Motorola is teaming up with fashion-forward headphone purveyor Sol Republic on a co-branded Bluetooth speaker. The Deck is weird looking little thing, but it's got a few features that make it stand out from the otherwise saturated cheap wireless speaker market.
Unlike most $200 Bluetooth speakers, this isn't a little box with front-facing drivers. Instead, the drivers point up, which means you can circulate around the Deck and hear the music the same everywhere. Smart, if more than one person is going to listen to it, which is likely if you haul it it to the park with you. (It also lies flat so you can stick it in your back pocket.)
And Sol Republic really wants you to use the Deck with lots of people. It's flashiest feature is called "heist mode," which allows up to five people to connect so you can take turns playing songs. The other neat touch is that the Deck has different modes for indoor and outdoor playback. Indoors, it pushes out more bass, and outdoors, it diverts power from those low frequencies for a louder overall sound.
What else? The Deck pairs to Bluetooth via NFC. It's also got a passive bass radiator port that helps the dinky-sized thing pump with a more convincing thud.
Sol Republic makes some of our favourite headphones on the more inexpensive side of the spectrum, so we expected big things from its first crack at a new type of product. We've spent some time with it, and so far, we can say that it sounds about as good as a quality $200 Bluetooth speaker. We're definitely intrigued to see if we end up using heist mode or whether the heist is all hype.