What We Think
Jabra have managed to pack big noise into a small speaker. A fantastically portable device that will let you take your music with you anywhere.
The Jabra Solemate Mini is a new slimmed down version of the hugely successful Jabra Solemate Portable Speaker. The original was known for its big sound balanced with portability, and its little brother, the Mini, definitely lives up to the standard that has been set.
The speaker is pretty small, as you would expect of a speaker with “Mini” in its title. It is 12cm x 5.5cm x 5.5cm (4.7 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches). But the size shouldn’t fool you; it is surprising just how much sound comes out of this little speaker. Although it is small, Jabra have found a way to make sure sound level is not sacrificed. It is quite weighty (295g) for its small size, but not to the point where it is an issue, and is a lot lighter than lot of other portable speakers on the market.
Another good point about the overall design is that the Solemate is surrounded in a thin rubber coating that protects it from all sorts of knocks and bumps, making it resilient enough to just sling it in a bag and go. It is also dust proof and splash-proof, so no matter where you want to blast out the music, the health of the speaker isn’t something you need to excessively worry about. Also, the rubber grip of the sole means the speaker doesn’t slide about, nor does it rattle when the bass gets loud.
In terms of connecting, the Solemate Mini is wireless, and use Bluetooth to connect to all sorts of devices. It works perfectly with both my phone and my tablet. Connecting it is usually as easy as holding a button on the speaker down for four seconds, and it connects automatically. Sometimes though, you may have to go into the Bluetooth settings on your device and manually connect the two. The speaker also works with NFC enabled devices, allowing it to connect simply by bumping the device against the NFC zone on the speaker.
Alternatively, if you want to connect it to a non-Bluetooth device, or don’t want to activate Bluetooth in order to retain battery, the speaker comes with a 21cm (8.2 inch) 3.5mm audio cable that can plug into devices just as a set of headphones would, and play the audio out loud. The wire is securely stored in a groove on the base on the speaker which means it is never not there when you need it.
Not only can the Solemate Mini produce loud music, the sound quality is also incredible. I used it to play the audio when watching YouTube videos or watching films because the quality makes it a pleasure to listen to. At the top volumes however, there is some minimal distortion.
One of the only issues I had with the Solemate Mini was the distance it could get from the connected device before contact was broken. Although the range is adequate for general use, the person in control of the music will have to stay in the same room as the speaker or risk it cutting out.
In order to let you know how much battery there is left, pressing the connection button will activate a phrase such as “Battery Low” in an incredibly American voice. Some people might have a problem with this because it interrupts the music, is very loud, and the voice is a bit annoying. An LED system would be less obtrusive, but it is a very minor issue. The voice prompts can be turned off however by holding down the volume down button when turning the speaker on (and turned back on by holding the up volume button the same way).
The speaker can also be used as an extension of your phone and with its built in mic can take conference calls or work as a loudspeaker. This feature is becoming more and more common in the market of portable speakers, and Jabra have made sure they aren’t going to be left behind.
Battery life is reported to be 8 hours when streaming music, but much longer when on standby. It is charged with a USB cable that is included, but doesn’t include a wall socket USB adapter so it has to be charged with a laptop or tablet if you don’t own an adapter already. To fully charge, it takes about 3 hours.