Hands-on with the self-charging Soulra Rugged Rukus Bluetooth speaker

Soulra announced the Rugged Rukus Bluetooth speaker earlier this month, but it isn't just any old Bluetooth speaker. This one charges itself with a solar panel located on top.

We managed to get our hands on the black version of the speaker, which is also available in green, to see what we made of it and whether it sacrifices good looks for its clever self-charging capabilities.

The Rugged Rukus offers a slanted design, slimming down as you get to the rear of the device, which is where the USB port and AUX port sit behind rubber flaps. The flaps mean everything is tucked away neatly, making the design from the rear seamless, but that means you'll have to lift them up if you want to connect your phone to the speaker's power.

It's 163 x 151 x 46mm build looks good, not too big and not too small, plus its 530g weight feels light enough to ferry around. The branding is quite prominent on the speaker grill at the front though so everyone will definitely know which brand your speaker is, which is something that you'll either like or wish it was a little smaller.

On top of the speaker, aside from the solar panel that takes up the entire surface of the top, there are several buttons for controlling the device. These include power, Bluetooth, battery and volume buttons. We had a little play and found the buttons were quite hard to push, making a clicking noise when we did. A softer touch would have been appreciated but the power came on perfectly when we tilted the device towards the beautiful sunshine outside.

The smooth textured finish and rounded style of the device were both features we liked and as a whole the device looks good  from the front and sides, especially as it's IPX-4 splash proof and able to withstand a 1 metre fall so we expected it to be bulkier. The solar panel on the top is a strange feature at first but anything that offers a way of getting some more juice is a plus in our books.

The battery is said to offer 8 hours playback on a full charge if there is no sun, which we couldn't test. We also didn't have the chance to test the sound quality from the two full range speaker drivers inside the Rugged Rukus.

The Soulra Rugged Rukus will set you back £90.