Just like mobile phones, wireless speakers seem to have invaded the gadgets space with never-seen-before ferocity. As a reviewer, quite frankly the continuing popularity of Bluetooth speakers mystifies me. For the simple reason that I used to have a firm view— courtesy my decade-old Sony music system—that wired speakers sound better than wireless speakers. Before we go any further, let’s put my personal opinion aside and identify the key attributes for their rising popularity. Bluetooth speakers are small and portable, wire-free and what’s more, they sound better than some of the more popular yet expensive music systems.
For your consideration, I have rounded up two Bluetooth speakers and a Bluetooth Audio Adapter from Logitech. These particular speakers are not necessarily the best, loudest, longest lasting, or must-have options. However, the speakers are reasonable performers at reasonable prices. Read on to find out how they perform.
Logitech’s X300 is a quality mobile wireless stereo speaker at an affordable price of R5,995. It’s got a sturdy, attractive design—it weighs 0.36 kg—that seems suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. At first glance, the X300 is quite unassuming, in fact, it reminded me of JBL’s Flip speakers. It has two drivers along with a passive subwoofer, and the way the drivers are angled gives the speaker a more expansive sound spectrum.
The X300 comes with built-in speakerphone capabilities and can be laid down horizontally or propped up vertically. In actual usage, I connected it with my mobile phone and played some songs from it. Quite frankly, it offers decent sound for its size. It delivers a deep, precise bass response and detailed mid- and high-range sound. And, it doesn’t distort even at higher volumes. One can enjoy 5 hours of continuous play without recharging.
The speakerphone also works pretty well, so long as you don’t stray too far from the microphone, which is on the top of the speaker. In all, I liked the X300 and have no problem recommending it.
Estimated street price: Rs 5,995
Like the X300, Logitech’s X100 mini Bluetooth speaker lets you wirelessly stream music and manage phone calls from your mobile phone, tablet or other Bluetooth device. It is compact in size, nicely designed and has speakerphone capabilities too. It has a built-in Lithium ion rechargeable battery with a life of about 5 hours. It charges via micro-USB. I liked the hard, rubberised finish on the X100 and it seems fairly durable. It’s got a little loop on the top that allows you to hang the speaker from a backpack or a key in the wall. It weighs just 159g.
In real use, the X100 offers decent enough sound for its size. However, it can distort at higher volumes. In my opinion, it makes a good companion for a laptop or tablet video watching—it easily sounds better than the internal speakers on most portable devices.
n Estimated street price: R2,995
Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter
If you are looking for a relatively cheap way to add Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a powered speaker or audio component with an audio input, the Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter is a good
solution. This R1,995-a-piece device is a very cool new gadget by Logitech that adds Bluetooth streaming capabilities to anything with an audio (auxiliary) input, or a pair of powered speakers. It
includes an RCA-to-3.5 mm cable and has to be plugged into a wall socket to get its power.
Around back you’ll find 3.5 mm and RCA outputs. The unit ships with an RCA-to-3.5 mm cable and you can run it whichever direction you want depending on the device you’re trying to link up with. Plug it into any stereo r even an old pair of PC speakers—anything with a free input. The audio source can be any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or a laptop computer.
Once you have connected the adapter to your stereo’s input with the included cable, you then just have to pair the adapter with your Bluetooth-enabled device. A “connect” button on top of the unit puts the adapter into pairing mode. At my end, I was able to pair an HTC phone as well as an Android tablet without any trouble.
Once connected, your mobile phone can act as a remote and you can stream music or other audio to the speaker while maintaining control of volume and track selection from the palm of your hand. In other words, you can choose to play any music file from these devices and have it wirelessly emanate from your stereo across the room.
Estimated street price: Rs 1,995