I can’t decide whether the market for portable bluetooth speakers has been booming or is stagnant. On one hand, there are so many new speaker designs and launches being thrown at consumers, and each professing to be great at sound — the main reason why people buy these speakers in the first place. But with every new portable bluetooth speaker that I’ve heard — and at various price points — none have come close to the sound of the original UE Boom launched in 2013. That speaker sounded phenomenal for its size; it was balanced and had no distortion at higher volume settings. Unfortunately, it became my benchmark for what the sound of a portable bluetooth speaker should be like.
When Muzen Audio approached us for a review of their new metal speaker, I dismissed it as just another retro-looking gadget. All style, average sound. Then I took it out of its box and was surprised by how tiny it was — it could fit into the palm of my hand. What else was surprising was that it was heavy for its small size. And with gadgets, heavy usually gives off the perception of better quality.
I turned the dial to radio and tried to tune in to 987fm. It was full of static and couldn’t give me a clear feed to the station. (If you’re concerned about the radio quality, there’s an add-on antenna that should improve the reception.)
I decided to pair the speaker with my iPhone to see if the sound fared any better. Pairing the two devices was very easy — I turned the dial setting to the bluetooth icon, then detected and selected it on my phone. It connected instantly. I switched to YouTube on the phone and played that new 365 song by Katy Perry… and wow. The sound was full, it was big, and very impressive. It blew me away for the first half a minute of listening to robot Katy singing about her obsession, that I kept holding the speaker up and inspecting it to see how this tiny thing could push out a sound so well balanced.
Here’s a rundown of the specifications from the press release for the metal version:
The speaker is priced at $139 with 6 colours available (2 of them are wood finishes and slightly larger in size, and are priced lower at $129).
Functions include an in-built FM radio, bluetooth synching and an auxiliary port should you wish to connect by cable. It charges by an included USB cable and claims to have a 10-hour battery life.
It’s a worthy buy. Not to mention, it’s super cute.