I first listened to the Jabra Solemate back at CES 2014, and I was impressed with the quick demo. During the Luxury Technology Show in NYC in March 2015, I reconnected with the Jabra PR crew and after a bit of time received my own Solemate to review. Over the last few months I have been testing the Solemate speaker, and overall it is a worthy speaker in this very crowded market.
The first thing you’ll recognize about the Jabra Solemate is its name, a play-on-words of “soul mate”, is that the speaker lives up to this clever moniker. The bottom of the speaker is made of texture rubber that looks exactly like a sneaker sole. Not only is this a cool aesthetic feature, it keeps your speaker from sliding around. Seriously, there is a lot of friction, and that is a good thing, lest you actually want your speaker to slide off your table after bumping into it.
The Solemate comes with a handy finger strap for easy carrying. Connecting to your device is super easy. I used my laptop and iPhone, so I connected via Bluetooth. Just hold the power switch up for about three seconds and the Solemate will automatically connect to any actively searching Bluetooth device. There also is a threaded Aux cable conveniently stored in the bottom of the speaker. The Solemate is futuristic yet minimalist with its design, as there are only three buttons up top – Volume Up, Speakerphone, and Volume Down. That’s all you really need, so props to Jabra for sticking to the essentials.
As always with my Bluetooth speaker reviews, sound is paramount. Thankfully for Jabra, the Solemate’s sound quality is one of the best for its price range (MSRP is $150, but you can find the Solemate on Amazon for ~$100). Built into the Solemate are three speakers (two tweeters and one woofer), plus a passive radiator in the back for low frequencies. I found that the Solemate frequency coverage definitely favors mid-range and low-range frequencies (which is pretty unique for a portable Bluetooth speaker).
This lends for a great listening experience for rock music, as deep guitar riffs sound rich, but some higher frequencies are missing. A great listening example is “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX – the bass booms are fantastic, but the high pitched claps are actually quite muted. Nevertheless, overall the sound quality is quite good.
I was eager to demo the Jabra Sound App and Social Jukebox, but my code didn’t work. (Yeah, you get a code for free activation with your purchase, but otherwise the app is $5!! Come on, Jabra…) Perhaps my code didn’t work because this is a review unit, which I graciously obtained at no cost. Fair enough.
Bluetooth speakers are still the rage, even as another year has passed and CES 2015 is currently ongoing. You can’t do much better than the Jabra Solemate for a cool Benjamin.
Jabra Solemate Portable Bluetooth Speaker – $105.99