Back in the day, speakers were considered an attachment of your desktop. Buying a separate pair of speakers was, unquestionably, never thought of by anyone at all. And that is reasonable, of course. Speakers back then were bulky and cumbersome to connect. Whether it was for our stereo systems or our desktops at home, the added hassle of assembling them was deplorable. Flash forward to the advent of wireless speakers.
Soon ushered in the age of boomboxes, which albeit bulky, boasted of transcendent sound quality. And as smartphones began growing in size, speakers began to become more and more compact. Today, we have a host of devices that can easily fit into our pockets. However, the beautiful thing about speakers is that they're still available in a range of shapes and sizes, and each one of them has something distinct to offer.
When we heard about UBON's wireless and solar speaker, we knew the future had officially arrived! We couldn't wait to unbox the product and give it a go to see how it functions. After using it for a month, here's what we think about it:
Look & Feel
Unfortunately for us, our first impression of UBON SP-115 wasn't exactly super. After using JBL and BoAt, UBON's packaging seemed almost sub-standard. The product came in a polythene cover in a flimsy cardboard box, and all that came along with it was a charging cable. We hoped to find a user's manual somewhere in the box, but regrettably, there was none.
What's more, for its price, the speaker doesn't exactly boast of a contemporary design. The plastic body, sadly, looked like it could fall apart. Its built reminded us of an old transistor radio. However, it didn't look like the company was trying to pull off a vintage facade for the product. The speaker has a solar panel on top, with an antenna for its in-built FM. On its right, there are various buttons, none of which have any labels or markings for you to understand their functions. Another strange strip next to these buttons signifies the 'torch' feature of the device. You have an option to charge it with a USB connection, and you see that on its side. Other than that, there are buttons to toggle between off and on. UBON's SP-115 is available in three colours, including Black, Blue and Red, and we unboxed and used UBON SP-115 in black.
The highlight of the speaker is its solar-powered battery. A revolutionary step, according to us, and a very thoughtful addition during a time where there's a dire shortage of plug points! UBON SP-115 has a whopping six-hour playback time and can charge a considerable amount in ten minutes. We used solar power for an hour and a half in sunlight and managed to get playback for five to six hours.
At a glance, you may not pick up UBON SP-115 from the endless variety of speakers at an electronics store. And you're not the only one, because neither would we! It does not flaunt a cutting-edge, contemporary design as most speakers in its league do. But it provides remarkable volume capacity, and we are in awe of its battery life. The radio does a decent job in itself, and we couldn't get the torch to turn on despite fiddling with all of its buttons.
That said, it has its set of flaws (yes, apart from its chaotic design) that didn't bode well with us. For one, it is grossly overpriced for its quality, and you can easily purchase far better speakers within its price range. And while we're not so worried about it being pricey, we do worry about the lacklustre look and feel that may feel like it could fall apart anytime. We're also not fans of its Bluetooth range, which effortlessly falters within a closed room, let alone behind doors. We could also do with some more paperwork explaining how the product actually functions! Should you buy it? Perhaps, no. If you have a budget that large, we'd suggest opting for something more contemporary. However, if you're on-board the made in India and conventional source of energy project, but of course, there's a lot to work on if UBON wants this to hold the title of India's first solar-powered speaker. It is assuredly on its way but needs a little more than just a nudge on its journey.
Key Specs to look out for:
Model Name: Ubon SP-115 X-PLANET Wireless Speaker with Torch
Type: True Wireless
Price: INR 1,699
TBC Rating: 2.5/5