Last year Eton-perhaps best known for their hand cranked radios and solar powered GPS devices-issued the Soulra, a solar powered iPod/iPhone speaker dock with a waterproofed case that could provide cord-free tunes just about anywhere the sun was shining. Now, via Cnet, we learn that Eton has decided to super-size the Soulra, which the company calls the Soulra XL.
The new XL model differs from the original Soulra in several ways, but the main motivation for designing this larger version seems to be about sound quality. First, unlike its smaller sibling, the Soulra XL isn’t waterproof. This could due to the fact that waterproofing a speaker system is bound to degrade its sound quality characteristics. Second, the XL version employs the use of a more powerful 22 watt amp, essentially double the power of the Soulra. That 22 watts of power drives 4 speakers (instead of 2) and an additional 4 passive radiators (speakers that produce sound sympathetically to active drivers by way of air pressure variations) all of which should add up to some pretty beefy sound.
The Soulra XL reportedly uses a larger, 72 square inch solar panel to charge its 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery. According to Eton, the device can reach a full charge in about five hours, depending on sunlight intensity. With a full charge, Eton claims the unit can play music for about five hours, depending on the volume. Louder volumes will obviously decrease playback time before more charging would be necessary.
Other notable features of the Soulra XL are rubberized end caps, an anti-glare tinted iPod chamber, a storage slot for the included remote control and a removable gel-cushioned carrying strap. The 7 lb solar music device is priced at $300.00.