricity. I'm sure this isn't the first solar-powered sound system, but it's the first one I have tried, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. It is *not* a radio - be sure you understand that this is only a Bluetooth speaker system for MP3 player on your smartphone or tablet, which must be Bluetooth-enabled itself. Set up is actually simple, but the directions provided don't really tell you much, so if you haven't paired Bluetooth devices before, you may be scratching your head for awhile.

Once it's up and running, it's a nice little system. I like being able to use it while I'm gardening. Because the reception range is 50-something feet, I can still keep my iPhone in my pocket in case I get a call, but wander the yard to do my work. The sound quality is pretty good, and it's not distorted at the highest volume.

It's also nice that this is a lightweight and very portable unit with a long battery life. I think it's a great addition to any outdoor activity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Bought this bad-boy about a month ago. Charged it up with the included DC adapter and then set it on my back porch, solar panel up, for hosting a BBQ. Though the speakers are definitely directional in nature, the unit easily stands on its end on its own (think "setting down lunchpail style"), which can be used to create a more omnidirectional sound. The BBQ started at about 1pm and went until almost 9. Under a beautiful, sunny Colorado summer sky, we had music the entire time.

Neither the Amazon listing nor the retail box say anything about durability against weather. Having read most of the reviews on here before purchasing it, though, I felt confident that it would stand up to weather. The key is that you MUST protect the three ports (DC, USB, 3.5mm audio jack) on the underside of the solar panel. This is easily accomplished by setting the unit in a panel-up position (like on top of the cooler in my canoe -- see photo and notes) and, just for good measure, placing it on a towel or something else to buffer possible splash up. The smartly designed underside keeps those ports a couple inches off the ground when in that position anyway, making protecting those ports much easier.

The REAL test for this unit came during a float trip in Canyonlands National Park a few weeks later. Sure, I was careful to protect the ports from rain and sand. Yet, the unit itself spent not a moment under cover for the entire four days. I was pretty worried when the solar panel (and even the e-ink display) seemed to fill with water thanks to an unusually long desert rain. Fortunately, there must be some internal layer of weather protection for the panels, as I both used it and charged it while there was still water in the case and eventually it dried out on its own in the sun. Oh, and I was able to use the USB port to charge my iPod when I completely drained that battery by leaving it on overnight.

I'm sorry, but some of the negative reviews on here are ridiculous. Is this thing going to sound as good as your buddy's Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound Home Theater System? Of course not. Does it slice bread? Nope. And, yeah, I'd like to have seen them integrate something into the underside to cover the ports a little better; still, that's the worst thing I can say about it.

Bottom line: If you want the best portable iPod dock that I -- and all of my friends on the float trip -- have ever seen, buy this and a short male-male 3.5mm audio cord and find yourself rocking out wherever and whenever the sun shines. Of course, then there's the Bluetooth capability, which I'm using to send audio to it right now as I sit on my front porch and write this review...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
Color Name: Black
I got this speaker as a gift and am truly enjoying it. You can enjoy great sound quality listening to your favorite music or watching your favorite movie on bluetooth enabled smartphone, tablet or PC on the go. This portable boom box with nicely done handle is perfect for camping, boating or fishing trips and is small and light enough to take with you to those unknown get away cottages. If you are like me listening to music all the time you can save energy by using its solar power system at the comfort of your living room. We were in Tahoe this last weekend and I took Rukus solar with me which became our best gig as the sound system was not working at the cottage. The solar panel is amazing and the speakers worked hours without power and we enjoyed listening to music by the. The display is the size of ipad so you can put your ipad on top of it and watch your favorite movie on the go through this unique surround system and it looks pretty cool too. There is pocket in the back that holds the smart phone while walking with the speaker. Eton always thinks about emergency and is famous for emergency crank radio. This speaker also has USB port that you can use to charge your cell phone. If you are camping in an area with poor reception that usually drains your cell phone battery. You can count on this unique solar system to recharge your cell phone! There was a bonus in my package for MOG music down load for three months. You can find your desired artist and down load the music. This is awesome while it lasts!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Some new houses are wired for sound. We have an old Victorian that decidedly is not. We're happy to have electricity in most of the rooms. And since adding even bell cord for speakers requires us to drill through two feet of granite in some cases, that's not happening either. Add one more fact - turn on the stereo in one room and you won't hear it through the plaster and granite in any other room no matter how loud. So the problem: how do we get music on the sunporch, on the patio, or in rooms without easy access to power? Eton has brought us a fancy sound system that has the rectangular dimension roughly equivalent to an iPad but is many times thicker. The unit is designed to either stand up with a built-in carrying handle or to lie down with its large solar panel facing the sky. The printed lettering suggests that the latter approach was felt by the designers to be more frequently utilized.

Eton has done a real nice job sourcing all the components here. Fit and finish is excellent and the unit has a hefty well-built feel. It's not light - and that's a good thing in what ultimately is a speaker system as it makes it easier to have good bass. Set-up is straightforward. Push the bluetooth button for a few seconds so that it can be paired with your computer, iPhone, or iPad, then press play and you get wonderful sound. Don't forget that this is essentially a $150 unit - you won't get the audio equivalent of Martin-Logans - but you definitely get sound that's a few levels better than your typical pair of computer speakers. And you get it without need of electricity. The unit's large solar panel provides plenty of charging power and the Li-ion battery provides the torque that you need to drive the speakers to a more-than-adequate volume.

An E-Ink display provides a low-current ability to display the basics (is it charging? is the bluetooth turned on?) and there's a green power ring around the on/off button showing that the unit is turned on. It will auto-off after about 10 minutes without music. There's a USB port on the back and an auxiliary input for a cable running from a standard microjack on your iGadget. One particularly welcome ability if on the road is that the Rukus Solar can charge your iPhone or other device, so there's essentially a solar charger for your iPhone built in to the Rukus Solar.

Eton has provided a small users manual with the unit, but the full owner's manual is obtained online - that's green as less paper is used, but the company clearly wants you to visit their website. In any case, it was easy to find the manual and downloading took just a moment.

Included with the device is three months of access to MOG - I haven't tried that yet but it looks interesting.

Overall, I like the Rukus Solar. I like the idea of running everything with solar power. I like the ability to play music anywhere with reasonable fidelity and without needing any wiring. I like the bluetooth capabilities. And I like the overall design, which is essentially a 1970s boombox taken to the future and miniaturized. By the way, if you look up at the product specifications, you'll see that the unit weighs 3.5 ounces. It's not THAT light. It actually weighs about 3.5 POUNDS. And the shipping weight is about a pound more. Also note that if you happen to run into a dark night or you're in the basement with the unit all day, there's an included AC cord which can be used instead of the solar panel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
After reading a bunch of the reviews about it not being loud enough I was skeptical but purchased it anyway. I'm really impressed. Sure it may not play to a sold out stadium but if you need it for tailgating, a picnic, or pool party this will be more than enough. It's built extremely well and is really easy to use. I lead boot camp style workouts at a local park and this supplies ample sound.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
Color Name: White
The player is well designed, and holds a good charge when in the sun. However, when using outside as intended, the speakers are not loud enough to be heard unless in a very quiet place or sitting right next to the player. It is great for indoor use, but that omits the need for solar panels. If the speakers were as loud as most players I would rate this player 5-stars. My buddy bought a $10 AA battery iPod player at Academy Sports and Outdoors that is much louder than this Eton Solar Rukus. I wish I had read a review like this before purchasing...
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
We appreciate your feedback on our product and we will keep that in mind as we develop new products in the future. If you would like to discuss your experience further, please contact us at cservice@etoncorp.com and reference "Amazon Review" in the subject line. Please note we are available to answer emails M-F, 8am-4:30pm PST.

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