Eton Rukus Solar Review

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The Eton Rukus Solar speaker system is one of the more unusual models we found. It's a solar- and battery-powered speaker that supports Bluetooth connections to MP3 players, phones, tablets, and computers. At Tech Crunch, an Eton Rukus Solar review appreciatively notes the portable system's solid build and says the E-ink display is easy to read in bright daylight. The audio quality is good but not great, according to this Eton Rukus Solar review. The treble sounds a bit sharp and, as with most portable speakers, there isn't much bass to speak of. Furthermore, this isn't an especially loud speaker.

Still, an Eton Rukus Solar review from Sound and Vision magazine reports that the built-in solar panel keeps the system going for hours and hours of playback. The reviewer found it easy to connect a device using Bluetooth and writes admiringly about the clever design. She says the midrange and treble sound clean and natural but agrees the bass is lacking. Nonetheless, she concludes that the Rukus is perfectly decent for outdoor listening. At PC Mag, another expert says the Eton Rukus Solar sounds good, but it's simply not loud enough for his taste. He also reports that connecting additional devices to the system via Bluetooth can sometimes be tricky, as the Rukus Solar will occasionally insist on trying to connect to the first device that was paired with it.

Where to buy

The Eton Rukus Solar (starting at $120, Amazon) can run on the solar panel, a rechargeable internal lithium battery, or a regular AC connection. Users can connect devices without Bluetooth by plugging them into the 3.5 mm audio input jack. Although the speaker doesn't have a dock connector, it includes a USB port for recharging your devices, a nice touch. The E-Ink display is a thoughtful addition to a speaker that's designed to be used outdoors, as it shows up far better in bright light than a typical LCD display. The Rukus Solar is small enough to be easily carried, measuring 12 x 8 x 3.25 inches and weighing 4 pounds.

Most cheap iPod speakers have limited battery life -- five hours before you have to put in a new set of AAs, for example. The built-in solar panel on the Eton Ruckus Solar will keep music playing all day long. It may not be quite loud enough to command everyone's attention at a neighborhood barbecue or beach party, but it's a solid and smartly designed portable speaker.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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