Zoook SolarMuse Bluetooth speaker review: Good audio but with mediocre features
Budget Bluetooth speakers are dime a dozen. Zoook is one of the names you will frequently hear along with the likes of popular brands like Bose, JBL, Sony, and Ultimate Ears. Zoook offers a variety of portable speakers mostly focused on budget consumers. The company's latest offering is SolarMuse, a Bluetooth speaker that uses solar power charging to make the experience more mobile.
Zoook SolarMuse is originally priced at RS 8,999 but the speaker is available between ₹4,000 and ₹5,000 via online channels. If you're looking for a feature-packed budget Bluetooth speaker, you could give this one a consideration. We've reviewed the Zoook SolarMuse and here are our findings.
Of late, companies have started to focus on improving the look and feel of the Bluetooth speakers. There are a number of speakers that come with unique design. But in case with Zoook SolarMuse, it's underwhelming with cylindrical design and curved sides measuring 68 x 62 x 200mm.
The Bluetooth speaker is wrapped in a silicone rubber body with a solar panel located on top. Zoook SolarMuse looks visually unappealing with the small speaker holes creating a weird look. In my opinion, the company could have gone for something simpler even though it would turn out to be generic.
Another flipside is that the rubber body attracts quite a lot of dust easily. On a positive note, it does provide protection proving it to be viable for outdoor and rough use. The speaker is a little heavy, weighing 430 grams.
The navigation buttons are located on the left side of the speaker which was a little difficult to locate. There's a power button, volume controls, handsfree button, and a battery indicator.
There's also a torch placed just below the controls with its respective button located among them. You can play around by pressing the torch button once to turn on the flashlight and again to let it blink. The navigation buttons were not very easy and comfortable to use and didn't provide the expected haptic feedback. The 3.5mm audio jack and USB port is located just to the left with a flap.
For Bluetooth speakers, performance is solely based on audio quality and battery performance. We played different kinds of music on the speaker ranging from different genres. The audio quality is quite impressive with good bass output as well. The device comes with speakers spanned across two sides making it produce really loud sound. Also, the speaker performed good even on the highest volume with the treble and bass maintained quite well.
Although the company pits the solar charging as the speaker's highlight, it's actually the battery that trumps its features. The speaker takes about three hours to fully charge. Zoook claims that the speaker can provide up to 30 hours of playback time on a full charge. While we didn't test the speaker to its ultimate claim but it goes on uninterrupted for well about 20 hours straight without additional charge. The battery capacity isn't highlighted by the company but it does an impressive job.
One major drawback though is that there is no battery status indicator for the Zoook SolarMuse speaker. The only indicator is obviously when the speaker is completely drained. However the battery status isn't displayed on an iOS or Android device which can be a problem for most users.
Coming to its solar charging, we tested it out by keeping the speaker out in the sun for at least 20 minutes. This part was quite tricky as we couldn't figure out if the speaker was actually getting charged since we cannot see the battery level. We used the BatON app to check the battery status. On the app the battery level remained the same even after the solar charge.
Connectivity and water resistance
Zoook SolarMuse comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack for connectivity. I had myself using the audio jack most of the time because of multiple devices connecting with it. Nevertheless, connecting via Bluetooth was pretty seamless. I tried switching between different devices to connect to the speaker and I didn't face any problems. Water resistance works pretty fine like most speakers. You can splash some water on the speaker and see that it still works fine.
Zoook SolarMuse speaker delivers pretty decent audio but lags behind on other aspects such as design and ease-of-use. While the idea of having solar power is pretty noble, but it hasn't been well implemented. Looking at the price point, there are a lot of options that customers can consider. Some of these include JBL FLIP II Edition, Philips BT6000B, and Sony SRS-XB10.