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Wireless speakers are gradually turning into one of the most exciting product categories in the Indian market. They come in different form factors and can be used to stream music wirelessly at home, office or while you are spending quality time with family and friends on a vacation. The market offers a variety of portable Bluetooth enabled speakers in multiple price-segments from different brands. The one we are testing these days is an interesting audio device from French company Zoook.
Zoook has introduced India's first ever solar powered waterproof speaker, the ZB-Solar Muse. Currently priced at Rs. 4,999, the solar powered wireless outdoor speaker has some more exciting features that make it an interesting portable wireless speaker for music lovers who are also avid travellers. Let's find out more about the Bluetooth speaker in the following review.
Zoook ZB-Solar Muse is an interesting portable Bluetooth speaker that we believe is designed for avid travellers. The speaker has an integrated ‘Solar panel' that can charge the underlying lithium battery on-the-go. You can keep it outdoors, strap it on your bag or cycle while you trek in valleys and forget about the battery running out of power. However; Zoook has also provided a microUSB port to help you charge the speaker with a regular USB cable in case there's no natural light to refuel the battery.
Flashlight and Microphones
In addition to the solar panel, ZB-Solar Muse also comes equipped with a built-in flashlight. The feature can come useful in emergency situations if you don't have a flashlight handy on an outdoor trip. The flashlight throws a stable light flow or can be set to blink at a pace to send an emergency signal. A small but thoughtful addition to Bluetooth enabled speakers which avid travellers would find very useful while trekking in hills or during a camp session. The torch button is placed at the left side of the speaker. You can hold the torch button to turn it on. Press the button once again to start the blinking light or twice to change the speed. Press it again to turn the light off.
Zoook ZB-Solar Muse also features a microphone to let you answer calls when you don't have your phone around. However; the feature is not very useful as the microphones are not very powerful to produce a clear audio over the call.
Sturdy and Weatherproof Design
Zoook ZB-Solar Muse comes with an all-weather design. The speaker is shockproof, dustproof and waterproof. It weighs 431 g and looks and feels quite sturdy. The speaker has a Silicone rubberized mesh casing that protects the entire structure that contains twin audio drivers, battery, etc. The solar panel is placed on the top and the right side has a strap to attach the speaker with a cycle or a bag mount while you are on-the-move.
The left side of the speaker houses all the controls and flashlight. There's power button, battery icon, volume up/down, torch button, MIC and a Bluetooth indicator. There's a small opening on the same side with a flap that protects the microUSB and 3.5 mm AUX input port. The speaker can be easily carried around or kept inside a bag if you are planning a weekend trip. As it is weatherproof, you can stream the music even if it's raining or you are hosting a pool party.
Audio and Battery Performance
Now when you know about the interesting features of ZB-Solar Muse, let's talk about the audio performance and the battery backup. Zoook ZB- Solar Muse is priced at Rs. 4,610 and houses 40mm dual drivers. The speaker also comes equipped with an advanced APT-X chip for HD lossless audio technology. All of this sounds really impressive; however, the audio performance does not justify the price-point. We have reviewed a couple of speakers priced under Rs. 2,000 that produce the sound of the same quality at lesser price-point. ZB-Solar Muse is good for a small room, but I believe that's not the intended purpose of this all-weather speaker. The audio delivery is clean and tracks with vocals sound good. The dual drivers fail to produce heavy base and audio comes out flat, which will not please serious audiophiles. The speaker is also not very loud, a reason I would not recommend it to users who want a portable speaker for house parties.
As far as battery backup is concerned, Zoook ZB-Solar Muse takes lead in sub Rs. 5,000 price-point. You would not require a charging adaptor if you are on an outdoor trip under sunny skies. The solar panel does everything for you and keeps the battery charged up for most of the times. You would only require a charger if you host a party after sunset. During daytime, the speaker will ensure continues music playback. In real-life conditions, 10 minutes of sunlight gave us approximate 20 minutes of playback, so if you have a continues sunlight supply, the speaker is good to go throughout the day.
Zoook ZB Solar Muse is an interesting addition to the portable Bluetooth enabled speakers category. It's not the best sounding speaker out there in sub Rs. 5,000 price-point but it is indeed the most feature-rich audio product in its respective price-point. The all-weather design, solar panel powered long battery life and a built-in flashlight makes it a perfect fit for avid travellers who like to tune in to their favourite playlists on-the-go. Consumers who prefer thumping bass and loud audio should look for other options.