Devotec Industries have been kind enough to send me their latest creation to review – namely the Devotec Solar Sound 2, which is a solar-powered speaker that plays music from your computer or phone via Bluetooth.
The quality of sound from the speakers is exceptionally good, despite the relatively small size of the speakers. What’s more, is if you receive a call on your mobile phone whilst using the speakers, you can use the speakers as a handsfree kit too!
What’s comes in the box?
In the box, there are the speakers (measuring 165mm x 58mm 58mm), a retracting male 3.5mm stereo plug to male 3.5mm stereo plug, a retracting mini male USB plug to standard male USB plug, a protective case for the speakers, a mains adapter for the USB cable, plus full instructions.
The instructions I was particularly impressed with, as they’re really detailed and explain how all of the features of the speakers work (rather than letting you guess like some instruction manuals). I was up and running within just a couple of minutes.
The speaker case
The speaker case is a fabric case with a zip for the speakers. There’s also a little pocket on the side for one of the cables. It’s a shame that only one of the retracting cables can fit into the case, it would have been nice if both could fit. The case will protect the speakers from getting scratched. Perhaps something for the future is a molded case that protects the speakers from knocks too.
How I tested the Solar Sound 2
I tested the speakers with both a mobile phone and my laptop to test the audio quality. So if you don’t want to use Bluetooth, then you can just use the 3.5mm extension lead (although you can’t use the handsfree function if using the audio cable). These are the combinations I tried:
- Speakers to iPhone – via Bluetooth
- Speakers to iPhone – via 3.5mm extension lead (in headphone socket)
- Speakers to Mac Powerbook – via Bluetooth (as Headphones)
- Speakers to Mac Powerbook – via Bluetooth (as a Headset)
- Speakers to Mac Powerbook – via 3.5mm extension lead (in headphone socket)
Overall, the quality of the sound is excellent. The speakers don’t sound particularly ‘tinny’, although at higher volumes, you did start to notice a lack of bass. The Bluetooth range is very impressive, and I achieved pretty much 10 metres indoors from one side of the house to the other.
I did notice that when connected to a Mac Powerbook, the sounds was muffled in ‘Headset’ mode, presumably for saving bandwidth for the microphone aspect. However, when connected in ‘Headphone’ mode, the quality sounded identical to what I got when I connected the audio cable. With the iPhone, using Bluetooth and the cable sounded equal in audio quality to me.
I tested the speakers with Spotify, iTunes and internet radio. The quality was excellent with all of them. Essentially, if your phone or laptop chucks out any sound, then the speakers will work!
When receiving a call, the speakers automatically fades out the music, and you hear your ringtone on the speakers. When you answer the call, you can speak into the microphone on the front of the speakers, just as you would with any other handsfree speaker kit. A very useful feature, just in case a call does come in!
Using the Speakers
The speakers themselves are pretty solid and feel really well made. The on/off switch is a latching push button switch, so it’s easy to check if the speaker is switched on or not. On the front panel, the volume up/down and mute/unmute buttons light up when they are touched. Interestingly, the front buttons are capacitive, which means they work just like an iPhone touch screen – using touch rather than pressure.
Holding the volume buttons for more than 2 seconds is meant to skip a track when you use Bluetooth. However, when I tried this, nothing happened. The volume controls work absolutely fine when adjusting volume though. However, this is a feature I’d never use anyway.
When I wasn’t using the speakers, I just left them on a sunlit windowsill to charge up. I’ve not managed to drain the batteries yet, even with several hours usage. The specifications say that the speakers should work for between 5 to 20 hours depending on how you use it. The speaker is designed to be powered from solar power, so the speakers will switch over power source automatically depending on sunlight.
If you want to charge up the speakers relatively quickly, you can charge them using the USB cable and the mains adapter which should take up to 5 hours. You can also charge up the speakers using a computer via the USB port. The logo on the front of the speakers change from a red light to a green light when it’s fully charged.
In summary, the Solar Sound 2 offers a practical solution for wireless music. This gadget is perfect for listening to music on the beach, outside when dining al-fresco, on picnics, or even in the bathroom! The speakers are really simple to use, even when using Bluetooth. I was up and running within a few minutes, with music blasting out of the speakers whist I was sat downstairs, with the music being played upstairs! So it’s easy-to-use, practical, delivers on all counts of it’s specification (apart from the skip track buttons), and constructed to a very high standard.
In my opinion, it’s a top-notch gadget. Well worth buying if you love your music outdoors! Thanks again to Devotec Industries for giving me the opportunity to review the Solar Sound 2.
The Devotec Solar Sound 2 is yours for just £73.98 including delivery if you’re in the UK, just $105.98 including shipping in the US, and €89.98 including shipping anywhere in Europe.