GRDE Solar Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $50 U.S.
The GRDE Solar Bluetooth Speaker has two speakers with remarkable power and refined audio. It can be charged with a standard micro-USB cable and also features a solar collector across the top of the unit that gives the battery an extra boost. When fully charged the speaker will play for a huge maximum of 30 hours before needing to be recharged. When depleted, you can place the unit in a sunny spot and in an hour get enough power to keep listening an hour or two.
All the controls are on the right panel. Unfortunately, all the buttons and the icons identifying what they do are black on black on our evaluation unit, which is a very poor design decision. The top left button is green when charging and red when the battery is running low. Some of the buttons have multiple functions depending on whether they are tapped momentarily or held down for a couple of seconds. Clear instructions are provide in a small manual.
The speaker is compact and is covered with rubber, giving it some protection against damage if you drop it. It’s also waterproof so you can use it in a shower or near a swimming pool. Do not submerge this product. It is a compact 8 inches wide and 2 inches high, roughly equal to a small brick or paver but not nearly as heavy. It also comes with two straps that allow you to fasten it to a bike’s handlebar, but I wouldn’t try that unless I was on a butter-smooth bike path.
GRDE Solar Bluetooth Speaker has several attractive features, especially its powerful audio and long battery life. It pairs very easily with the Bluetooth settings on an iPhone or iPad, and volume can be controlled either with the plus and minus buttons on the speaker itself or using the volume controls on your iOS device.
The quality of the audio is beyond doubt this product’s most noteworthy feature. It is resonant without being sloppy in the bass notes and attractively bright with higher notes. I listened to folk, pop, and classical music with this GRDE speaker and never felt disappointed with the performance.
If your iPhone rings while you’re listening to music, the speaker will automatically interrupt the music. Its built in microphone enables you to answer calls hands free.
As a bonus, the speaker has a modest LED flashlight built into it that’s located below the settings panel. Tap its power button twice to activate, tap again to change to a rapid flashing mode, tap it a third time to activate the slow flashing mode. A fourth tap turn it off.
Under a panel on the back you’ll find a port for the micro-USB charging cable and an AUX port that enables you to connect directly to another music source, such as a tablet or an iPod, with a conventional cable.
The GRDE Solar Bluetooth Speaker is a good value for the price. We recommend it with confidence.
MyMac review rating is 9 out of 10