Speakers

Jabra Solemate Max: Wireless Speaker Review

If you have not heard (pun intended), Jabra is the official sound sponsor for Audi Fashion Festival 2014 (happening on 14-18 May) in Singapore. They are showcasing the limited edition Ink Treasure Revo Wireless headphones which are available for hands-on experience from 16 April to 18 May at ION Orchard Atrium. Check out my review on the Revo Wireless headphones here.

Also available during the event are the Jabra Solemate series. I have previously reviewed the Solemate and on this post, I shall be reviewing the newest upsized Solemate Max.

The Spec

– 2x 3/4″ silk dome tweeters, 2x 3″ mid-woofers, 1x 235x92mm passive radiator
– Frequency response: 120-20,000 Hz
– Weight: 3kg
– Dimension: 302 x 102 x 138mm (LxWxD)
– Dust, shock and splash proof
– Battery up to 14 hours (talk/music)
– Battery charging time: 2.5 hours
– Bluetooth 3.0, AVRCP, headset profile, NFC
– Pair up to 8 devices, with 2 active devices connected at a time
– Supports mobile phone charging via USB cable
– Supports USB audio
– Package contains: speaker, USB cable, 3.5mm audio cable, AC charger, quick start guide

The Design

The Solemate Max follows the same design outlook as the other Solemate series: sturdy metal speaker mesh, a rubberised thick “sole” that lets you place it on any surface without fear of damaging the speaker. The 3.5mm stereo cable tugs snugly underneath for you to use it if you need it. On the side, you will find the power button, the line-in jack, the microUSB port for audio, the standard USB port for charging your smartphone, NFC chip for quick pairing, 2 LED indicators for Bluetooth and battery. A separate DC power plug is located nearby for charging the Solemate Max.

On the top of the speaker, you will find the playback control buttons (play, previous, next) that are not present in other Solemate models, as well as volume controls plus a battery/answer button. You can see from the photo below that the Solemate Max is designed to tilt up at an angle, but it’s not very obvious from afar. Unlike the smaller models, the Solemate Max has a thick rubber handle to handle the unit easily.

The Solemate Max claims to be dustproof and splashproof, and unlike the other Solemate models, does not require a soundbag to get the protection.

The Sound

The Solemate Max sound quality is a lot more impressive than its smaller siblings. It delivers louder volume, sounds clearer with mid-high bias. I was expecting the bass to be a lot more impactful, but it didn’t happen. So on the whole, the Solemate Max will be able to bring the house down with its clear sound, but will not satisfy the bass lovers.

The App

When playing music through the Jabra Sound App, you can activate Dolby Sound Expander which makes the music output sounds a little more optimised. You can also use the Sound App to play YouTube videos to enjoy the enhanced Dolby sound. If your current music player does not have a built-in equalizer, you can also use this app to tweak the audio. It also have functions to manage the Solemate Max settings, like turning off voice prompts, or changing voice prompts gender.

Another interesting feature on the Jabra Sound App is the Social Jukebox, where your peers can determine the songs to play over the speaker by voting the songs. First, you create a Jukebox playlist (with an option to password protect). Then you create the playlist of songs available in your device. Finally, you share the playlist URL, and the recipients will load the playlist via the browser. The mobile-optimised site lets the user view the playlist by artist, album, genre, songs, and most importantly, “like” the song. The home page will display the top favourites to encourage other users to check them out and add to the vote.

I thought the implementation is very effective through the simple act of sharing the Jukebox playlist over an easily-accessible web link. You can potentially allow anyone with the link to vote and influence the sequence of songs to be played.

Solemate to the Max

Solemate Max makes good use of the size to include additional features like playback controls, NFC pairing, USB charging for smartphones. The sound is also improved to cater to the consumers looking for loud and clear sounds, though the subwoofer effect is still lacking for its size. I like the Social Jukebox feature to allow peers to determine the playlist, and its ease of carrying around thanks to the large handle.

About Jabra Solemate Series

Coming in three sizes, these portable speakers from the Jabra Solemate series make it easy for fashionistas to party it up anytime and anywhere. Not only do their Near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth functions make pairing with mobile devices a breeze to do, but these boom boxes can also deliver high quality sound, especially with the Jabra Sound app – which works with the Solemate Max and Solemate. The app enhances your aural experience by adding full Dolby® sound to any music, from playlists to streamed content from YouTube and also allows one to adjust the equalizer to boost bass for dance tunes and treble for live performances. And it gets even better; with a new Social Jukebox feature in the app, party hosts can create playlists and share them with guests through a Facebook events page. Guest can then vote for their favourite songs to be played at the party, and become collaborative DJs for the night!

The Jabra Solemate Max is retailing at $438 and is now available at Apple premium resellers Epicentre, Infinite, iStudio, Nubox; at selected Challenger stores, Gadget World, Tech@Vogue, and all other authorised Jabra resellers.

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