Jabra Solemate: Small package, big sound and price

The Bluetooth speaker is small enough to fit in a laptop bag, but can easily fill a room with sound

The Jabra Solemate is a portable Bluetooth speaker that produces great sound with a strong bass, but its $US200 price tag might make buyers hesitant.

Out of the box, the Solemate comes with a full charge and can, according to the company, stream music for up to 10 hours. After four to five hours of music streaming in our tests, the battery level was at medium, in line with the Jabra's claim.

At 6.77 inches by 2.52 inches by 2.75 inches, the Solemate is small enough to fit in a laptop bag or large purse. It weighs 610 grams and has a solid heft to it. It doesn't feel flimsy or cheap.

For its size the speaker produces enough sound to fill a large room. At high volumes the treble sounds a bit tinny, but can be corrected with equalization settings on your phone or tablet. Audio distortion occurred only at the highest volume.

Connecting it to a smartphone or tablet was an easy process and the speaker will auto-connect to either device once Bluetooth is turned on. The speaker gives an audible alert when it's connected. It will also announce how much battery is left when the call button on top is pressed.

The bottom of the speaker is made to look like the sole of a shoe with textured, gripping rubber. It limits speaker vibration, but the rubber picks up dirt, hair and dust easily. Stowed in the bottom is a 3.5-millimeter audio cable for connecting devices to the speaker as an alternative to Bluetooth. There's a 3.5-mm audio jack on the side of the unit.

Underneath the audio jack is a micro-USB port for power. The device can be charged using the included wall charger, which would take about two-and-a-half hours, or by a PC with the included cable. Once plugged into a computer via USB the Solemate can be used as an external speaker and microphone. After a quick tweak in the OS the speaker worked without a problem.

The Solemate can also be used as a speakerphone. One of the buttons on the top of the unit lets users answer, hang up and redial phone calls, while the other two buttons control the volume. The audio quality was good and callers on the other end of the line reported that the audio sounded similar to being on regular speakerphone.

In addition to the wall outlet and USB cable, the Solemate comes with a small pouch designed to protect the speaker from light water and dirt.

The Jabra Solemate is on sale now at Best Buy stores and online at Amazon.com. It costs $199 and comes in white or black.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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Nick Barber

IDG News Service
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