Jabra Solemate Review: This Fresh-Looking Bluetooth Speaker Won't Party

Jabra's new Solemate Bluetooth speaker looks like the fancy sneakers your favourite rappers wear. But does it sound good and -- more importantly -- can it party?

What Is It?

The Solemate is a $US200 Bluetooth speaker with a built-in speakerphone.

Who's it For?

People who care more about how audio gear looks than how it sounds.

Design

It really does look like a sneaker! The included 3.5mm auxiliary could be a a shoelace, and it's got a rugged-looking rubber sole, hence "solemate".

Using It

The Solemate pairs with your phone or computer in under 10 seconds. Carrying the speaker around by the little strap on the speaker's heel is comfortable -- and you'll want to carry it around with you because it's hardly loud enough to really fill a room with sound. Even after lugging it around for a night, the speaker didn't show any wear or tear.

The Best Part

The Solemate is elegant -- like the club that has chandeliers instead of strobes. Also, did we mention it looks like a shoe?

Tragic Flaw

The speaker can't pump up the volume loud enough to really get down. We couldn't even hear it over a small group of people hanging out.

This Is Weird...

When you're waiting for the speaker to pair, it talks to you and plays shrugworthy electronic music.

Test Notes

  • Tested on the the roof of Gizmodo HQ over the course of an evening as we entertained guests.
  • We definitely got more bass out of cheaper Bluetooth speakers.
  • We never used the built-in speakerphone to make calls. Does anybody ever use those?
  • The beat was going; we dropped the speaker hard; the rubber sole fell off as if by design. Symbolic?

Should You Buy It?

Yes, for the eye candy. No, for the funk. Bluetooth audio quality isn't great, so if you're going to spend more than $150 on one, it better bring you some otherworldly satisfaction. We wanted to love it, but it just brought our friends frustration.

Jabra Solemate

• Price: $US200 ("available soon" in Australia) • Colours: black or white