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I had to sort out the audio on the Raspberry Pi 4 I released earlier this year so I wouldn’t have to sync headphones between one machine and the other. So I started looking for a small, nice and cheap Bluetooth speaker that could also be connected by 3.5 mm cable and, of course, could be used to take it around.
There are a lot of opinions about this thing on the internet. After reading several favourable reviews and positive comments about this model, I picked one up.
Exterior and interior
The speaker is primarily intended for mobile and outdoor use, so it comes with a carabiner clip to attach it to your bike or backpack.
It is also well suited for indoor use on a tablet or PC.
It is a small speaker(10cmx10cmx6cm). Handy, robust, compact and heavy (about 470 grams). It is well built, looks tough, and it is. In a video of the brand they drag one (which doesn’t look exactly like the same model) along the ground tied with a strap from a bicycle, get it wet on the beach, bounce it in the sand and even run it over with the bike.
Although it has IPX7 protection(international protection) I wouldn’t risk putting it through a beating like that, but, if it can withstand half of that, it should last several years without problems on a table or at least as long as its battery life lasts (which is not removable and I don’t even think there’s a spare).
how does it sound?
I can’t say too much about the audio quality. My knowledge of audio is basic. It doesn’t go beyond knowing what terms like midrange, bass, treble, etc. mean. I wasn’t born with professional ears to know whether it sounds very good or acceptably mediocre compared to a 100+ euro one. It sounds pretty good.
For a speaker of only 10W, it is surprising how loud and clear it sounds at its maximum volume, as I am used to the rather low and much more distorted sound of other products in this price range (less than 25 euros). Testing it at its minimum levels indoors, in a quiet room, it can be used to listen to background music for work at 10% to 15% of its volume.
It has different lighting modes that do not move with the music. They are looped sequences.
As for the RGB lighting frills, everyone has their own tastes. I usually turn it off because I don’t need distractions or aesthetic paraphernalia. In addition, the manufacturer advertises up to 18 hours of battery life at half volume with the lights off and that drops to 6 hours with them on.
These are estimates and may vary depending on the volume level and type of audio content being played.
A full charge of the 2500mAh battery takes about 3.5 hours.
Among other things, two speakers of the same model can be paired to achieve stereo sound and it has a microphone for answering calls when connected to a mobile phone. In the absence of USB for a USB flash drive, it has a Micro SD card slot to play your audio files, although you can only play everything in order and move between the next and previous audio by pressing the + or – button
There is a mobile app from the brand, but it doesn’t work with this particular model of speaker.
It has a“SoundPulse” mode devised by the manufacturer that is activated by pressing the power button three times in a row and promises significant improvements in sound quality. I’d be fooling you if I said I’ve noticed any noticeable difference or improvement by activating it.
In case you need to know any other technical details, here is the manual.
On the downside, the 3.5 mm auxiliary audio cable (male/male supplied) is not intended for PC use as it is very short (55 cm) and although it would be sufficient if used on a laptop or tablet on the table, it is insufficient if you have to connect it to a tower located on the floor and you would have to plug it into the monitor, and, in my case, it sounds worse connected to the monitor than to the native input of the audio card.
All in all, a recommendable loudspeaker assuming its limitations in terms of sound quality. Still, it is one of the best options among cheap speakers in terms of price/quality for home and leisure use. It has a boxy, but pleasing design and is well finished. You can tell at first glance that it’s built with ruggedness in mind.
Contents of the box
And this is what the thing looks like.
Home audio test
This is what it sounds like, more or less, with the volume turned down. It actually sounds much better than what the mobile phone records and Youtube compresses.
- Plenty of volume and good audio quality at maximum with less distortion compared to speakers in this price range.
- Rugged, sturdy and small in size.
- Nice design.
- Good connectivity (Bluetooth 5.3)
- Decent battery life at low volume and with RGB lights off.
- Price under 25 euros.
- Charging time.
- Excessive battery consumption with RGB lighting on.
- Supplied 3.5mm auxiliary cable is too short, insufficient for certain scenarios.
- Buttons feel a bit hard to the touch.
- I’m afraid there is no native spare battery to replace it if it runs out.