I am the kind of guy who takes battery life very seriously. My biggest disappointment at modern technology is the lackluster battery life provided by practically all devices. I’m also an avid environmentalist, so I’m always on the lookout for that bit of technology that my eco-conscience mind can approve of. Eton’s Rugged Rukus held promise, so we took a closer look. 

Build

The Rugged Rukus is sleek. The wedge-shaped, portable speaker is lightweight (at 0.73 kg), yet feels dense. It’s a rare device that has found an almost perfect balance between being light and feeling sturdy. Everything about this device screams of the outdoors. The device has a smooth rubberized exterior, which is soft on the hands but doesn’t feel like delicate. Eton claims the device can take a fall of 1 m (3.3 ft) and is IPX4 water resistant, both of which are desirable qualities if you’re planning on taking it camping. The Rukus’s frame also has two loops for tying it down – you’ll want to give it as much sun time as possible. 

Rugged Rukus

The top of the device is dominated by a sizeable (roughly 12 cm by 12 cm) solar panel. The Rugged Rukus has a 1600 mAh lithium battery which Eton says can be charged in about 5 hours of direct sunlight. After leaving the device in the sun for an afternoon’s worth, I can confirm that the device had charged pretty much to full battery. You can also plug it in and charge on a wall socket, which takes just under 3 hours. The presence of the solar panel adds character. At the very least, it’s an interesting talking point. Although solar powered devices are becoming more common (the XD Design Sun Solo charger comes to mind), they’re still a dime in a dozen. The biggest advantage that the panel brings to the device is the ability to stay charged on the go. On average, I’ve been using the Eton Bluetooth speaker for around 30 – 40 minutes everyday, with the volume at full blast. And I haven’t had to charge it. Not even once. I just leave it next to my window when I’m done with it and it passively charges.

Audio

Rugged Rukus

Connecting your device to the Rugged Rukus is as easy as connecting any bluetooth enabled speaker. Turn on the Rugged rukus, turn on your device’s bluetooth and it will connect immediately (even quicker than my JBL charge). The connection was and remained solid throughout daily use. On the other hand, my thoughts on audio quality were more mixed. 

The audio quality of the Rugged Rukus (arguably a very important factor when it comes to picking a portable speaker), does leave room for improvement. The device’s volume is average but adequate for camping and beachside music. Treble was lucid however bass is virtually non-existent. I don’t know if this was by design, perhaps to improve the battery life of the device, however if you’re someone who love’s base (as am I), than the sound does take getting some used to. The sound was thin for most of the time. It often sounded like a louder, more well refined samsung smartphone, which means Eton has some work to do in this department.

So What Else?

At only $47.99 from amazon.com, the Rugged Rukus is definitely affordable. Keeping true to its name, the device is rugged and well adapted to the outdoors. The large solar panel isn’t a novelty but an integral part of its charm. I have no trouble recommending this speaker – it all depends on why you want it. If you’re constantly forgetting to charge your device, or love the outdoors, you should definitely consider the Rugged Rukus.

Product Page: Rugged Rukus
Facebook: Eton Corp

Eton Rugged Rukus

$47.99
8.2

Design & Form Factor

9.0/10

Durability & Comfort

9.0/10

Portability

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Audio Output Quality

5.0/10

Affordability

8.5/10

Pros

  • Solar Charging
  • Durable
  • Splash Resistant
  • Shock Resistant
  • Clear Sound
  • Good Battery Life

Cons

  • Lacking Base
  • Battery Size Could Be Increased

About the author

Benji Fenech Salerno

Currently studying at the University of Malta for a joint BSc in Biology & Chemistry (Hons). He is from a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, loves all that is science and technology & brings a European perspective to the scene. Also takes pleasure in reading, jogging & travelling. Benji currently sports a Samsung Galaxy S4, a Nexus 7 (2013) and a Moto 360.