This is a review of Mpow Portable Wireless bluetooth 4.0 speaker with touch controls. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HF3WAUS/
With so many portable wireless speakers I reviewed lately, it's hard to get amused by yet another "cute" little speaker even if its a latest bluetooth 4.0. They all have a sound performance limited by a driver size and basic play/call functionality. Sometime you get spoiled by volume up/down controls, and maybe if you are lucky can get playback control. I thought I've seen them all until I got a chance to play around with Mpow latest wireless speaker. When I say they nailed it in every single department - I really mean it! Plus there is a bonus which I haven't seen with any other speaker in this category before. So let's take a closer look at what I have found.
Starting with a package, you definitely get a feel it's not one of those cheap ebay speakers. Even before you open the box, taking a tour around it will inform you about every single feature of the product, and the open display view gives you a nice visual of how it looks. Once you take speaker out of the box, you also find usb charging cable, 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable, and a very detailed printed instructions in English. But the star of this box is the speaker. Square shaped with a dimensions of 70mm x 70mm x 50mm and weighting only 6.3oz, you can easily mistake it for a small shiny jewelry box with a mesh grill top. No matter how hard you look around it, you will not be able to find any physical push buttons until you flip it upside down where you will see on/off switch. Also, at the bottom you will find a non-slip rubber pad around the perimeter of the speaker - works great to keep Mpow from sliding off even a slippery surface. With further examination you will find on a side a micro-usb port for charging and Line in jack to attach this speaker to any audio source without bluetooth. According to the spec, fully charged this speaker will have talk/play time of up to 8hr, which I suspect is achievable with above average volume.
The pair up was very simple. Once you flip power switch, you are greeted with a guidance voice "power on". Pushing and holding multifunction button enters in pair up mode where it gets discovered within seconds by your phone, and you pair it up to your phone and media audio. Every time you turn the speaker on, it will pair up automatically. My only gripe is the volume of the guidance voice which I wish would be not as loud "power on", "paired", "power off", but I found it to be the same with all small speakers in this category and you can't really re-configure it otherwise. This speaker supports every bluetooth protocol for phone and audio, such as A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP. According to a spec, there is also multipoint connection for A2DP and HFP, which means you can have at least two devices connected simultaneously to this one speaker. I was able to test wireless range up to 40 feet in the open range before audio start cutting out.
Speaking of audio, it was actually not bad for such 2" top firing 3W driver. Obviously, this is not an audiophile speaker and you shouldn't expect a deep pounding bass, but the sound was very clear, relatively loud to fill a decent size room, and I was able to hear some bass punch as well. Cranked all the way up to max volume, there was some distortion, but a few notches down was a perfect comfort zone, especially considering that's where you get your maximum battery life. This speaker also functions as a speakerphone, and calls were clear at both ends. Of course, I saved the best for last - touch controls of this speaker. You will not find any physical buttons on it because there is none. Every functionality of this speaker is accessible from 3 touch buttons at the top which lit up at a touch. Play/Pause/Call is accessible from the middle multifunction button, also used for pair up, Volume up/down accessible by long pressing other two buttons, and Playback skip next/prev is accessible from the same volume buttons by a short tap. Playback control is a very important feature when you are away from your wireless music source and can skip to the next song without getting up and walking to your phone. Unfortunately, a lot of companies forget about it, but I'm glad it's available with this Mpow speaker. Also, touch buttons make interface to be very clean and give this speaker a more premium look, not to mention reliability of less moving parts.
Overall, I think its a fantastic little wireless speaker which stands out from a crowd with its very compact footprint, great battery life, speakerphone functionality, bonus playback controls, and very neat touch buttons. For $35 plus change and 18-months warranty - I think its a great value with a great piece of mind. Definitely gets my recommendation!
Here are the pictures.