JBL POWERUP MD-100W
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.