Last year, Sol Republic came out with their first ever speaker, the Deck. We thought it was a fun, if underpowered take on the portable Bluetooth wireless speaker, with Heist Mode as a particularly unique addition. Heist Mode gives control of the music to five different devices at the same time, setting the stage for battles for control over the speaker and wild accusations of poor taste among friends. A commendable effort.
One year later, Sol Republic is refreshing that same speaker with the Deck Ultra, and yes, Heist Mode is back. The speaker is still being developed alongside Motorola—last year, Deck was released and marketed as a Moto X accessory. The Deck Ultra comes into its own, looking to be Sol Republic’s main entry into the wireless speaker market.
The major improvements here are in max volume, battery life, and Bluetooth range. Sol Republic says the Deck Ultra can get twice as loud as the original Deck, while getting twice the battery life, at 22 hours. The Bluetooth range of the original Deck was already impressive at 300 feet, but that’s now been improved to 450 feet. I have no idea when you would ever have need of that much range for a portable wireless speaker, but if you can think of a reason, more power to you.
NFC connectivity is still here, and the audio hardware inside is mostly still the same. Like its predecessor, the Deck Ultra can still emanate sound in 360 degrees, and Sol Republic still touts the speaker’s large bass port, although we’re not yet sure if that’s been improved from the previous generation.
You can get the Deck Ultra as of today at Best Buy stores for $150. You’ll be able to get it in gunmetal or horizon blue.