Ruark Backpack II: Wishing Sonos offered something similar

The new BackPack II transforms our R1 deluxe tabletop radio and MR1 wireless speakers into completely portable products. It frees these miniature marvels from the mains power socket and into the bathroom or onto the decking and the great outdoors. Placing batteries inside takes valuable speaker capacity which can result in unrefined sound, but BackPack II allows R1 and MR1 to retain their rich mains powered performance, but with complete portability.

A total evolution of the original, BackPack II attaches seamlessly to R1 and MR1 and once fitted can be left permanently in place as it charges automatically whenever the music systems are connected to a mains power supply. A full charge will deliver up to twelve hours of mains free listening depending on volume.

Whilst the material design of the Backpack II may not be terribly elegant, the use case it solves is a common one (wanting to use a wireless speaker or radio system a distance from a power supply, but still within range of a wifi signal – for example, in the garden or by a pool).  The device can be used with mains power day-to-day, and then disconnected and used on battery power when required.

I’d love to see Sonos or a third party offer a similar solution for the Play:1

(There have been several discussions on the topic on the Sonos community forums, with rumours that Sonos worked on a battery solution for a couple of years but shut it down. One can hope!)

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!