A week ago, Hisgadget provided me with a review unit of its iClever Bluetooth Wireless Speaker (IC-BTS02). Being a gadget hound (and somewhat curious about the prospect of testing Bluetooth speakers), I accepted their offer. What I didn’t expect was how good a standalone speaker could sound, given its wireless connectivity and its diminutive height.
The iClever Wireless Bluetooth speaker retails for $80 but sells on Amazon for $50. (As of this writing, it’s on sale now for a mere $28.) Inside the box is a warranty card, a quick start user manual, a 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable, a micro USB charging cable and the speaker unit itself. The iClever ships with a CSR Bluetooth 4.0 chipset (backwards compatible) that insures fast data transmission and low power consumption. It also houses a rechargeable 500 mAh lithium battery with up to 12 hours of playtime.
Standing at 70 mm (2.75 inches), the iClever speaker is roughly the size and volume of a pizzeria parmesan dispenser. Honestly, I expected to receive a cheap, flimsy plastic based unit. Then I took the unit out of the box and held it in my hands.
The build quality on the iClever Bluetooth wireless speaker is excellent. It’s a dense unit, weighing in at 261 grams (0.59 lbs), and features a clean aesthetic look and a polished Zinc Alloy shell. The iClever wireless Bluetooth speaker would look great wherever you decide to put it. It has an LED illuminated Bluetooth on/off button on the front, a metal speaker grille on its top, and both a mini USB port and AUX input connector on the back.
Underneath the iClever Wireless Bluetooth speaker are a set of media controls to play, pause, and advance tracks. There’s also a small on/off switch. The media controls worked fine when testing the unit with my iPhone as well as iTunes on my Macbook Pro.
Pairing the speaker requires another input device (computer, mobile phone, tablet) with Bluetooth capabilities. I tested the unit with two Bluetooth devices I own: a Retina Macbook Pro and an iPhone5. Pairing was easy and fast. I don’t have any tests (as yet) on the maximum extent of battery life, but I did run the unit for about 6 hours straight and it held up just fine. I plan to follow-up with more testing after I’ve had a chance to spend more time with it.
So…how does it sound?
I’m no audio expert, but the audio has enough mid-range and even the high-range is pretty good. To my ears, the sound is pleasing (and yes, I know that’s a subjective take.) Make no mistake, this isn’t supposed to replace an audiophile set of speakers; the iClever unit is really meant for adding sound to kitchens, patios, garages and even your office. It sounds really clear when playing podcasts, TV shows and movies, even at loud levels. Bass response, especially at higher volume levels, was a little flat, but acceptable for its intended purpose. I tested a few classical music and world music tracks (including some Zakir Hussein) and was pleasantly surprised by how full the sound was.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by build quality of the iClever Bluetooth wireless speaker and my first impressions of the unit are positive. At $28, it’s a steal.