This is a review of Anker portable bluetooth 4.0 rechargeable speaker with multimedia controls: Amazon.com: Anker Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Rechargeable Speaker for iPhone, iPad, Tablets, MP3 Players , Laptops , Handheld Game Consoles , Portable DVD Players & More Devices: MP3 Players & Accessories
Once I opened this new portable speaker from Anker and started to read through Instruction Manual (which btw is VERY detailed!!!), the first thought that went through my head was how much functionality they cramped into one small multimedia speaker. With so many designs out there, you will be lucky to get Call pickup button in addition to volume up/down. Here, I think the only missing thing was a kitchen sink
Let me go into more details.
First of all let's start with a design, a very attractive glossy cylinder shape with a speaker inside of the main body and 3 stand-off legs connecting to the base with controls. The shape is very comfortable to handle since this is a portable speaker which you might want to move around. And once you place it down - it will stay firmly on the surface thanks to it's non-skid rubber pad at the bottom. Along with a comfortable shape, also comes a comfortable weight of about 166g and dimensions of 60mm in height and 70mm in diameter. The round design and placement of the speaker makes the sound flow in every direction so you don't have to find an optimal position facing you directly. In the middle you have a strobing blue LED light which goes all the way around the speaker. Actually, I think there are two speakers hosted inside of the enclosure with a main treble sound coming from the top and a bass pumping from the bottom.
The controls on this unit cover all multimedia basis with separate buttons for play/pause/stop, volume up/down, and next/prev track skip. These buttons all double as other multimedia controls to adjust eq setting (normal, bass, treble), to mute/unmute the microphone (built in to accept your voice commands or just pickup a call and use this speaker as a speakerphone), and a lot of phone functionality such as voice dialing, answering/ending a call; redialing last number or rejecting incoming call, transferring a call from a speaker to a phone, and some more. This is a rechargeable speaker with an incredible battery life where according to Anker you will get about 8-10 hours of play time or up to 12 hours of talk time. As a mentioned before, it supports new low power bluetooth 4.0 standard and backward compatible with all other standards. Also, it supports HSP, HFP, A2DP, and AVRCP bluetooth profiles. If you want to use it as external wired speaker, you also get an option for Audio-input (Line In) which you can use with an included high quality 3.5mm male-to-male cable.
All this looks good on a paper, but the true test was to get a hands on experience with this speaker. As I expected, everything worked great! As soon as you turn on the speaker, a voice announces about the power being on, and once you pair up with a phone, voice also confirms a successful pair-up/connection. As much as I like the idea of this voice announcement, I wish there would have been a way to quiet it down or disable it (just my personal preference). Hitting Play button started default audio player right away, and I was able to adjust the volume, skip to the next/prev track, and adjust the EQ. I didn't spent too much time with call functions, but did confirm everything working as expected. The sound quality was actually very impressive for a speaker of this size. You can't obviously compare it to some other premium bt speakers that cost 5-6x times more, but still the sound was loud and clear and not tiny at all as you might expect from small speakers. As a matter of fact, it actually had a deep bass kick to it. At high volumes you can start to hear some distortion which was more noticeable with "bass" eq setting. But overall, I had no complains and was actually impressed to hear quality sound out of such small speaker.
I think this speaker would be a great enhancement to any smart phone, which brings multimedia controls to external sound without a need to even touch the phone, to use it as a speaker phone, or to use it in your car placed inside of a cup holder for streaming music without a need for any wired audio connection to your head unit. And did I mention this little guy cost $35.99 with free shipping? And as always, you get 18-month warranty from Anker which you can't beat. I definitely highly recommend this external rechargeable speaker!
Here are the pictures.