Nowadays, there's thirteen to the dozen of small, battery-powered, wireless speakers with bluetooth. We are, in other words, hard to impressed when yet another manufacturer joyously tells us that they have built one. Jabra SoleMate Mini, which is the subject of this test, does however not disappear in the crowd.
Solemate Mini is protected by a hefty rubber surface in the same bright yellow color as electric utilities. If that is cool or not is a matter of taste. But it at least prevents you from forgetting it. If the yellow is too conspicuous, the speaker comes in black, blue and red rubber. The drivers are hidden behind a metal cover with perforated holes and it can handle outdoor use.
The name Solemate is a pun on "soulmate". But there is no soul that gets the speaker to stand firmly on the ground but a solid rubber sole. The sole is more likely a marketing ploy, but prevents the speaker from sliding, for example, if standing on the dashboard of the car.
There is a built in microphone, so that the speaker can be used for hands-free calls. However, it is not a solution that seems particularly comfortable in any way, but it makes it possible to answer the phone without disconnecting the speaker.
Using it is simple: two buttons for control volume, synchronized with the volume button on the connected mobile phone or tablet device. And a push button with a speech bubble is used to answer the phone or end a call. The same button is used to search for bluetooth devices. Apart from these, there are only a start/stop button and connections for charging (mikroUSB) and a 3.5-millimeter analog audio input.
Other bluetooth devices usually confirm pairing with a sound – for example, a drum roll – but Solemate speaks to the user. When the connection is made, a broad American accent says: “Go ahead and connect me!”, and shortly afterwards exclaims contently: “Solemate is connected!”.
Solemate Mini is equipped with two 1.5-inch full-range drivers on the front and a passive radiator on the back. It is a recipe that resembles many other small bluetooth speakers, such as the Logitech UE Boom. Jabra provides no information about the effect, sound pressure and frequency range. In practice the Solemate Mini delivers a sound pressure level of approximately 82 dB at 1 meter with the volume at maximum and without unreasonable amounts of distortion. It's fancy, but a bit below the UE Boom - that on the other hand cost about twice as much.
The sound is relatively clean and well balanced, and a good sized emphasis on the area around 150 Hz gives a pleasant warmth as it lacks any real bass given the tiny cabinet. If we are to be more critical than what the price tag really justifies, the midrange is a bit 'mumbly' and recessed and the bass tend to sound a bit hollow. Though I guess it's not supposed to sound like real hifi considering the modest price.
Jabra Solemate Mini does not take up much space in your bag, but it will not disappear by itself! For this money, it is one of the best you can buy right now if you want a sound that makes music available when you're on the go.