Posts Tagged Bluetooth speaker

Developer: Supertooth
Price: $199.00
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad 3

Usability Rating: ★★★★½
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★★½
Sound Quality Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Pros
+ Dual Stereo Speakers
+ Loud!
+ Long battery life
+ Great audio cues for connecting

Cons
– A bit muddy on the low end
– Needs a single carrying bag

The Supertooth Disco Twin is a pair of great-sounding, rechargeable, stylish bluetooth speakers that connect to an iPhone or iPad with ease, allowing for full stereo sound. Each speaker alone is a fine mid-sized wireless speaker with a long battery life, but put two of them together and you have a portable sound powerhouse.

The Disco Twin speaker set is basically a pair of Disco II speakers, each weighing in at 16 watts of sound. Together, the pump out a stunning 32 watts of room-filling sound. It’s rare that you’ll find me turning a portable speaker down because it’s too loud, but these babies had me dialing it back on occasion.

The sound spectrum here is fairly good, with a solid if muffled bass response and decent mids and high range response. Audiophiles shouldn’t use portable Bluetooth speakers in the first place, but these do a fairly good job of sounding like more than a simple portable speaker, especially when separated and in full stereo.

Connecting these bad boys is a simple process, and there are great audio cues from each speaker to denote the on, off, and full stereo states. The left speaker is the master when connecting both, and when powered on, it says, “Left,” and then the right speaker says, “Right,” in a pleasant female voice. The speakers also say, “hello,” and “goodbye” when powering them on or off. It’s a nice touch.

The speakers come with a cloth bag for each separate unit, as well as a AC wall wart to charge the internal batteries. The battery life is relatively long when fully charged; I was able to listen to a full afternoon of music without draining them at a medium volume. The manufacturer promises 3 to 4 hours at high volume, and up to 10 on medium, and I’ve seen nothing to discount that.

The Disco Twin Bluetooth speakers are a delight to use separately or in concert as a full stereo portable speaker system, and they provide a decent sound quality and great volume for the price. I highly recommend them for those music lovers who want a bit more from a portable speaker.

Developer: Killer Concepts
Price: $99.99
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 5, iPad mini

Usability Rating: ★★★½☆
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Sound Quality Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Pros
+ Innovative design
+ Louder than similar speakers
+ Charges Devices via USB

Cons
– Sounds a bit tinny
– Too easy to drain the battery

The RockSteady XS is a portable, micro Bluetooth speaker designed for use with any audio source that supports the Bluetooth 3.0 protocol, including iPads, iPhones, and other mobile or computing devices. It also includes a audio port for a line in, and a full-sized USB port for audio in and device charging, as well. There are a host of buttons on the front of the unit, which can be used to play, pause, forward, or reverse playback with many audio apps, like Pandora, Music, or Rdio.

The design of this mini speaker is interesting, in that the main speakers face out the two sides of the unit, one on each end of the rectangular casing. There are also holes in the top of the speaker, as well. Overall, this gives the RockSteady XS a distinct advantage over other speakers I’ve tried, with a 100db loudness that belies the diminutive size of the device. There’s a good deal of volume that can be applied before things get distorted, as well. The sound itself is fairly well-balanced, with a tendency for a brittle, tinny sound without some EQ from the sound source, especially at higher volumes.

The speaker itself is made of aluminum, making it both tough and light. There’s a removable battery on the bottom, and you can purchase more from Killer Concepts, making this a great option for someone who needs longer than one battery’s worth of life. In my use of the RockSteady XS, I found the battery life to be similar to that of the other devices I’ve used with an afternoon’s worth of listening at loud volume, on average.

My one big issue with the RockSteady XS is the battery on/off toggle. When I forgot to turn the unit off, which happened more than I’d like to admit, the battery continued to drain while the speaker sat on my desk, or in my bag. There really ought to be an auto-off feature to prevent typical user error like this, though it is nice to be able to definitively know if you’ve turned the speaker off, as well.

Bottom line, the RockSteady XS is a loud micro Bluetooth speaker with an innovative, rugged design that should meet the needs of many a listening environment, from outdoor picnics to dorm parties or hotel rooms. The great utility of the device is a bit offset by the sometimes tinny sound quality and the easily-forgotten toggle switch, but is still a great value considering the removable battery, the 100db sound volume, and the ability to charge a device from the back of the unit.

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