Jabra has been in the market for quite some time now with their headphones and various speaker systems. Their latest offering is in the form of the Solemate Mini, a miniaturized version of the original Solemate we looked at last year. But does this reduced size result in a less powerful speaker?
What carries forward from the original Solemate is the quirk design. With sharp ridges on the bottom aimed to prevent audio distortion, the Solemate really does look like a tiny shoe. The Solemate Mini comes in a variety of bright colors, and is constructed from a durable rubber-like plastic, with metal grilles cleverly hiding the speakers. Jabra have said that the Solemate Mini is dust and water resistant, which is great if you’re going to be always taking it on the go. It’s a bit bulky to be truly portable, unlike the svelte Jabra Mini Jambox we looked at recently.
On the top of the device you have buttons for controlling the volume as well as a button to control the device’s audio prompts and also to initiate Bluetooth pairing. On one side of the device is the On/Off switch, as well as a microUSB port for charging. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack to connect older devices that don’t have Bluetooth, and you can do this via the handy cable that’s tucked neatly away under the device. The newest addition to the Solemate Mini is NFC, which makes pairing smartphones and tablets an absolute snap.
Getting the Solemate Mini up and running is simply a question of turning it on and pairing via Bluetooth or tapping your NFC-enabled device on the side. If paired with your smartphone, the Solemate Mini also acts as a handsfree speaker, but just keep in mind that it will play back all audio from your phone, including notification sounds.
The Solemate Mini may be small, but it’s quite capable of belting out some impressively loud tracks. Unfortunately, this loud demeanor results in some audio jarring at louder volume levels. Even with the Solemate Mini’s specially designed ridges, there is some noticeable distortion in audio that’s played at max volume. Granted that the speaker’s size means that audio will be compromised somewhat, but it’s a bit hard to ignore here. Battery life is decent, with the Solemate Mini’s voice prompts letting you know when it needs a recharge.
You could certainly appreciate the Solemate Mini for its quirky design and funky colors. You could even enjoy the overly suave 1980-disco announcer that croons out when you start pairing the device. But when it boils down to audio, the Solemate Mini doesn’t impress as much as the other speakers Jabra has put out. Yes it may be portable and have NFC, but it’s not the best speaker your money can buy.