Bluetooth speakers

SoundPEATS Q800 Sports Earphones

Firstly a massive thanks to SoundPEATS for sending me a pair of the Q800 Sports Earphones to review.

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These are the second pair of sports earphones I have reviewed recently and unlike the last pair these are Bluetooth (4.1) enabled and offer a fully wireless and connected audio experience.



Design

The bluetooth technology and battery are contained in the ends of a band which sits around the neck. The earphones are connected by a wire to the main unit. This provides a pleasant wearing experience as there is no bulky weight pulling on the earphones during use. The design took a little getting used to and I noticed a couple of people looking as I was trying them out in public. Weighing in at just 30g the whole unit is very light and comfortable to wear.

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Battery life

The manual quotes up to 12 hours talk time, which I have not been able to verify. The quote up to 10 hours Music time which during testing I achieved a similar time streaming from my iPad. Standby time is quoted as 100 hours which I am still testing.


Bluetooth pairing and functionality

The Bluetooth 4.1 specs should provide compatible devices with Headset (music playback and control), Hands-free and A2-DP profiles. Bluetooth pairing was simple and worked first time with both my iPhone and iPad. The 10m range appeared realistic. The controls are very simple to use and the manual gives clear instructions.

Sound

Having listened to both music and speech I am fairly pleased with the audio quality. The sound reproduction is balanced with a well relatively well defined bass and high end frequencies with the overall sound being bright. Phone call audio is clear.


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For around £25 this is a nice pair of earphones. I found they stayed on my head even during fairly vigorous movement. The design is comfortable to wear and Bluetooth functionality works well.

For more information visit the SoundPEATS website here.





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X-mini Kai2 capsule speaker

Introducing the X-mini Kai2 Capsule Speaker

Retaining all the outstanding features of the award winning X-mini Capsule Speaker range, this improved Kai2 features the ceramic driver which delivers a sound experience better than ever before.





I was really pleased to receive the X-mini Kai2 to review after having been really impressed with the X-mini Wi which I
reviewed back in April.

For a speaker measuring approximately 6cm x 6cm this speaker produces loud, crisip and punchy sound. I wanted to thoroughly test this unit so took it on holiday and used it as my only speaker. It faired really well under a range of conditions both inside and outside.


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Key Features

  • Ceramic speaker (which delivers improved sound over the first generation) - 2.5W output
  • A stylish design with the fold away concertina design
  • Very simple controls
  • Ability to connect multiple units together
  • Audio out socket which can be used to turn older stereos into bluetooth enabled ones
  • Built in noise cancelling microphone


My experiences

  • The speaker paired instantly to my iPhone and my MacBook Air. I managed to get a good 9-10 bluetooth range outside and about 6m inside the house.
  • The microphone sound quality was very impressive when I held a small conference call using my the Kai2 and my iPhone 5. As an interesting test I took it outside into a windy environment and the noise cancelling was very evident.
  • The battery lasted just under 5 hours on constant Bluetooth playback during a very long car journey at a reasonable volume for everyone to hear.
  • The 2.5W speaker produced excellent sound reproduction both inside and outside. The speaker was loud enough to provide background music to a small BBQ. I was surprised by this level of volume for a unit of this size.
  • My only issue (and to be honest this only happened once!) was when using the combined volume / track advance button during playback of an audio book. Whilst trying to change the volume I managed to skip to the end of the audio book.

If you are going to only buy one USB speaker this year I would recommend this one to you. It is a small, compact yet clear and crisp speaker. The audio line out is excellent for retrofitting old HiFi units and making them bluetooth compatible.



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X-mini WE Bluetooth speaker

Introducing the X-mini WE Bluetooth Speaker

Firstly a massive thank you to XMI for sending me this very small (thumb size) Bluetooth Speaker kit to review.

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People often say that great things come in very small packets and with this speaker this is definitely the case.

Weighing less than 50g and measuring about the same size as my thumb the X-mini WE delivers excellent audio quality for up to six hours on one charge.

Key Features include

  • Ultra-portable design - very small and compact, can even be hung from your bag or coat
  • Excellent playback time on one charge - up to 6 hours
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Wired connectivity
  • Ability to connect to older sound system as a Bluetooth dongle
  • Impressive 1.5W sound output

The main selling point for me, however is the connectivity of this device. Firstly it is possible to connect multiple speakers together to make a louder sound system. Secondly the speaker has an audio out / headphone connector making it possible to turn this speaker into a Bluetooth dongle for older HiFi or stereo units. By simply connecting a normal mini-jack lead into the speaker it can be used as an audio source on a HiFI, sound system or even sound mixing desk. This is a great feature and can easily breathe new life into an older HiFI unit.

After testing the X-mini for a couple of days in the car and around the house my conclusions:

  • Very good sound output at all volume levels with only a minimum of distortion at the highest volume
  • Stylish, rugged design - looks good
  • The ability to turn my old HiFi into a Bluetooth enabled device playing music from my iPhone is awesome
  • Very good value for money

Do not be put off by the small size of the X-Mini WE as great things real do come in small packets!



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