Jabra is well-known manufacturer of high quality audio equipment like speakers, headphones, hands-free sets and similar products. We have reviewed several Jabra products here on MacReview, and were mainly hands-free sets that works great with any iPhone generation. Even though most of these products are not exclusively made for iOS or OS X products, Apple recommended them in the past because they got perfect technology which gets the most out of iPhone’s technology in terms of call quality, sound reproduction and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.
Since Jabra is well-known for quality products and innovative technology, I was happy to review one of their wireless speakers, which is currently one of the top selling products of this category. Actually, according to their price ranges and audio quality, iOS users are currently choosing Jawbone Jambox (which we also reviewed in the past) and Jabra’s Solemate as two the most interesting wireless speakers of their choice. That’s why I was happy to review Jabra Solemate, so I can check if all that euphoria and popularity is deserved.
Solemate is currently selling at $200, which is $20 more than Jambox. It features Bluetooth connectivity, which appears to be standard for speakers of this price range. I am still hoping to see a quality and affordable speaker which will support Apple’s AirPlay streaming technology, since it brings noticeably better sound at all aspects. But don’t get me wrong since few Bluetooth 3.0 wireless speakers can also produce amazing sound.
The Solemate is available in two color variants: black and white, and it features a bit rounded cubical shape which seems ready for a heavy outdoors use. According to Jabra, this speaker offers a “sound bag”, which protects internals from rain, water, and dust, so it is in fact made to be very durable and resistant to shock as well.
Jabra Solemate offers two ways to connect to any mobile device or a computer. I review all wireless speakers with my iPhone and iMac with the newest OS X version installed, but I believe that connectivity and audio quality will remain the same with all platforms. Since this is a Bluetooth speaker, you will need to hold its multifunction button (on its top side, between plus and minus volume buttons) in order to start pairing. It immediately showed in my iPhone and Mac Bluetooth menus, and connection is instantly achieved. The Solemate can remember up to 8 devices, so every time when I used it with my iPhone and decided to play a track using iTunes on my Mac, the Solemate immediately responded.
Another interesting thing is that you can connect this speaker via USB to OS X, in order to use it a standard speaker. Some ads are showing white Solemate connected via USB to MacBook Air, and this combination looks great because it seems like white Solemate is specially made for Macs. This connection allows you to use Solemate to listen to music while charging it at the same time.
Speaking of its sound quality, you will be very pleasantly surprised. It could be easily compared to Jambox, which received amazing ratings. It can actually play louder than Jambox, while retaining great quality.