Review: Ecoxgear SolJam HD Solar Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

With the warm and sunny days of summer on its way, broadcasting your iTunes music library and podcasts outdoors for yourself and others to enjoy while working in the garden or playing at the beach would be really nice. But unless you have a spare generator to power your portable Bluetooth speakers and have it protected against unexpected water events, such a configuration could prove cumbersome and expensive. Ecoxgear has solved this dilemma with its SolJam HD Solar waterproof Bluetooth wireless speaker ($149.99).

The compact SolJam includes two 10W speakers providing adequate left and right stereo separation, and a large passive subwoofer on the bottom of the unit. Placing the SolJam on a flat surface is optimal, since an uneven or cloth surface like a towel or blanket muffles the bass and notably impacts sound quality. What elevates the SolJam above numerous other wireless Bluetooth speakers is its rugged, rubber IP67 waterproof exterior. The other standout feature is the waterproof Bluetooth speaker's eponymous solar panels embedded in the top of the unit. The HD Solar can operate in rain or shine, since it can also be powered predominantly by its embedded rechargeable Lithium battery.

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When combined with bright sunlight overhead, the Bluetooth wireless speaker can literally play music all day long without plugging into the grid for a recharge. And should your iPhone run out of power before the SolJam does, you can recharge your iPhone via the speaker's USB power port. This can be accessed by removing the rubber cap from the back of the speaker. Ecoxgear includes a bold letter reminder that the rubber cap must be securely fastened to keep the unit waterproof, so it's best not to attempt either a speaker or phone recharge in the rain. In addition to the Type A and micro USB speaker and device charge jacks, the SolJam provides a standard 3.5 mm audio input jack for times when Bluetooth is unavailable. The speaker's front grill can be ordered in either black or orange.

Sound quality is acceptable as is the volume. Music doesn't sound as bright as I prefer, and highs and lows tend to get mildly distorted at the loudest setting. Spoken word is least affected at that range, though most music is quite listenable as well. When testing the unit, I listened to a range of podcasts interspersed with a variety of music genres and most sounded quite adequate as long as volume was below the maximum threshold.

Final Verdict

It's certainly not the best wireless Bluetooth speaker I've heard, but given its power saving and weatherized features, the long-lasting waterproof nature of the SolJam well compensates for its slight dip in the sound quality category. I was very pleased with the speaker's audio broadcast longevity and the peace of mind that should I accidentally leave it outside in the rain or spill a water bottle over it, the SolJam will keep working wet or dry.

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.