Customer Reviews: Etón Soulra Solar Powered Sound System for iPod and iPhone (Black)
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VINE VOICEon June 17, 2010
The first word that comes to mind as I write this review is "finally"! Finally someone has made a nice rugged boom box for the iPod that can be used inside or out! The moment you take it out of the package you can tell that this is a solid, well made piece of gear. But just as important, the sound is great. If you're not satisfied with the sound you may want to try adjusting the setting on the iPod itself to improve the bass or treble setting to your preference. There's no way to adjust the treble setting on the Soulra itself, it only has bass boost. But adjusting on the iPod works just fine.

A nice undocumented surprise was to learn that you're not limited to only playing the music that's loaded on your iPhone or iPod Touch. If you use an IPhone or iPod Touch with a 3G or 802.11 connection you can stream audio from the internet through the iPhone or iPod through the Soulra speakers. It takes a little trickery to get it to work, but it works just fine.

Step one - pause music playback. If you have streaming playing before you snap it into the Soulra it will play the stream for a second or two and then switch to iPod content.
Step two - press pause to stop the music.
Step three - press play on the iPhone or iPod Touch screen and voila, the internet stream plays through the Soulra. I've tried Pandora, the NPR application, Rhapsody, and This American Life and they all worked flawlessly.

I"ve not tested the solar panel or the "splashability" yet, but I'm certain these features won't disappoint. I can't wait to take this out on the boat!
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on September 14, 2010
Our family bought this product mainly for trips to the beach and spending time outdoors. It proved fairly quickly to be a great decision as we used it on our most recent trip this Summer. We made ourselves some extensive playlists on our iPod/iPhones and were able to simply press play and let it go. I do have a couple of observations (both good and maybe a little less than good)...

1. Our unit (once charged) actually performed better than advertised as it lasted for more than 8 hours at 3/4 volume with the Bass Boost on over the course of 3 or 4 days. I must also add that these WERE sunny days and the solar panel was exposed, allowing it to charge while playing during the daylight hours. It was able to play most of the days and into each night, never showing any signs of slowing down.
2. Sound Quality is good. NOTE: If your looking for exceptionally high-end audio quality this may not be for you. I will say that personally, I DO have a certain level of expectation with regard to the audio performance of these type of products (Especially for the $200 price tag). Let me say that I was not disappointed. While it may not blow away an uber-audio enthusiast-type, it was more than adequate for its intended purposes and plays at reasonably high volumes and will decent sound quality.
3. The construction of the unit is great. Its definitely built to last with a tough exterior shell which appears to be able to take some abuse. It's got a little weight to it too.
4. Unit comes with an Auxillary input on the back for additional device connection. Very convenient.
5. I also found that the unit does not always have to be in direct sunlight to maintain its charging status. Again, the sun was out for most of our trip but if the unit is kept JUST out the direct sunlight, it was still able to charge and more importantly, keep it out of the heat. (see my comment #6)
6. In the not so Good/Could be Better category - And is my only real complaint... When the unit sits in the sun, it tends to get extremely hot, preventing you for handling it. Also, it retain this heat for some time. This is not a deal breaker however it is something to consider as this not only will it affect handling the unit, you have to question whether it could potentially damage your electronic devices that are you are connecting to it. GRANTED, I was in 95+ degree heat which may not be recommended for the unit anyway... I would only suggest that future versions of this unit be available in lighter, more reflective colors/materials to help minimize this issue.

Otherwise, a solid product that performs as advertised (thus far-owned for about 3 months) and something that I would certainly recommend to others.
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on August 23, 2010
Here is what I don't understand. The unit is solar powered yet it takes 10 hours to recharge only giving you 4 hours of power. Wouldn't this make more sense if the unit could recharge in the same amount of time that it gives in playing time? Giving you the option of continuous play while charging. Currently after 4 hours you are left with a sound system that has ran out of power.

I had mine for a total of 18 days which gave me plenty of time to really test it out. It just did not do it for me. Here is what I found.


* Very nice looking and durable. Smooth black finish all around
* Splash proof with cover that protects your iPod
* Light weight with an easy to carry handle
* Remote control although the distance was only about 2-3 feet for me


* I felt the sound was very one dimensional and did not provide a nice wide angle or much of a stereo separation. For $199.99 this should sound much better than what it does currently.
* I got about 3 1/2 hours of play time on a full charge via AC, about 1/2 hour shy of what is claimed
* If this provided 4 hours of power it would be much better if it recharged in the same amount of time for continuous playback using solar. It needs 10 hours in direct sunlight to charge again
* Lack of low end. But to be honest I was not expecting much. It does have a bass boost but will distort and higher volumes.
* iPod gets hot and will not function if too hot. Now obviously you should not have any electronics in direct sunlight or things like this may happen. But this is designed to be in direct sunlight and is based on using an iPod. What good is it if you have the chance of your iPod overheating?

We had a party in the park for about 2 1/2 hours. It did last the entire time but I really had to turn it up a bit to hear it well with all the people there. About 3/4 high. They claim about 4 hours of use when the volume is half way.

I am returning the Etón Soulra for a Soundmatters foxLv2 Bluetooth Pocket-sized Audiophile Loudspeaker System with Bluetooth and Hands-free Microphones (Black). This was actually my first pick as I have never heard anything on the market that sounds this good. The Etón is simply not for me but I am happy I had a chance to check it out.
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on July 12, 2012
This Boom box is absolutely amazing. I live in southern CA so the sun is never an issue. Sometimes your phone can overheat in the cradle but this is not a design flaw in my opinion as it is so hot here your phone will overheat no matter where it is outside your pocket. That being said I love this product so much I never write reviews on anything but felt compelled to after mine went bad (probably from abuse;) and I contacted the fine people at Eton Corp. and inquired as to wether I could pay to have it repaired and was told that it might be under warranty. I informed them that I had purchased the item well outside the normal 1 year manufacturer's warranty and was surprised to hear them tell me they have discretion to repair and warranty anything they want and they sent me a shipping label to return my Soulra. Within one week I was sent a brand new Soulra. I would recommend this product and anything made my Eton Corp. to anyone. I take mine everywhere and it's always a hit when it's time to party and there are no outlets around but plenty of sun. Fantastic product and and amazingly accommodating company.
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on March 2, 2011
I waited awhile before I purchased a speaker dock for my iphone because I was looking for certain things and all the others fell short or were overpriced. I live off grid and am currently building a little studio. I like to listen to music and podcasts when I'm building and since there is a some cement dust and other debris floating around, as well as some water being splashed here and there, I needed something rugged that would also protect my iPhone. This unit is well built and is like armor for my iphone when shut. When opened, the plastic insert covers the iphone while protecting it, allowing me to see the screen of the iPhone. I can keep the remote in my pocket and skip tracks from across the room while streaming Pandora or pause a podcast, etc.

The sound is very good and gives a lot of volume for its size.

The solar panel is a nice extra feature, and probably solidified this purchase for me. It is good for charging up the unit's battery, but it does take awhile. If camping or off grid, it also doubles as a solar iPod/iPhone charger. It is best to charge the unit separately and then use the charged unit later to charge your device. The testimonials about the iphone overheating when placed in direct sun are true and so I typically don't charge the unit with the iphone in it, but rather use the flap to shade my iphone from the sun. This could easily be remedied if the manufactures were to flip the panel around so that the solar panel is facing outwards. This way, the panel acts as shade for the iphone while it is facing the sun and if placed in a window, would still allow the listener to see the screen of the device. If the panel was reversed and a DC charger was offered, I would give this 5 stars.

All in all, a great system. Rugged. Excellent quality. Get it.
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on June 25, 2010
We took the Soulra to the beach and I loved the idea of not worrying about battery life! It's so nice to finally see an ipod player out on the market that is solar powered. As a mother on the go, having a place to charge my ipod and play it makes my life so much easier!
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on September 28, 2012
This is just and okay and average type of docking station due to it's portability and rechargeable battery,Got mine real cheap at clearance sale for $25 at future shop and bought the 2nd unit here in amazon for like $60,paid 3 times more here,but can't complain compared to $150 or more. I wanted portability and not to worry about electricity. I own 2 units so far.I haven't tried charging the unit in sunlight as it claims to be ,big deal,you'll need a real sunlight to have it fully charged and probably expose it for 7-8 hours before it can fully charge and function at par with electricity,that's how solar things work.If there was a built in Am/Fm in it I would have given 10 stars,but Unfortunately no Am/FM radio.But Has remote Control.Big Deal.This just a 3 star product.

Another Flaw I noticed and experienced with it ,that it claims to play all the ipods classic to Nano's as the Package states.It's not true.That's a lie .It does not play My 5th Generation Ipod Classic 30GB Video.No detection and also it doesn't play Ipod 3rd Generation Nano,no detection ,but Plays 4th genaration Ipod Nano and 2nd/3rd generation Ipod Touches,that I tested with.It does not support some older versions of ipod's, the firmware does not detect play mode ,though it can charge the unit but no audio comes out the Soulra .I don't know why.

Tech support recommended me to disconnect the battery and power supply from the unit for 1/2 hour to reset the system,to see if this would remedy the issue of playing the 3rd & 5th generation devices (Older Devices) that I have ,tried that out also ,no Luck. Tech Suggested Updates on itunes for the firmware for the Ipods ,but no updates available on itunes ,it states that the device is up to date. Unit will not Play IPHONE 5,due to it's charging system changed.Has anyone tried Iphone 4/4S ? I did not try that also.

For people claiming to have exposed their ipod touches to sunlight and claim the ipods became hot and non responsive,I wouldn't expose my ipod etc to direct sunlight ,expose the Solar element only ,cover your ipod touches with some kind of foam or something,modify the white Plastic cover. I leave my ipod touch in the unit playing overnight listening to app wifi radio from the unit all night long without the ipod touch getting hot etc,never had my ipod touch quit on me or get hot in the unit.

Spare battries for the unit are cheap ,order direct fron Eton for $6 a piece.I ordered 2 for $17 including shipping.Instead of relying on the sunlight to charge.You will need at least 6-7 hours to charge a fully depleted battery ,who knows if the solar panel is working or not or just a gimmick. Remember it's made in China .I don't get a lot of sun where I live so I cannot speak for that.

Overall conclusion-
This unit is not supportive of all the apple ipods as it claims to be ,do not spend more than $50 bucks on it,It's not worth it ,the only reason I bought it, was for it's portability to listen to app radio from my Ipod touch etc.To rate this product on a 1-10 scale ,It's only scores 5 points.The construction I noticed is very durable ,like it will absorb some rough outdoor handling.That's the good part.8-9 points on that.

I only own 2 ipod touches 2nd and 3rd generation and tested other ipods with it as well, and based on my experience some older ipods are not supported by it's firmware,that's very dissapointing. I recently bought a bluetooth adapter for ipod dock hoping it will work in this unit and transform it into a wireless player,and when connected to it ,it would not even recognize the adapter connected to it though there is power supply with all red and blue lights on,meaning the adapter is functioning as it suppose to in the Soulra,but no audio comes out from this Soulra unit, compared to my other older docks I own,they were able to recognize the adapter right away and play music via my ipod touch in ipod mode through the adapter without any issues.
That's another blow to this unit.That's why my Soulra Eton only scores 3 points out of 5.
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on June 11, 2012
I have owned this for almost 2 years and I have noticed the following:
* it doesn't charge via solar power
* the sound quality is ok, but not great
* the system is very unstable and can turn on and off at will

I would not purchase another product from Eton in the future.
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on August 6, 2012
So far i am very pleased with this sound system.

The sound quality is good. I don't know what some people are expecting for something this size, but if you ask me you cant beat it for being that small and battery powered.

I haven't actually recorded any run-times with this unit but it defiantly seems to run longer when its in the sun and it also charges your device while your playing music which is a plus.

I have gotten the device wet and it hasn't effect it at all just like the manufacture claims.

The only negative thing i have to say about this is that the remote doesn't have much range and for me is pretty useless (not that i would use it anyways)

I would defiantly recommend this unit to anyone looking for something portable especially if your going to be outside, you cant beat amazons price.
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on August 13, 2014
Been since I bought it. Take it camping were there is no electricity, but a lot of sun. I would buy an adapter for the iPod/phone to plug it in the back because it can get hot in the case. They also sell a blue tooth version that's a little more money.
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