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Etón is one of the few Apple accessory manufacturers that seems to be embracing photovoltaic (solar) technology to power its products. Earlier this year I reviewed Etón's Mobius case for the iPhone 4 and 4S, which features an 1800 mAh battery coupled with a solar charging panel to keep your device topped off with power whenever it is illuminated with the sun or indoor lights. Now the company has introduced the Rukus Solar Bluetooth Sound System (US$150.00 MSRP) to give your tunes a boost without the need for a power outlet.
The Rukus Solar has an unusual design that I found myself liking more and more as I used the device. As the amount of electricity generated by the photovoltaic panel is largely dependent on the area of that panel, Etón chose to separate the Rukus's two cylindrical speaker tubes by about 8.5 inches. The panel covers a little over 39 square inches on the top of the Rukus Solar. Etón does include an AC adapter for cloudy days and indoor use, although I never had to use it.
In front of the panel are a number of buttons surrounding a small e-ink display. The display is used to show battery charge level, Bluetooth connectivity, whether or not you're charging an external USB device, and if the speakers are receiving a signal from the AUX port instead of over Bluetooth. The display is, as one would expect, extremely readable in bright sunlight.
You can get the Rukus Solar in three colors -- black, green or white. The device supports AVRCP for one-touch Bluetooth pairing and A2DP for high-quality stereo streaming.
Two more small but welcome design features -- there's a mesh pocket that will hold your iPhone or other device for charging, and a surprisingly comfortable handle built in that works
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