With disclaimers out of the way time to take a look at the iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Why would I need one? I had no need for one really. Have a fairly decent Sony iPod dock which is powered from the mains. If needed so I can drag a laptop around or stream music from my mobile. Or so I thought… Speaker has arrived and I wanted to see if I can make the use of it.
Let’s get physical… physical
I’m writing this listening to the random tunes streamed from my phone. The device is smaller than I was expecting from the picture, size of the palm I’d say. I always get that premium feel if a gadget has a correct weight to it and the iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker hits the right spot. Alu case topped with plastic is rigid, and does not creak when squeezed. So far so good. Buttons are ok, with a rubbery feel and tactile feedback.
Here also comes the first criticism of the device. Side panel sports an AUX in and microUSB port for charging both covered by a little too flimsy cover. Real shame as up until now, the quality of the device has been premium. With the speaker, you get the necessary cables and a short lead for carrying it.
I’m Blue da ba dee da ba tooth…
Word of warning. Connecting to the iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker results in a heart attack. The speaker has been set quite loud (and it is a LOUD device) and when put in a pairing mode, an overly enthusiastic voice will provide you with the feedback. In fact, this gentleman will announce himself again when you are connected, making sure you are that you are terrified correctly. With time this becomes less scary but more annoying. I’d like to be given an option of a short beep instead.
Because it is a Bluetooth device it comes with all benefits and caveats of the technology. Changing devices is a pain, but blame the Bluetooth not the iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Connectivity is good and I had no issues with range or music streams being jittery.
A hands-free protocol is a very nice addition. You can use the speaker as your conference call solution. the test conversation worked well. Speaker picked the voice from 2m away easily and sounded strong and clear on the other end. there was no voice loopback either.
Skype call ended up less stellar. Tester complained about my voice being muffled, but loud and reverting to the mobile’s mic improved the quality of the conversation. I was also unable to answer the skype call using the answer button on the speaker. I guess there is some space for improvements.
And no one dared disturb the sound of silence…
This is not a quiet device. I have not expected a box of this size to produce the sound of THAT level! Setting the volume at max while indoors will cause your ears to feel uncomfortable due to the sound levels. It is hard to write about the sound. Something that can be felt in seconds while listening can fail to be described in a thousand words.
‘Enhanced bass’ feature makes sure that the sound is not flat. It is not a gangsta rap oomph you’d expect from the name but works well. Mid and high tones are slightly blended together, however, speaker performs better than HP’s Beats certified laptop speakers. From all my audio capable devices only 5x bigger iPod dock was able to produce a better sound.
I can see myself using the iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker with a laptop, or instead of any DAB radios you would use in the kitchen.
Battery in your leg
I’m impressed. I run this thing overnight for 14h straight and the Bluetooth widget reported 60% left. Speaker was set to about 25% volume, enough to enjoy music but low enough to let me sleep in another room. I stopped the test at this point as iClever assures 10+h playback. Since all my speakers are connected to mains having a very decent battery operated solution was an eye opener. Suddenly listening to the music during everyday chores outdoor wasn’t an issue. This is where the device truly shines. The size is right. The volume is great, and the battery is superb.
Try, try, try, and you will only come to this conclusion…
iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker isn’t without a fault. But is a really good offering at reasonable price. I wonder what Amazon.com reviewers have to say about the speaker.
There seem to be quite a few of theses 5star reviews. Although the speaker is good, marketing people at iClever really pushing the product. I won’t hold it against them, but it is worth paying the attention where your average rating is coming from.
Looks like one of the common issues are volume buttons. Personally, it didn’t bother me, as tactile feedback was sufficient for me to skip the tracks without changing the volumes, but I can’t dismiss this as unreasonable.
I’m surprised that I liked the speaker. It could use a companion app that shows you the power usage, and supports more internet calls protocols and perhaps removes the kind and enthusiastic gentleman from inside of the box. The IPX6 rating makes it great for my gardening chores. I guess in the UK, such rating is a must!