Give the au­dio on your iPhone and iPad a boost

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Lewis Painter

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus pro­vide up to 128GB of stor­age, which makes them ideal for home en­ter­tain­ment and stor­ing all your mu­sic and video files – even those with 16GB devices can stream the lat­est mu­sic through the likes of Ap­ple Mu­sic and Spo­tify. With mu­sic be­com­ing more eas­ily avail­able, you’ll need a good speaker sys­tem to go with them, and you’re re­ally spoilt for choice th­ese days.

There are dozens of speaker man­u­fac­tur­ers fight­ing for a slice of the Ap­ple pie, with speak­ers in all shapes and sizes, de­signed for both in­door and out­door use. Many speak­ers talk the talk – but

do they walk the walk? Here we ex­plain var­i­ous fea­tures you should look out for when in the mar­ket for a new speaker for your de­vice, in­clud­ing the com­pres­sion tech­nol­ogy used by the speaker, and 360-de­gree au­dio.

Com­pres­sion tech­nol­ogy

By de­fault, ev­ery Blue­tooth au­dio-ca­pa­ble de­vice must be able to use an agreed ba­sic com­pres­sion sys­tem, known as SBC. Sub-band cod­ing is a psy­choa­cous­tic lossy codec – that is it dis­cards mu­sic in­for­ma­tion deemed not so im­por­tant to our ears, to greatly re­duce the num­ber of bits that must be sent in a dig­i­tal mu­sic stream.

The qual­ity of SBC varies and it runs at var­i­ous bi­trates, de­pend­ing on how fine and deep the slices are made into sep­a­rate fre­quency bands known as ‘bins’. Ac­tu­ally qual­ity de­pends on how the send­ing de­vice has been con­fig­ured by its maker. But SBC typ­i­cally runs at around 200kb/s, and has the sub­jec­tive qual­ity of MP3 at 128kb/s – which is to say, not at all good.

Al­ter­na­tives are now in use thank­fully. Top dog is aptX, a Bri­tish in­ven­tion that forms the ba­sis of DTS cinema sound. It’s still lossy and com­pressed sound but amaz­ingly nearly trans­par­ent to CD res­o­lu­tion at its fixed bi­trate of 350kb/s. Sam­sung in­vested heav­ily in cur­rent aptX li­cense holder CSR plc and now fits aptX com­pat­i­bil­ity into most of its Google phones.

Ap­ple does not in­clude aptX in any of its iOS devices, al­though Macs since Snow Leop­ard can use aptX Blue­tooth au­dio. In­stead, the iPhone and iPad will try to beam out Blue­tooth au­dio us­ing the

AAC codec, which is part of the MPEG-4 stan­dard. Re­sults are al­ways bet­ter than SBC, but not quite so good as aptX.

Amp clas­si­fi­ca­tion

The se­cond hin­drance to Blue­tooth speaker sound is the cur­rent re­liance on low-fi­delity am­pli­fi­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, in com­mon with other bud­get con­sumer elec­tron­ics. While nat­u­ral sound­ing hi-fi am­pli­fiers still use a lin­ear sys­tem known as Class A or Class B (more typ­i­cally both, to form Class AB), cheap and por­ta­ble au­dio devices use a fast-switch­ing PWM sys­tem to drive speak­ers, known as Class D.

Class D is a clever way to make am­pli­fiers far more ef­fi­cient, turn­ing more pre­cious mains or bat­tery power into us­able amp out­put power. That’s par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy in a mo­bile age de­pen­dent on bat­ter­ies. Class D amps run cold so don’t re­quire mas­sive heatsinks to vent un­wanted heat. A com­plete pow­er­ful 20W amp mod­ule can be built around a small mi­crochip, sav­ing much space and cost. The tech­nol­ogy has ev­ery­thing go­ing for it – ex­cept sound qual­ity, which is typ­i­cally grainy, harsh, life­less and stripped of the nat­u­ral essence of mu­sic.

The small­est of speak­ers with a sin­gle mid-range speaker and lim­ited vol­ume can hide some of th­ese is­sues; the chal­lenge for the de­signer is to make a full-range speaker sys­tem that makes you ac­tu­ally want to lis­ten to it.

Bat­tery life and ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties

So, what should you look for when in the mar­ket for a Blue­tooth speaker? A pop­u­lar fea­ture of Blue­tooth speak­ers is “360-de­gree au­dio” – but what is

360-de­gree au­dio? Gen­er­ally speak­ing, speak­ers that of­fer 360-de­gree au­dio are usu­ally cylin­dri­cal or cir­cu­lar in de­sign and fea­ture driv­ers fac­ing ev­ery di­rec­tion, op­posed to the tra­di­tional front-fac­ing speaker setup. This pro­duces ‘room fill­ing au­dio’ which waves good­bye to the au­dio ‘sweet spot’ that you’ll find on tra­di­tional speak­ers, where au­dio will sound best when fac­ing a cer­tain di­rec­tion. Though it’s not a deal breaker, it’s usu­ally some­thing we look for when in the mar­ket for a new speaker.

What about bat­tery life? While not too long ago, the stan­dard bat­tery life for a Blue­tooth speaker was a slightly dis­ap­point­ing five hours, we’ve come along way with re­gards to Blue­tooth ac­ces­sory bat­tery life and with many bud­get speak­ers of­fer­ing up­wards of 10 hours per charge, we wouldn’t rec­om­mend buy­ing a speaker that of­fers any­thing dra­mat­i­cally less. Also, it’s worth keep­ing an eye out for speak­ers that dou­ble up as por­ta­ble bat­tery charg­ers, as it’ll prob­a­bly come in handy when us­ing your smart­phone to play mu­sic.

Some Blue­tooth speak­ers also of­fer Wi-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity, so which con­nec­tion should you opt for? Tra­di­tion­ally, us­ing a Blue­tooth con­nec­tion gives you a 10m range, which means that you’ll only be able to play mu­sic from a speaker in the same room as you - any fur­ther and you’ll prob­a­bly ex­pe­ri­ence the au­dio cut­ting out. How­ever, Wi-Fi has a much wider reach, and could al­low you to play mu­sic from any­where in the house. With this be­ing said, the Wi-Fi setup process can be quite stress­ful and re­quire users to in­stall a spe­cific app on their smart­phone in or­der to op­er­ate the speaker, whereas Blue­tooth setup takes 30 sec­onds.

GEAR4 Sound­Wave por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speaker

Price: £40 An­other great Blue­tooth speaker for the money is the GEAR4 Sound­Wave, the com­pany’s lat­est por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speaker. Black in de­sign with a smooth-to-the-touch sil­i­con fin­ish, the Sound­Wave cer­tainly doesn’t fall into the cat­e­gory of ugly Blue­tooth speak­ers, though it is pretty bulky when com­pared to other por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speak­ers, mea­sur­ing in at 22.5x6x8cm and weigh­ing 496g. How­ever, with this be­ing said, its larg­erthan-usual size means it can pack some se­ri­ous au­dio equip­ment un­der the hood, which pro­vides sur­pris­ingly de­cent au­dio – but we’ll come to that.

On top of the Blue­tooth speaker, you’ll find a num­ber of con­trols that not only al­lows you to change the vol­ume, but also al­lows you to skip to the next track, skip back to the pre­vi­ous track and even pause the mu­sic com­pletely. Though th­ese but­tons may not sound ground-break­ing, a num­ber of man­u­fac­tur­ers are mov­ing away from phys­i­cal Blue­tooth con­trols in favour of ex­clu­sive con­trol via

the de­vice play­ing mu­sic, but that’s not al­ways ideal and we like to have the op­tion to con­trol play­back via the speaker.

The GEAR4 Sound­Wave fea­tures twin speak­ers that, when cou­pled with a pas­sive ra­di­a­tor for ad­di­tional bass, pro­duces au­dio that’s both room fill­ing and full of bass. How­ever, the bass isn’t too over­pow­er­ing – it’s sub­tle enough to make its’ pres­ence known with­out drown­ing out the midrange. The power of the Sound­Wave is pretty im­pres­sive as it can reach high vol­umes with­out the dis­tor­tion that you’ll find with many other bud­get Blue­tooth speak­ers, mak­ing it an ideal com­pan­ion for those trips to the beach or the park.

With re­gards to bat­tery life, you should get around six hours on a sin­gle charge of its recharge­able lithium-ion bat­tery. You can con­nect to the speaker via Blue­tooth with a range of 10m, al­though it also has an aux­il­iary in­put to be used with older devices that don’t fea­ture Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

UE Boom 2 Price: £169.99

Ul­ti­mate Ears’ UE Boom 2 is the se­cond gen­er­a­tion BOOM, bring­ing with it a num­ber of im­prove­ments when com­pared to the orig­i­nal (and hugely pop­u­lar) UE Boom. The main sell­ing point of the UE Boom 2 is its 360-de­gree au­dio, pro­vid­ing truly room fill­ing au­dio and wav­ing good­bye to the speaker au­dio ‘sweet spot’. It’s not just au­dio pro­jec­tion that makes the UE Boom 2 the speaker that it is though, it’s shock and dirt proof with IPX7 rated wa­ter re­sis­tance, mean­ing it’ll sur­vive any jour­ney you take it on.

The UE Boom 2 also boasts a 15-hour bat­tery life, has a 100ft wire­less range and can con­nect to two devices at once, pro­vid­ing a mu­si­cal switch-over with­out hav­ing to dis­con­nect from the speaker and stop the mu­sic from play­ing. It helps to make lis­ten­ing to mu­sic a more so­cia­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, rather than hav­ing one per­son de­cid­ing what’s played. Users can also down­load the UE Boom app to tweak the EQ of the speaker and even pair up with a se­cond UE Boom 2 for a true stereo ex­pe­ri­ence.

It’s avail­able in a range of colours, from a rather mod­est black and grey to a more out­landish or­ange and pur­ple combo. The best part about the UE Boom 2 is that the com­pany is con­stantly up­dat­ing the speaker and adding new fea­tures, all of which can be in­stalled via reg­u­lar OTA up­dates, mak­ing the speaker fu­ture-proof (to a cer­tain ex­tent, any­way).

Mars­boy Orb por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speaker Price: £38.99

Mars­boy’s Orb, the 5W Blue­tooth-en­abled bud­get speaker will turn your bed­room into your own pri­vate disco, thanks to its built-in colour chang­ing LEDs. Cir­cu­lar in de­sign, this black plas­tic speaker is half mesh and half soft-touch plas­tic. Below the meshed sur­face a se­ries of LEDs can trans­mit a range of colours, cre­at­ing a disco-like ef­fect in your bed­room.

Rather than pul­sat­ing to the mu­sic, the LEDs are con­trolled by choos­ing one of seven pro­grammes. The but­ton to con­trol this is found on the speaker’s rim. Also here are the var­i­ous con­trols:

play/pause, skip track, vol­ume up/down and an­swer call when the speaker is con­nected via Blue­tooth to a smart­phone. You can also hook it up us­ing an AUX ca­ble, or take ad­van­tage of the built-in mi­croSD card slot - the Mars­boy sup­ports MP3, WMA, WAV, APE and FLAC. Re­mov­able mem­ory card sup­port is not at all a given on cheap Blue­tooth speak­ers.

There’s also an op­tion that al­lows you to pair two Mars­boy Blue­tooth speak­ers to cre­ate sur­round sound from your iPhone or iPad – which is handy, as the Orb isn’t the loud­est Blue­tooth speaker we’ve ever heard. While au­dio isn’t of the crys­tal clear va­ri­ety you’d find in true au­dio­phile equip­ment – and nei­ther would you ex­pect it to be at this price – the Mars­boy was able to han­dle ev­ery­thing we threw at it, from rock to pop and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. For the money, you cer­tainly can’t com­plain about the per­for­mance. And with a built-in 3000mAh bat­tery, you should see around 12 hours of bat­tery life on a sin­gle charge.

Cowin Ark

Price: £149.99 The Cowin Ark is un­like many other Blue­tooth speak­ers as its formed of two parts; a por­ta­ble Blue­tooth speaker/soundbar that sits on top, nick­named Cruze, and the wired base, nick­named Ark. The mix­ture of brushed metal sides and a mir­ror fin­ish on top means that the Cowin Ark de­mands at­ten­tion – if you’re look­ing for a Blue­tooth speaker sys­tem that’ll be ‘in­vis­i­ble’ in its sur­round­ings, the Ark isn’t the best op­tion for you.

Though the Cowin Ark comes as a two-piece Blue­tooth speaker sys­tem, the Cruze can be taken to the beach or the park and be used by it­self, thanks to its built-in recharge­able bat­tery. The Ark fea­tures Mag­natec tech­nol­ogy, which syncs the two parts of your sys­tem ready for play­back, while

also keep­ing the Cruze se­curely at­tached to the Ark when­ever its placed on top – but that’s not its only func­tion­al­ity. The Mag­natec tech­nol­ogy also pro­vides wire­less charg­ing for the soundbar, which means the Cruze is fully charged and ready to go when­ever you are. Oh, and the Ark can also be used to charge up your smart­phone too, if it sup­ports wire­less charg­ing.

We were re­ally sur­prised by the au­dio qual­ity of the Cowin Ark, es­pe­cially with re­gards to its bass out­put. The lev­els of bass are noth­ing short of phe­nom­e­nal and when paired with a soundbar that can pro­duce 35W of room-fill­ing au­dio, the re­sult is a well rounded sound per­fect for a va­ri­ety of tasks, from back­ground au­dio when you’re re­lax­ing to play­ing tunes full blast in your liv­ing room with your mates. This is thanks to its two speaker driv­ers, two pas­sive ra­di­a­tors and a 5in ported sub­woofer.

Ed­i­fier Bric Con­nect Price: £65 on Ama­zon

The so­phis­ti­cated de­sign of the Ed­i­fier Bric Con­nect is suited more to the home than out­doors in our opin­ion, es­pe­cially with no kind of wa­ter, dust or shock re­sis­tance pro­vided with the speaker. It cer­tainly isn’t on a par with the likes of the UE Roll in terms of its in­de­struc­tibil­ity, but with this be­ing said, it’ll suit many users both at home and away – as long as you don’t plan on go­ing swim­ming with it!

Un­like many other Blue­tooth speak­ers, the Bric Con­nect of­fers two ways to power the speaker, one suited for home and one suited for the out­doors. The first op­tion is to plug the speaker di­rectly into the mains, which is ideal for those of us that want

to use the Bric Con­nect as a sta­tion­ary Blue­tooth speaker within the home. But what hap­pens when you want to ven­ture out with the Bric Con­nect? The good news is that the speaker can also be pow­ered via bat­ter­ies, but not the lithium-ion recharge­able ones that you’re prob­a­bly ex­pect­ing. In­stead, the Bric Con­nect re­quires six AA bat­ter­ies to power the speaker wher­ever a plug isn’t avail­able.

The Bric Con­nect pro­duces well rounded, room fill­ing au­dio that we think is well above the Bric Con­nect’s £65 price tag. The main cause of shock was the lev­els of bass pro­duced by the speaker (thanks to its bass re­flect port at the rear), as we’d only heard a sim­i­lar level of bass pro­duced by two­piece sys­tems. It doesn’t drown out the mid range ei­ther, which is an is­sue we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced with Blue­tooth speak­ers in the past. Vo­cals sound rich, and the speaker per­forms as well play­ing acous­tic mu­sic as it does play­ing Dub­step.

Cam­bridge Au­dio Blue­tone Price: £199.95

The Blue­tone’s matte black cas­ing isn’t much to look at, but it packs a se­ri­ous punch for speaker

cost­ing just un­der £200. With 100W out­put, the Blue­tone is pow­er­ful enough to re­ally fill a room with sound, and pro­vides a more solid bass sound than many compact speak­ers of this size. It mea­sures 182x354x118mm and weighs 4.1kg so isn’t quite as por­ta­ble as some of the other speak­ers in this round-up. It only runs off mains power, but there’s a car­ry­ing han­dle built into the back of the speaker and it’s light enough to eas­ily carry from room to room at home.

It uses Blue­tooth for wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity – with the op­tion of Apt-X for devices that sup­port it – and there are two in­puts for non-wire­less devices as well.

Denon En­vaya Mini Price: £99.

The Denon En­vaya Mini is a gor­geous lit­tle Blue­tooth speaker ready for use with your iPhone, iPad or Mac. It mea­sures in at just 20.9x5.4x5.1cm, but it weighs a sur­pris­ingly hefty 558g, which makes it a lit­tle less por­ta­ble than we’d like.

But where this speaker re­ally ex­cels is the au­dio, so there’s a bit of good news for you. It boasts dual 40mm full range driv­ers with a 40x83mm pas­sive ra­di­a­tor, which pro­duces both crisp sound and im­pres­sive bass.

Max­ell MXSP-BT03 Price: £44.99

This pe­tite por­ta­ble speaker from Max­ell will ap­peal to those who value style, ease of use and true porta­bil­ity above au­dio qual­ity. It’s by no means a bad lit­tle speaker set for your iPhone or iPad. It comes in a va­ri­ety of colours in­clud­ing

white, blue and black. Weigh­ing just 278g and just 154x59x46mm in size, it’s well put to­gether and should sur­vive most tum­bles thanks to its durable build. It’s a 6W out­put wire­less speaker set with two cones and no sub­woofer so don’t ex­pect amaz­ing au­dio qual­ity, but for its af­ford­abil­ity and porta­bil­ity it’s a price some will be will­ing to pay.

There’s Blue­tooth 4.0 or you can plug in via the 3.5mm ca­ble, and it’s loud enough to fill a room. There’s a built-in DC 6V 12000mAh recharge­able Li-ion bat­tery, too.

Bayan Au­dio SoundBook Go Price: £62.99

Third in the se­ries, the Bayan Au­dio SoundBook GO is a Blue­tooth por­ta­ble speaker worth read­ing about. It’s an af­ford­able lit­tle speaker that bucks the trend for many of its Blue­tooth breed by be­ing a de­light to lis­ten to. Plus, it’s a neat de­sign that pro­vides some pro­tec­tion to the front per­fo­rated grille if you should travel with it.

In­side the SoundBook Go is a pair of 35mm full-range driv­ers pow­ered by a 7.5 watt stereo

Class D chip am­pli­fier. You’ll get re­li­able Blue­tooth con­nec­tion or the op­tion of a 3.5mm mini­jack for im­proved sound per­for­mance.

Scosche BoomBOTTLE Price: £119

The Scosche BoomBOTTLE is a por­ta­ble speaker ideal for those who en­joy the out­doors. As the name sug­gests, it’s de­signed in the shape of a drinks bot­tle, which is ac­tu­ally de­signed to fit in the bot­tle holder on your bike. It’s able to pair with an iPhone or iPad via Blue­tooth, USB or 3.5mm jack.

Us­ing the BoomBOTTLE in your bike’s bot­tle holder is not ex­actly ideal, but thank­fully it’s not lim­ited to just that. It lends it­self to other out­door sit­u­a­tions and it’s ro­bust, too. The cylin­dri­cal speaker shape means it of­fers omni-di­rec­tional sound, pro­vided by two 3W 40mm speak­ers.

Plus, it weighs a sur­pris­ingly light 443g and is 70mm across and 205mm long.

Pure Jongo S3X Price: £129.99

Pure’s Jongo speak­ers have been re­ally pop­u­lar, and the com­pany re­cently added the por­ta­ble S3X model to the range. Ad­mit­tedly, the S3X is a lit­tle heav­ier than many of its por­ta­ble ri­vals – at 1.25kg it weighs al­most as much as the 13in MacBook Air – but its recharge­able bat­tery lasts for up to 15 hours and its 20W out­put is pow­er­ful enough to get things go­ing at an out­door party or BBQ.

The S3X in­cludes both Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth for stream­ing your mu­sic. And, like all the other Jongo mod­els, the S3X can be used on its own, paired with an­other Jongo for two-chan­nel stereo, or as part of a multi-room sys­tem that beams mu­sic all around your home.

Bow­ers & Wilkins A7 Price: £699.99

The Zep­pelin from Bow­ers & Wilkins was one of the first speak­ers to sup­port Ap­ple’s Air­Play, but

the com­pany has re­leased a num­ber of other Air­Play speak­ers since then and the A7 is its cur­rent flag­ship model. The £699 price tag is pretty steep, but the A7 can earn its keep, with five sep­a­rate driv­ers – in­clud­ing a proper sub-woofer – that pro­vide ter­rific clar­ity and de­tail, along with a good, firm bass sound. And with 100W to­tal out­put the A7 can fill a small hall with sound, let alone your front room at home. There’s no Blue­tooth but, as you’d ex­pect, the A7 sup­ports Air­Play for your iOS devices, and pro­vides both Wi-Fi and Eth­er­net for con­nect­ing to your home net­work.

Cre­ative Roar Price: £129.99

It’s a while since we’ve heard from Cre­ative, but its Roar speaker de­serves to get your at­ten­tion. It’s a rel­a­tively compact speaker, about the size of a thick pa­per­back, and fin­ished off with a smart metal­lic grille. How­ever, Cre­ative’s en­gi­neers have man­aged

to cram in five sep­a­rate driv­ers and two amps, in­clud­ing a proper sub-woofer that gives it a nice firm kick in the bass.

Cre­ative doesn’t quote a fig­ure for the amp out­put, but it re­ally does cre­ate a big sound for such a small speaker sys­tem. It’s a lit­tle heavy at 1.1kg, but the sound qual­ity, eight-hour bat­tery, and ex­tras such as a mi­cro­phone for voice calls make the Roar one of the best por­ta­ble speak­ers we’ve seen in this price range. There’s Blue­tooth, 3.5mm line-in, Mi­cro-USB and a mi­croSD slot to boot.

Jabra Sole­mate Max Price: £249.99

The rugged de­sign and at­trac­tive sound of the orig­i­nal Sole­mate speaker earned it a lot of fans, so Jabra re­cently fol­lowed it up with the larger Sole­mate Max.

Ad­mit­tedly, a weight of al­most 3kg means that you prob­a­bly won’t be car­ry­ing the Sole­mate Max around in your backpack, but it does have its own car­ry­ing han­dle to help you out, and the ex­tra size

and weight means that it can in­clude a big bat­tery that lasts for up to 14 hours.

It pro­duces a big sound too – the bass could be a bit stronger, but its 90W out­put is pow­er­ful enough to get the party go­ing when you’re on hol­i­day or out in the gar­den. The £250 price tag is a bit steep, but it’s dust, dirt and wa­ter-re­sis­tant, so it’ll earn its keep if you need a speaker sys­tem that can cope with the Bri­tish weather.

Mon­ster Su­per­star Price: £99.99

Most speak­ers of this size sac­ri­fice sound qual­ity for porta­bil­ity, but the mod­estly named Su­per­Star claims to be the ‘world’s small­est au­dio­phile’ speaker.

It re­ally is a pocket-sized lit­tle speaker, mea­sur­ing just 48mm thick and 206mm long. How­ever, it’s splash-re­sis­tant and sturdy enough to cope with life on the move. The sound qual­ity, inevitably, isn’t up to true au­dio­phile stan­dard, but the bass ra­di­a­tor gives it a firmer sound than many of its ul­tra-compact ri­vals. It kicks out a de­cent vol­ume too – nois­ier rock

and dance mu­sic can dis­tort a bit at high vol­ume, but it’ll still do the trick for lis­ten­ing to a few tunes when you’re out and about with your friends.

i-Box Max Price: £124.99

It’s not as por­ta­ble as its lit­tle brother, the Trax, but the Max makes up for it with re­ally good sound qual­ity and a com­pet­i­tive price. The Max mea­sures al­most a foot long and weighs about 2kg, so it’s

a bit big and heavy for a backpack. How­ever, it’s light enough to carry around in­doors or to take out into the gar­den, and big enough to pack a de­cent punch as well. The 30W out­put won’t have the roof rat­tling, but it’s more than loud enough for lis­ten­ing to mu­sic in your bed­room, or for a din­ner party or BBQ, and the in­clu­sion of a bass ra­di­a­tor lends it a firmer, fuller sound than you nor­mally get from mid­size speak­ers such as this.

iClever IC-BTS02 Price: £22.99

iClever’s Blue­tooth Wire­less Speaker is one of the best cheap Blue­tooth speak­ers we’ve tried. It looks great and it’s af­ford­able. It’s sur­pris­ing just how much sound em­anates from this tiny zinc-al­loy box. Given that you can eas­ily fit the 64.5x64.5x70.1mm 261g iClever in a sin­gle hand, the 5W speaker hid­den in­side does a much bet­ter job than we should rea­son­ably ex­pect from such a por­ta­ble speaker, both good on bass and free from dis­tor­tion at high vol­ume.

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