Solar-Powered Rock Out 2 Bluetooth Speaker for the Adventurous Audiophile

The solar-powered Rock Out 2 ($99.95) from Goal Zero is the flagship Bluetooth speaker from a company perhaps better known around the world for providing sustainable and efficient energy options to both intrepid adventurers and also to many impoverished people living without reliable or clean energy sources. 

Related: Top 10 Bluetooth Speakers for Wireless Listening at Home & on the Go

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Goal Zero’s compact and portable Bluetooth Rock Out 2 speaker has accompanied me on many an outdoor adventure. This rugged little solar-charged speaker delivers respectable sound via its dual 40mm 3-watt speakers. It's not heavy on the bass end; but for music on the go, in a form factor that is capable of recharging itself, it’s not a bad trade-off.

The Rock Out 2 has its speakers on one half of it, and it’ solar panel on the other. When unzipped, the speakers and the solar panel are both able to face upward, which allows for charging by the sun and optimum audio quality at the same time. The Rock Out 2 also has a storage compartment between its two halves, which I suspect is the reason that this speaker does not have a PBR (passive bass radiator) like many other rugged Bluetooth speakers do, as a PBR consumes a great deal of space, relatively speaking.

Solar-Powered Rock Out 2 Bluetooth Speaker. for the Adventurous Audiophile

I particularly appreciated the speaker’s internal storage space and elastic bungee straps. If you do much camping, you know that things that easily attach to your pack/gear and things that can safely and securely carry other things always come in handy.

These days, with our iPhones accompanying us on most adventures, the ability to enjoy music or video while out and about, away from the grid is a treat that is unique to our generation. Too bad iPhones don’t yet have built-in solar cells so they can keep up with an accessory like the Rock Out 2. Until that time ,I reckon there’s always Goal Zero’s Nomad solar panel (99.95) and Switch ($29.95) Li-ion back-up battery packs.

Pros:

  • Small size and light weight make this speaker ideal for anyone adventuring off the beaten path.
  • Convenient elastic bungee cords allow you to easily attach the Rock Out 2 to your pack, your tent, or your vehicle.
  • The Rock Out 2’s solar panel is highly efficient and charges the speaker’s internal battery at a fast clip.
  • Rechargeable via either solar energy (approx. eight hours to full charge) or via a built-in USB (two-hour charge time) charge cable.
  • A weatherproof, internal storage chamber is perfect for keeping small gear items (phone, keys, wallet, etc.) safe from the elements and from any incidental shocks and drops.
  • The Rock Out 2 is chainable, meaning that it can be wirelessly connected to another Rock Out 2 speaker for a fuller, surround-sound effect.

Cons:

  • The USB charging cable is fixed in place. It can not detach, therefore if the cable gets frayed or otherwise malfunctions, you’d be totally reliant on light for recharging purposes.
  • The Rock Out 2 does not have the ability to charge your mobile device from its internal battery. It has no charge-out port, and perhaps its battery isn't of a large enough capacity to be considered optimal for charging accessories. However, with such an effective solar panel built-in, I feel that facilitating a way for the Rock Out 2 to recharge mobile devices while on the go, would be a prudent and practical next step in the evolution of Goal Zero’s speaker.
  • At one pound empty, this speaker is handy but heavy. Something to keep in mind when choosing it for any off-grid expeditions.
  • Considering its intended application and demographic, and keeping in mind that it already has a built-in, renewable source of energy, it would be a nice addition if the Rock Out 2 had a low-energy LED flashlight incorporated into its design.
  • The speaker's internal storage space is a decent size, but it's not large enough to hold my Plus-size iPhone, something to consider if that's the size iPhone you use.

Final Verdict:

The Rock Out 2 is a great speaker for anyone who can appreciate a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s built rugged and has the ability to power itself entirely from the sun’s rays. This speaker is ideal for any camping enthusiasts and for anyone who likes to adventure off-grid for any period of time.

Solar-Powered Rock Out 2 Bluetooth Speaker. for the Adventurous Audiophile

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech