It seems that Jabra are on a roll with their speakers – not content with the likes of the Solemate mini and the Solemate, they’ve now released the Solemate Max, a portable yet hefty speaker that’s meant to take the party with you wherever you go. But the question remains – is bigger always better?
Build Quality & Design
The Solemate Max mirrors the same sort of design we’ve grown to love from Jabra – a tough rubberized body with the signature sneaker footprint at the bottom which cleverly hides a handy 3.5mm audio cable. Around the side you have a carrying handle as well as the on/off/Bluetooth button, a mini-USB port for connecting to a PC, as well as a full-sized USB port to charge other devices such as an iPod or smartphone.
Around the front and back of the device you have a light grey speaker grill, which hides four speakers in the front for treble, and one speaker at the back for bass. It’s also slightly tilted to deliver the audio at a better angle. Finally at the top you have controls for music playback as well as a button for a voice prompt that indicates the device’s battery level.
Connectivity & Setup
Setup is a snap once again – just hold down the Bluetooth switch on the Solemate Max to start pairing mode; a voice confirms when the speaker is ready. You can then pair it with almost any Bluetooth device and instantly start streaming your audio to it. Or if you prefer you can untuck the 3.5mm audio cable from the base and connect it to any audio source you like such as a laptop. The Solemate Max also acts as a loudspeaker for phone calls when paired with a smartphone.
The sheer bulk of the Solemate Max means that it’s capable of producing some pretty loud playback. The only thing you need to keep check is the volume of your original source, because the louder you crank the Solemate Max, the more distortion you’ll notice. As an example, when playing music from my laptop I kept the volume at around 85% on my laptop, and I was able to crank the Solemate Max all the way up without any distortion. The Max performed well on a variety of surfaces – from a sturdy desk to a settling on a patch of grass, the Max sounded flawless. My only comment is that you position it properly so that it’s always facing your audience, as only bass can be heard from the back of the device. On a full charge, the Solemate Max can last up to 14 hours – less if you’ve got a device plugged into it to recharge.
The Solemate Max is a portable speaker whose size may not make it the most convenient to carry around, but it still delivers a great listening experience wherever you may take it. If you’re looking for a speaker with some seriously impressive playback (and one you could lift weights with), then the Solemate Max is the one for you.