SOL Republic’s first speaker, DECK, first launched alongside Motorola’s customizable Moto X smartphone. So like with SOL Republic’s other products, it’s designed to compliment the colorful Moto X. DECK sports a somewhat unusual flat and slim, but attractive design, with the SOL Republic logo emblazoned on its face. And the logo has a special trick, more to come on that later.
The device itself weighs just 11.5 ounces, and while it’s not the lightest or smallest bluetooth speaker around, it’s compact and light enough to throw in a handbag. In the box you get a very nice slim neoprene carrying case, along with a 3.5mm audio out cable, a micro usb cable for charging, and an AC adapter for the USB cable.
One of the aces up the DECK’s sleeve is that it can stream audio to bluetooth devices that are up to 300 feet away. This is a lot further than the distance you’ll get out of most speakers. We walked around a large room and were impressed with how far the DECK’s range will go before it starts to conk out.
When it comes to audio, DECK performs well. It has a special boost mode for outdoor use which helps ensure that your tunes can be heard in a noisier environment. Overall, when it comes to audio, DECK produces good balanced audio for a speaker its size, but it’s not the best audio that we’ve seen on a portable bluetooth speaker system, and its bass is a bit weak.
Pairing the deck is easy and seamless thanks to its built in voice prompts that let you know when the device has been paired and how full the battery is. Its built in NFC support also allow you to easily tap to pair it with devices like the Moto X.
A very unique Heist Mode on the DECK lets you pair up to 5 devices with the DECK at once, which means that you can easily share the speaker with your friends. This might not always be a good thing, but the DECK makes it a fun experience by having the SOL logo that is emblazoned on top of the speaker, change color each time a new device takes over.
Both an audio input and output are also welcome inclusions on the DECK, and that means you can connect just about any audio source to the DECK, even if it doesn’t have built-in bluetooth. That also means that you can connect another DECK together for daisy-chaining.
Last but not least, the speakerphone on the DECK works quite well. We could hear callers loud and clear and they said the same of us.
In a world of way too many portable Bluetooth speakers, SOL Republic’s DECK wireless speaker certainly stands out with a plethora of cool features. Between its NFC support, the best range of any bluetooth speaker we have ever tested, neat Heist Mode with light up logo, sleek included carrying case, and built in speakerphone, DECK has a heck of a lot too offer over the competition, which certainly helps classify it as a more premium portable speaker.
At the moment, DECK is only available in 2 color choices – black and a more fun yellow. But both a red and blue version are on their way. We hope that SOL Republic releases more color choices to match their colorful headhones and the Moto X.
The Good: Fun color choices and fun design, plenty of neat features – including NFC, voice prompts and Heist Mode, includes a sleek carrying case, neat light up logo, and excellent wireless range.
The Bad: Sound could be a bit fuller and richer. Weak bass.