Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sol Republic DECK Product Review

I used to be a gadget man... way ahead of the curve, when it came to technology. As I got older, I became less impulsive (iPhones every other year) and began to make purchases based on necessity, rather than want & desire. In other words, it takes a special item to catch my attention (yet alone my credit card info.) Sol Republic's DECK Wireless Speaker is such an item. I've played around with my fair share of bluetooth speakers, including the Jawbone JAMBOX (which used to be my favorite) but none of them come remotely close to the DECK.

I'm referring to sound, cool factor (the DECK looks awesome) and portability. I've had it less than three days, and can't keep count of the oohs and aahs from co-workers, family and even the gal at California Tortilla last night: It works really well outdoors too. For starters, it comes with Outdoor Boost, which allows you to literally "pump up the volume" with little to no distortion. Add to that, incredible range, as in the length of a football field... 100 yards. We tested it from almost 250 feet away (in the busy Cleveland Park neighborhood) and were literally blown away by its uninterrupted signal (from an iPhone, no less.)

Another cool feature requires more than two people (think part-ay.) It's called Heist Mode, and allows up to five people the chance to "take control of" the Deck Speaker. We tried it with three (not much of a party, I'm afraid) and it works as advertised. Up to five devices can be paired at once, allowing up to five different dee-jays to play their favorite music. Assuming none of your friends like country music... it can be a lot of fun. Playlists are so last year.

The Deck is easy to carry (it's a little bigger than a Sony PSP) and weighs just over 10 ounces. It comes in four colors (Gunmetal,  Lemon Lime, Vivid Red and Blue) and provides a unique 360° circumference of sound, that fills a good-sized room with ease. It uses a built-in battery that requires a micro USB cable to recharge. Battery life is supposed to hover around 10 hours; but we were able to get over 13 on a full charge... albeit at a relatively low volume.

I love how the Sol logo lights up in a different color (it's extra cool at night, on the patio) and the sound is downright impressive, although a bit light on bass: It works wonders with LL Cool J and Howard Stern. Best of all, it doubles as a top-notch Speakerphone (it has a built-in mic) which might be the coolest of all features. Bluetooth pairing is a cinch (each and every time, so far) and all the buttons/outlets are conveniently tucked away in the back (and easy to get to.)

It's almost too good to be true; but near-perfection comes at a cost. $199.99 is a lot to fork over for a single speaker... even one as multi-talented and fun to look at/play with as the Deck Wireless Speaker. That said, how do you put a price on all those aforementioned oohs and aahs? Given its portability, it also allows you to show it off at multiple venues (not just home or work.) I can't wait to take it with me to New York next weekend (hotel clock radios suck.) Sold? Click here to purchase one online for yourself.

Grade: B+ (Expensive, but well-worth it.)