Today I’m happy to once again have Tyler aka The Hubs (@dadandmarried) guest post on the blog. In our home he is our tech guru, the one who is in charge of all our digital entertainment needs including TVs, streaming players, handheld devices and audio needs.
When I happened to mention an opportunity to do a wireless speaker review from Sol Republic, he nearly jumped out of his skin, telling me I had to get it, it was on his current list of “must haves.” Since he was going to be the one figuring Sol Republic’s DECK out, he should write the review. Not a bad a trade-off I say, so take it away Tyler….
I always dreamed of being able to take my music anywhere. Of course years ago Walkmans and iPods made that possible, but now it’s finally easy and convenient to share your music with your whole family wherever you go.
As people who might have read my other guest posts already know, music is really important to me. Inside or outside, driving in the car or exercising at the gym, getting going in the morning or relaxing with a book at night, I like to be surrounded by it — jazz, pop, rock, country, electronica, you name it. Recently, technology has made my dream a lot more portable with bluetooth speakers and the ability to stream just about any music ever recorded from my smartphone or computer. And you can’t believe how easy, portable, and convenient it all has become.
I really get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of exposing our two kids to the music I like, and I enjoy the music my kids are starting to discover and enjoy themselves. Well, sometimes! When I married The Harried Mom, she married into my rather large collection of CDs and LPs. And when we started to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, it meant my CDs went into boxes and swinging bachelor hi-fi set was dismembered and banished to the attic, partly out of a need for space, but mostly because I didn’t want my Technics 1200 turntable to turn into a sippy cup holding station.
When the CD player went away, it meant converting all my discs into music files on the computer, and dragging those to a smartphone, and plugging the smartphone into a radio or boombox. Sounds sort-of easy, right? Well, it seemed like every year we were buying a new radio/boombox — connectors would break, cords would be lost or they’d just stop working altogether.
Recently, bluetooth speakers have entered the market in a big way. Without needing wires, these speakers that give you the ability to stream your tunes from a smartphone or computer. For months I’d been researching them, and lobbying The Harried Mom with all the reasons why we need one! As fate would happen, we got the opportunity to test out one of the ones at the top of my list: DECK, made by Sol Republic.
In case you don’t know their brand, Sol Republic is Motorola’s venture into personal electronics. In a few short years they have become well-regarded for their headphones, so much so that they have collaborated on special models with superstar DJs like deadmau5 and Steve Aoki (ask your kids, or maybe their babysitter).
The DECK is their first venture into the red-hot market of portable bluetooth speakers. It comes in red, blue, yellow or black, and its small size (about the size of a paperback book) makes it easy to take along to the beach, a hotel, the park, a playdate, literally anywhere you can stream music from your phone. It comes with a carrying case and it easily fit into a coat pocket. As long as you have your smartphone loaded up with tunes or connected to a music streaming service like Spotify or Pandora, you’ll have music as long as you have power — which I’ve found to be about 10 hours on a full charge.
And while it’s small, it can really pump up the volume. The DECK sounds great at a normal listening level, and gets plenty loud enough when you need it to. It sits flat, which is not what I’m used to with my old school directional stereo speakers. The DECK features something called 360˚ Full Sound, which is an omnidirectional way of filling up your room with sound so it sounds great no matter where you are.
I tested the DECK over a couple of weeks in a variety of settings, and was very impressed at how well it performed and how easy it was to set up. Another speaker I had tested (sorry Beats Pill!) was often difficult to pair with our Bluetooth, whereas the DECK easily found my desktop computer and my iPhone, and took just a couple of minutes to set up.
Most of the listening we did was in our living room but I also brought the speaker down to the playroom for the kids, took it out in the garage while I worked on a project, and put it in the kitchen while The Harried Mom cooked up dinner. I even ventured out in the freezing cold to see how it would perform outside-and it sounded great! I can’t wait for the weather to warm up because that is when we will really get use out of it, sitting around the barbecue while the kids play in the pool.
On the technical side of things, the DECK performed better than any other music system I had previously used through our wi-fi or Bluetooth. Our computer wi-fi router is kind of centrally located, and the music didn’t cut out even when the signal had to travel through a couple of walls or a couple of floors. Only when I went into our bedroom, the point in the house farther from the internet router, did the signal start to sputter a bit. But when I switched to sending the music from my phone, the DECK was back in business again. The DECK is supposed to have a range of 300 feet, which is about 10 times the range of most other Bluetooth speakers. I didn’t try it that far away, but it certainly kept a steady signal throughout the house.
So if you want a portable, cool-looking way to play music for your family or even just yourself, the DECK is a great solution. Kiss the wires, ugly plastic boxes and piles of worn-out D-batteries away, like we did!
Thanks Tyler for the review. I have to agree with him Sol Republic’s DECK is awesome and I really do rock it out to 70s, 80s and New Wave tunes in the kitchen while I’m cooking!
Now it’s your turn to share. Where is the one place you listen to music the most?
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom (or The Hubs) was not compensated for this post, but did receive a Sol Republic DECK wireless speaker to try and review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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