JBL POW­ERUP MD-100W

HWM (Singapore) - - Multi-Test -

JBL and Nokia joined forces to create the Pow­erUp Wire­less Charg­ing Speak­ers, in­tended for the lat­ter’s Lu­mia smart de­vices. With this in mind, it is no sur­prise that the aes­thet­ics and de­sign phi­los­o­phy of the speak­ers is in line with Nokia’s range of Win­dows smart­phones. Much like many of the Lu­mia de­vices on the mar­ket, the Pow­erUp has a tex­tured plas­tic ex­te­rior and solid build qual­ity. The blue model in par­tic­u­lar looked quite eye-catch­ing.

Touch-sen­si­tive con­trol but­tons light up on the top sur­face of the de­vice when the speak­ers are pow­ered on. Be­ing a wire­less speaker how­ever, the Blue­tooth but­ton is given a bit of ex­tra promi­nence and can be found on the front-fac­ing grill. NFC pair­ing is also pro­vided, with the NFC tag ac­ces­si­ble on the top. The pair­ing process was quick and has­sle-free in our ex­pe­ri­ence. Wired play­back is also pos­si­ble thanks to a 3.5mm port at the back.

Un­for­tu­nately though, de­spite how it looks, the Pow­erUp is by no means portable, as it needs to be plugged into the mains to work, and lacks a built-in bat­tery. JBL does make up for this by throw­ing in Qi wire­less charg­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, let­ting users charge their Qi-com­pat­i­ble de­vices us­ing the speak­ers. In ad­di­tion, this is the only set of speak­ers in the roundup to sport this fea­ture.

Hard­ware-wise, the Pow­erUp is armed with two 2.5-inch full-range driv­ers, and has a to­tal power out­put of 20W. The de­vice dis­played strong and warm mids on Adele’s Melt My Heart To Stone. Good highs and well-ren­dered tre­bles also made lis­ten­ing to Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia plea­sur­able. How­ever, the low fre­quen­cies seem to lack pres­ence in the mix, lead­ing to de­fi­cient au­dio in cer­tain tracks.

The Pow­erUp also has very strong cen­tral pro­jec­tion, lead­ing to a rather con­stricted sound­stage, mak­ing them un­suited for gen­res like dance mu­sic. They are great for pop and soft, acous­tic rock though, as au­dio clar­ity cou­pled with good mids and tre­bles lends it­self to the re­pro­duc­tion of tracks that are not too tax­ing. How­ever if your lis­ten­ing­habits ex­tend to harder and heav­ier ma­te­rial, you might want to au­di­tion other speak­ers.

“Jbl anD noKia JoinED ForCES To CrEaTE ThE PoWEruPWirElESS Charg­ing SPEaK­ErS, in­TEnDED For ThE laT­TEr’S lu­Mia SMarT DE­ViCES.”

The NFC tag is lo­cated at the top of the speak­ers. As you can see, there are mark­ings for plac­ing your de­vices down for Qi wire­less charg­ing as well.

The JBL Pow­erUp has vents on the back for an open and de­vel­oped sound.

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