[Gear Review] Eton Rukus Solar: A Sun Powered Bluetooth Boombox
Normally these babies go for around $200-$250 new. So when I saw one used for $56, I snapped it up. Well it certainly is used. The solar panel on top has loads of faint scratches on it. The glass protector does anyway, I hold out hope I can replace it with a new one. It's also missing one of the little rubber feet:
The underside has a nifty elastic sleeve for tucking your phone into. There's a 12 volt DC charging port if you want to charge it from a wall adapter, an aux input for phones without bluetooth, and a USB out so the solar panel on top can charge your phone at the same time as it's charging the boom box.
The readout is e-ink, which I thought was a cool touch. They could have gone cheapo LCD but I think e-ink requires even less power? It uses electricity only when changing some element of the display. That green LED illumination around the power button is many times more energy hungry.
How is the sound quality? Very good. Loud and clear. I can keep my phone in my pocket or backpack and control the playback from my watch. It's very easy to pretend the phone isn't even involved. I plan to get a lot of use out of this while camping this Summer. It'll be nice to not have to plug it into anything and just have it go forever on free solar energy.
Honestly if a solar panel will fit on some electronic device, it should be there. Why not? If a device is electronic and designed for outdoor use, there is no good reason not to have a solar panel built into it. Then again I am sort of a fanatic about this topic, haha.
I can't recommend you buy this new. The price is too much for what you get. But if you can score a used one for less than $100 and are likely to use it often outdoors, it's a solid buy. It's smaller than expected but on the flipside I can just barely fit it inside my backpack. Build quality is good, sound quality is good and the solar functionality makes it stand apart from other bluetooth audio devices.