on September 13, 2012
I just got my Jabra Solemate today. It easily paired with both my Droid and my MacBook. This thing is loud. I was playing some Submotion Orchestra and then a bit of Black Sun Empire. I streamed Pandora to it from my phone while sitting outside and even felt I had to turn it down a bit at times. The bluetooth range is actually much better than my Belkin A50 home bluetooth receiver.
The size is perfect and the build quality is excellent. It feels solid and substantial and has a nice heft to it. The fit, finish, and build materials evoke a sense of quality. It looks, feels, and performs like a high-end device. In terms of the sound - the bass is very satisfying for a speaker of this size. The audio is rich and the drums really hit.
In terms of the Bluetooth connection, streaming from the Droid produces a much louder response than when streaming from my MacBook - not sure why. Anyways, it's a piece of cake to pair, and the connection is solid, consistent, and without static. Also, there is no 'hum' or hiss, which were complaints noted by reviewers with some of the other devices I looked at.
The three speakers are front mounted, and the sound is therefore quite directional - pointing the off-axis leads to a lot of drop off in sound. It's a minor issue. The price point is about right considering how much bang (or should I say 'boom') you get for the buck.
This also functions as a very nice hands-free unit. While streaming music from my phone, my wife called me. I simply pushed the button on the top and we were instantly connected. The clarity was excellent.
I did a lot of research online, read through a lot of reviews. The Jawbone Big Jambox was high on my list, but $100 more expensive! Bose was completely out of my price range for a device such as this. I also was not interested in paying less for something only to be dissappointed by the sound quality. I looked around at Satechi and Monster HD, but what sold me on the Solemate was the combination of design, features, and price. I am very satisfied with this speaker - and I'm someone who is very finicky about music and sound quality.
I highly recommend this little speaker to anyone looking for a great-sounding portable speaker. The build and sound quality are excellent, and it is worth the money.
I've had my Jambox for just under a year. I've had the SOLEMATE for about a month. Here's how they compare:
SOUND: The Jambox sounds decent if you find the right place to put it. It prefers a horizontal surface that is resonant and a vertical surface that it can reflect off off. The SOLEMATE is similar, but relies less on placement to produce good sound. Overall the SOLEMATE's sound is warmer and it cranks a bit louder. Winner: SOLEMATE.
APPEARANCE: The Jambox's looks beat the SOLEMATE hands down. It's industrial design is at home in the most modern of environments and it sits unobtrusively wherever you place it. The SOLEMATE looks more like a shoe. Winner: Jambox.
CASE: Both the Jambox and the SOLEMATE have rubber on their horizontal surfaces and metal mesh on their vertical surfaces. The SOLEMATE has a "sole" like that of a shoe. The Jambox is smooth. The buttons are essentially the same. The SOLEMATE feels a little more solid and includes a strap to slip your thumb or finger through while carrying it. Winner: SOLEMATE.
VIBRATION: Within the first couple weeks of owning the Jambox, it vibrated off of a shelf and fell on the floor, putting a big dent in the front of the case. Disappointing. The SOLEMATE sits in the same location and doesn't move. Winner: SOLEMATE.
CONNECTION: The Jambox has consistently had problems connecting to the Bluetooth on my iPhone. Once it's connected it works fine. The SOLEMATE connects more easily. The SOLEMATE also comes with a headphone cable to connect to the jack on your phone. This is a great backup. When not in use, the cable stores neatly under the SOLEMATE. Winner: SOLEMATE.
ONLINE: The Jambox has options downloadable options (e.g., startup voices, etc.) that can customize your unit. I haven't found these for SOLEMATE. Winner: Jambox.
Overall, I think both products are great. Before the SOLEMATE came out, I regularly bought Jamboxes for gifts. I think for durability and sound quality, I'd recommend the SOLEMATE (I just wish it looked a little less like a shoe).
on September 17, 2012
The Jabra Solemate is pitched to compete directly against the Jawbone Jambox. I picked up the Jambox first and put it through it's paces. True it had excellent sound quality, but it also had several major flaws: (1) The rubber on it's base is too smooth, so when you play music, the bass vibrates the speaker enough that there is a real possibility that it will vibrate itself right off your table or countertop; (2) the Jambox's Bluetooth implementation is not the best, especially if you're using a Mac. I didn't have major issues with my iPhone and the Jambox, but did have a heck of a lot of problems getting it to work consistently with my Mac.
The Jabra Solemate, however, equals or exceeds the Jambox in the sound quality department plus it addresses the issues I mentioned above, namely: (1) the rubber on the base is grooved (like the sole of your shoe), so there is no worry whatsoever that it will slide itself off the table (trust me, I've tried with it on the highest volume and with the heaviest bass playing, and there's no movement whatsoever); (2) it pairs and then re-connects consistently and easily not only with my iPhone and my kids' iPod touches, but also with my Mac.
Overall, I think this is a much better portable Bluetooth speaker than the Jawbone Jambox and I would highly recommend you at least give this one a shot. The Jambox also allows you to tweak the spoken voices and a few other minor things, but those are all gimmicks in my book.
Hint: saving $100 was only a small part of it. I am willing to pay quite a bit more for significantly superior quality. Throughout my life, I've been burned many times and wasted a lot of buying crap to save money, so I don't any more. I buy quality.
The thing is, sound quality is subjective. I tested the Solemate, Soundlink II, Big Jambox, Jambox, SoundFreaq SoundKick, and even the Jam Jar, plus others. To be quite honest, IMHO the Bose SoundLink II clearly had the best sound when you combine, volume, clarity, bass, etc. The Big Jambox was probably second, and the Solemate is a close third. The original Jambox and the SoundKick were almost as good. The Jam Jar had surprisingly good sound for such a small and cheap speaker, but it was simply not good enough for me. It beats all on portability, but the sound compromise is too much.
So why did I choose the Solemate? It's all about portability. I travel a lot on business and spend around 100 nights a year in hotel rooms. Nothing fancy--single rooms at mid-range Marriott and Hilton brands. I carry a lot of stuff with me including a 15" laptop and a heavy power supply because that's what my employer gives me. I never check a bag, not so much to save money, but so I don't have to wait 30-60 minutes for my checked bag. Yes, it can take an hour at some airports.
The Solemate has nice sound that fills up the hotel room well enough for me. I don't listen really loud because I still want to be able to hear when I'm 70. But I do like everything from Classical to Metal and will push the decibels on occasion. (Though I am careful not to disturb my fellow travelers.) From a portability standpoint, the Solemate beats the SoundLink on both size and weight. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it can be charged via a micro USB, so I can use the same charger I use for my phone and my iPod Classic. I have the latter, and thus use the Solemate's auxiliary input rather than Bluetooth because I want to carry a lot of music with me. The SoundDock requires it's own extra charger because it can't do USB charging. I can't stand having to carry a bag full of chargers. Thus, Solemate is perfect for me. The SoundLink's need of an extra charger was the deal-breaker for me, even though I freely admit that it has better sound. The Solemate's sound is good enough in a little hotel room, and the much better portability was a worthwhile trade-off. Were I looking for something to move from room to room in my house, I'd choose the Bose.
on September 25, 2012
I had the chance to compare it against the Jawbone Jambox (small) and this speaker wins by far, the solemate has better bass, and feels more solid built. Next test was with the Soundfreaq sound kick, i had to get them both and test them side by side. volume output level was almost the same, i must admit the soundkick was better equalized and for 100 usd less was an excellent alternative. What really disappointed me of the soundfreaq was its size, and materials used aren't as good as the ones used in the Jabra Solemate. i decided to keep the Jabra besides the price, because of its portability, size, and excellent sound
on September 6, 2012
I pre-ordered the jabra solemate after reviewing my other options for portable speakers(there are too many). I chose one day shipping at checkout and on the morning of that day i recieved it. I was stoked. I took it out and it feels hardy and is a satisfying weight. The appearance is really nice, simplistic button layout and very self explanitory. I was a little
skeptical of the shoe sole idea, but turns out its so useful and makes it look pretty cool. It keeps it from sliding around on any surface is capable of creating any friction at all. The media cable is tucked very nicely into the sole which is satifying to take out and put back in.
I plugged it into my Ipod and WOW. Incredible sound. Very crisp and clear highs and rich lows. I also mainly connect it to my Ipod so i can change the EQ and change how much Bass i want. This comes in handy because ive noticed on really Bassy vocal songs on higher volumes, there seems to be a little distortion. Which is understandable for the size. But otherwise fantastic sounding.
After i tested the sound quality i tested the bluetooth capability. It matched up with my phone very easily with the aid of voice guided instruction. It worked very well. The only thing i noticed was the volume when connected to bluetooth seemed to be lower than when it is physically connected to a media device. But still enough to fill a room.
I tested the bluetooth phone call ability and it worked great. Was able to have a conference call easily without the person on the other line asking "what?" Every few words. When you do make a call with it, try to face the microphone towards you, which is obvious, but it makes for a more successful call.
As far as battery life goes, lets just say i havent charged it since i got it, and ive been playing it alot. So a very solid battery. Im letting the battery completely drain completely before i plug it in for a charge. If your ever curious of the battery life, simply pressing the center button at any time will give you the status of the battery; Battery full, medium, or low. While also providing a little icon on the side which also provides battery status by switching from a full battery(green) medium(yellow) low(red) which shoild be obvious to anyone who has used a gadget in thebpast 10 years.
As far as durablilty goes, i have yet to drop it, but it is supposedly shock proof and water resistant, hopefully i will never have to test either of those but its nice to know they exist. It also has a Matte finish which is great because any wear and tear it recievesbwill appear minimum to none. If you are really doubting your ability to keep care of it the bag it comes with is pretty cool and doesnt hinder the sound at all. Very solid product.
Price was a little high, but its worth it. Its such a solid product, when you havebitbin your hands and hear what its capable of you wonder why you thought twice.
Overall i am very satisfied with the solemate. Im so satisfied with my purchase and am holding back my excitement a bit for the sake of making a reasonable review. If you are looking for a durable portable speaker capable of providing awesome sound, very easy operation, and the ability to turn a few heads, this is definetly what you are looking for. Thanks for reading.
Ill be providing updates for the next couple weeks.
Because Amazon's product description lists all the Solemate's features, and the Interactive Guide (you will find the Interactive Guide at the top of this page. It is Flash) has all the information you will need to use the Solemate to its full advantage, I won't restate it in my review. Instead, I'll share my experience with you.
The Solemate has a great sound with plenty of bass. The bass isn't overpowering...it's perfect.
You can hear stereo sound if you're close to the Solemate & have the speakers facing you.
It was incredibly easy to pair with my prepaid cell phone, IPod Touch & our Kindle Fire HD. The Bluetooth signal works great. I walked around our average sized, ranch style home, went down to the basement & only lost the signal once in the garage.
I love that it comes with an audio cable that is stored under the speaker (ingenious). I have an old IPod Nano & an IRiver mp3 player that we hook up to the speaker using the included audio cable.
Jabra wasn't stingy with Solemate accessories, it also comes with a USB cable which can be used for audio & data purposes, an AC charger, and a sound bag. The sound bag does a wonderful job of protecting the Solemate from dust & bad weather. Don't leave it out in the rain though, the sound bag isn't waterproof. Audio isn't diminished when using the sound bag.
In some instances we weren't able to get room-jarring volume out of the Solemate. Don't get me wrong, it was plenty loud...just not over-the-top loud.
The Solemate is heavy enough & short enough that it's not going to tip over easily. It's rugged design should be able to withstand some rough handling.
I have a prepaid cell phone with Bluetooth capabilities. So, my phone paired easily with the Solemate, but I'm having trouble using it as a speaker. I'm guessing this is user error since no one else seems to have this problem. I will experiment a few more times & call customer service if I continue to have problems.
Today, when I wanted to use the audio cable, I was told that it broke last night. One of the jacks broke off. I was unplugging the cable & the metal end (jack) stayed in the speaker. Today I sent an email to Jabra explaining the problem. The Solemate comes with a 1 year guarantee so I'm expecting them to replace the audio cable.
I will update my review with my experience with Jabra's customer service.
So far, so good! Great Sound! Great Product!
Jabra responded very quickly to my email. I was asked to fax or email my purchase information to them. So I scanned my receipt and a photo of the broken audio cable. Jabra sent me a replacement along with a note asking me to return the defective part using the prepaid UPS label which was provided by Jabra. Great customer service!
on October 8, 2012
I've have been on the hunt for a portable speaker for my tailgating and poolside enjoyment for a long time. I've actually purchased two other speakers from other brands and they didn't satisfy.
I thought I would take a chance when I saw the Jabra Solemate on Amazon. Boy, I wasn't disappointed. Everything about this product is cool! From the packaging, the look (like a dr marten shoe!), the features etc.
It arrived on Saturday morning as I was heading to Gainesville for the Gators vs LSU football game. I was a little bummed since I don't have a plug in my car that I could use to charge it on the way to the game. I was pretty excited to see it though, so I opened it when I got to the tailgate spot. The packaging is super cool and easy to open. When I got it opened I turned it on just to see and it started talking to me! I touched the top button and a voice said "battery full." Holy cow! Jackpot. What a nice surprise. It then spoke to me with set up instructions. Super easy to set up bluetooth. Sound is really, really good. Device is feels sturdy yet is light weight. There's a plug that is comes with it for a wired connection and is neatly stored by attaching on the bottom of device. I give this product a perfect 10 out of 10! Very well thought out and designed. I was the hit of the tailgate as everyone was coming up to see my Soulmate!! I could of sold a few on the spot for sure..
Congratulations, Jabra, you've found a "soulmate" and satisfied customer in me!!
on April 21, 2014
Everyone loves this Jabra unit and with good reason. Even when users think another unit sounds better, they quickly realize that nothing is as portable as this unit that sounds so good. The one flaw that many reviewers note is that the unit has a voice prompt that you can't kill. Well, you can. It's not in the instructions.
HOW TO ACTIVATE/DE-ACTIVATE the VOICE PROMPT: hold down the MINUS (-) button while you power up the unit. Hold it until you hear 'VOICE PROMPT OFF'. Now convince yourself it is off. Turn the unit off. Turn the unit on. You won't hear the voice anymore -- just beeps. The unit remembers this OFF setting until you turn the prompt back on. To turn the Voice back on: hold down the PLUS (+) button while you power up the unit. The voice prompt setting will stay ON until you de-activate it.
SPEAKERPHONE: the unit will act as a great speakerphone. on an iphone, anyway, you have to select JABRA from the iphone keypad as the device you want to use to talk. Once you do that, the iphone is in a speaker phone mode -- except the caller's voice is on the JABRA.
DIRECT LINK: again - the jabra instructions fail to mention that the bright cord in the base of the unit is actually a straight pin connector for your iPhone, iPod, whatever. Constructed tough and hides in a great way.
JABRA dolby app: ehhh, not ready for prime time.
Fabric Case: it is sound transparent and water resistant.
BATTERY: amazing battery life. your phone will drain 3 times over before this baby does.
This is a nice well-designed speaker, but I am disappointed with the power. I am tempted to give four stars, but for the price, it really doesn't deliver.
The sound has more richness than many tiny ultra-portable speakers. It has clarity without being too tinny. Highs are slightly exaggerated, but not to an annoying level. It only distorts when the volume is at 100%, and even at full volume distortion is minimal. Clarity is ideal one or two button presses below peak volume on my iPhone. It must have some sort of electronic equalizer to mimic bass sounds without actually producing much actual bass. You get a rich sound, but bass drums and bass guitar grooves lose all of their impact. It does a great job of accurately reproducing voices, even in the low mid-range.
It only has enough power to create a moderate amount of sound in a small room. The multitude of glowing reviews here are misleading. This speaker does not fill a room with sound. I would not want it as the only sound system in any bedroom or area where you will listen to music for an extended period of time. At home, it lives in my bathroom where I listen to music or podcasts while I get ready for work, and I occasionally use it in the kitchen.
I have a Soundfreaq SFQ-02RB Sound Step Bluetooth Wireless Speaker (Black) on my desk which blows the Solemate's sound away in every way. It's louder and has a much better range of sound. The Sound Step is not travel friendly, but it does have a built-in battery and Bluetooth so I can use it out on the deck or in another room easily. The Soundfreaq is about the same price as the Solemate. If you need a Bluetooth speaker but don't plan to travel outside of your home with it, the Sound Step or a similar item is a much better choice.
Solemate is best for hotels and travel. It's small and light enough to pack in a suitcase and can be powered/charged using you computer's USB outlet. Even if you travel frequently, I would recommend that you listen to some of the competition first. For $100 more you can get dramatically better bluetooth travel speakers. For $100 less you can get similar speakers without the wireless and built in battery features.
If looking for budget travel speakers, consider the Altec Lansing iM227 Orbit MP3 Speaker for about $25. They don't have the convenience of wireless connection or a built-in lithium battery, but they serve a similar purpose well and the sound is almost as good. Saving $125 is worth having to plug in a cable. The Orbit M also takes up less space in your bag. Solemate is a bit big for packing in a computer bag for presentations. The orbit M takes up less space.
The worst part about this item is really its price. It would be a great item at half of Amazon's price. I got a gold box deal, and still think it is overpriced. If it were fifty to sixty dollars, I would be in love with it. At one hundred fifty, it is a poor value.
Edit after using for several weeks:
I like this more than I did at first, for two reasons. First, I like to portability. I compared it to my Soundfreaq Sound Step earlier. Well, the Sound Step is much less portable and I really only use it when I'm at my desk where it permanently resides. I use this thing all the time. Every morning I use it to stream music and just tote it around the house as I get ready. It lives on the sink while I shave and shower. I carry it into the bedroom where I get dressed and iron my shirt. The portability is great and it is pretty durable.
I love it for travel. It is so small that I barely notice it in my bag. If I need a charge, it's great that it can charge using a normal micro usb cord and I already have a ton of those (same charger as Kindle, most Android phones, most non-Apple MP3 players, etc).
The connectivity is great. It connects to both my phone and my ipad immediately when it is switched on.
I still have the same two major complaints and one minor complaint. Fist major complaint: it is not really powerful enough. If you plan to take it to the lake or the park the volume level may disappoint. It is adequate for a hotel room.
The second complaint is the price. It should be <$100.
My third minor complaint is the voice prompts. They are silly, embarrassing, and unnecessary. It verbally says "solemate is connected" when you switch it on. It also says "battery is low" when it needs juice.
The battery life is adequate but not spectacular. You'll get several hours from it. If you take it on a trip, it will probably not need a charge for a day or two.
I still kind of wish that I had saved my money and put it toward a Bose soundlink, but this is probably even better if you're not considering anything in that price range.