Inateck kindly sent us at Invision over a bit of their kit recently, and the item which came in my direction was their one of their portable Bluetooth speakers. Before we really delve into how the speaker fulfils its purpose, here are a few of the technical details for you to mull over as we go:
- 5 Watt Speaker
- Connection via Bluetooth V2.1 or 3.5mm audio jack.
- 10M Bluetooth connection range.
- 800mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery offering 5-6 hours of playback; rechargeable via USB connection (charge cable included).
- Built-in high sensitivity microphone for hands free telephone call handling.
- Features a retractable stand and ridge on top for mounting an iPad on the speaker.
- Boxed product weight of 458 grams.
- Approximate dimensions: 24cm x 6.5cm x 4cm (12cm with leg extended).
- WHATS IN THE BOX – 1x Bluetooth Speaker, 1x USB Charge Cable, 1x 3.5mm audio cable, 1x manual.
For the purposes of reviewing the speaker, we will consider it under 4 different categories to see how it performs. These will be Ease of Use, Audio Quality, Style and Packaging and Overall Performance. Let’s get to it!
Ease of Use
Ease of use is our first point of call. It’s certainly worth starting by saying that the speaker is easy to whip out of the box, sneak a quick look at the manual and get straight on with. The device came with some charge in it already, so within 5 minutes of opening the box I had my phone hooked up via Bluetooth and was ready to rock!
Establishing a new Bluetooth connection with the speaker is easy. There is no running backwards and forwards as with other devices, you simply turn the speaker on, search the available Bluetooth connections on, say, your mobile, hit the option for the speaker and you will hear a beep, which means you are all set up. Connecting everything up then could not be simpler! I just went straight into my Spotify after this and without any issues my music was alive. And of course, if you want to connect a device which is not capable of doing so via Bluetooth, the 3.5mm jack helps the speaker to pretty much cover all of the bases.
If you want to make use of the iPad mounting setup which the speaker offers then this is easy too. You simply pull out a leg from the back of the device and pop your iPad in the ridge on top. You can then easily use the speaker as a single unit to control your musical desires. Audio is controlled via the connected device rather than the speaker too, which if you are wondering around with a phone, tablet or something else connected then you can change this without having to approach the speaker at all, which is a very handy benefit.
The speaker also pauses your music if you receive a phone call, and you can pick your call up either on your phone itself of by hitting the button in the middle of the speaker itself. This can allow you to have a hands free conversation as you wonder about a room, making use of the speaker’s high sensitivity mic.
Perhaps most importantly the speaker is indeed portable. You don’t want to be buying something you are supposed to be able to move around, only to find it is awkward or bulky or heavy. The Inateck answer to this issue is very fulfilling indeed, being light, small and powerful. The speaker fulfils its portability claim with ease. You do have to bear in mind the limited batter life of course, but with a standard USB charging solution in place, charging the speaker is as easy as charging your phone. Another feature which is easy to use on the Inateck device then, and the speaker scores well all round in terms of how easy it is to operate!
Naturally, to many of you reading this article, this will be the most important point of consideration. You don’t want a portable speaker if what comes out of it doesn’t sound like music anyway, so of course you will want to know how this one performs in this area. Well, when you are connected to the device via Bluetooth, you can hear your music sure enough, but the quality is not quite 100%. There is an air of tinny-ness to the playback, or rather my first impression was that the track which I was playing sounded as though it were live. You don’t necessarily get a completely clean sound over Bluetooth then, but you do get what my considered an acceptable playback. You won’t be disappointed, but you won’t be left gawping at the speakers awesome ability to make your music sound like the voice of the Lord himself.
On the other hand, the awesome power of the little speaker is very impressive. 5 watts of sound are pumped out of the small device, and this is pretty impressive in itself. More impressive is that you can hear every bit of it, meaning that the 10M Bluetooth range can realistically allow you to hear your music around the house (depending of course on the size of your house). Naturally, with volume you do sacrifice some quality, but not dramatically; the speaker performs relatively well wether you listen to it quietly or loudly. What is also worth considering is that the speaker is portable, meaning that if you wanted music at a camp out party or something of the sort, the quality of the playback is probably going to be exactly what you want it to be. It’s not spot on, but if you are drinking and singing along anyway, you will probably feel delighted with what you have in this device.
If you connect to the speaker via the 3.5mm jack then there is some difference in sound quality, but you still don’t receive any stunning feedback that makes you feel as though you music has come alive again. The quality once again is good, but not impeccable; a point which I reiterate so that you can understand the level of audio quality which you can expect. The difference in quality is most likely down to the simple fact that a wired connection is cleaner and faster than the Bluetooth, but neither provides you with what you might think of as poor sound. In short, you can achieve decent playback through both methods, the 3.5mm jack just produces a slightly better result.
Should you choose to make use of the hands free call handling feature of the Inateck speaker, there is of course the advantage of being able to use the speaker anywhere in the room so that you can get on and do other things whilst you speak. On the downside however, the person on the other end may not be able to hear you as well as you can hear them, as even with a high sensitivity microphone if you are several meters away you are probably going to have to shout to them. Bear in mind that being a speaker, the person on the other end is likely to experience some feedback if you have the volume too high, and this will effect the quality of your call. The hands free call handling on the speaker then is much more of a side feature and is certainly not its main or most outstanding feature to speak of.
Style and Packaging
Style and packaging have been linked under one heading here for a couple of reasons. One is that the packaging must be considered in part in terms of presentation and desirability on the outside, and the second is that the packaging inside will of course determine in some part the appearance of the speaker’s quality at first glance. Now that we have answered that question for some of you, let’s consider this packaging aspect to begin with.
The box in which the speaker arrives is very nicely designed indeed. It is not plain or cheap looking with an image of the speaker just whacked on the front of it. No, some real care and design attention has visibly been put into making the box look as though it is containing a very high quality product, and it does draw you into wanting to have a look. The delicate musical note design with the brand name of the speaker at the centre is simple and yet equally intricate enough to make you believe you have picked up something good here. Then of course you will want to crack it open and see what you’ve got…
Inside there is less to be shouted about packaging wise. You do, simply, have a flimsy plastic tray holding the speaker in place with all of the other bits just lay underneath this. It is surprising and almost disappointing after you have gotten excited about the fancy box your new speaker has come in, and it does make you question for just a second whether or not the speaker is ok with so little protection. Mine, thankfully, looked fine, and I chose to not dwell on the downturn of the package and look towards the object of my desire itself instead.
The speaker itself looks nice. Finished in a matte black casing (glossy on the back) with a black mesh front and brushed steel-style button at the centre, a sleek style has been aimed for by Inateck here, and they have done a pretty good job. From a comparative point of view, you would not gawp at the dominance of this speaker above all others, however you would be absolutely delighted to witness its quality given its surprisingly smiley price tag (£28.99 on Amazon at the time of writing).
The leg which pops out of the back for the iPad to stand on the speaker is a pretty simple thing, but for the time you will be looking at it this does not matter as much as the fact that quite simply it does the job. The ridge in top however might make you question whether the device can actually hold your iPad. I bravely tested this with mine, and was pleased if not a little relieved to see that it didn’t drop it at all, so there is that concern addressed.
Generally speaking then, if one ignores the internal packaging, the speaker performs highly once again in terms of style. It is something you would certainly be happy to see owning, even if it is not the stand out item of the century. Inateck have ticked the box for cost effectiveness and visual pleasure alongside one another; always a challenge but one here which is well fulfilled.
There are a number of things to consider here, including those already discussed. Value for money is something which you will no doubt consider before you buy, and so we will take a look at this aspect alongside what we have already seen in order to make an overall judgement of the Inateck portable speaker itself.
What we already know from the areas we have discussed is that the speaker is very easy to use, fulfilling its purpose as a portable device easily and going beyond this to be simple to use in every aspect. Quality of audio is sacrificed slightly for this, however it is by no means a bad playback which you experience, simply a reduced standard to what you might be used for. The speaker is easily better than your standard laptop’s, but is not amplifier quality. In terms of style, you get something quite special considering the price which you pay, with only the internal packaging of the box compromising the speaker’s aesthetic integrity.
Value for money then is something which you certainly do get out of this item, which fulfils all of its claims with no trouble at all, and any compromise easily possible to being considered a necessary sacrifice or simply being exactly what you are paying for. In truth, at the aforementioned price tag on Amazon at the time of writing, you get more than what you pay for out of the Inateck speaker, and so if you are looking for a portable audio solution then this should certainly be on your shortlist.
So is the speaker likely to make you smile at the end of day? Well, if you are looking for a cost effective portable speaker solution which is easy to work with, sounds decent and looks good then this device is probably a very viable option for you to consider. It is not a perfect speaker, and will not give you the best sound which you have ever experienced, but it will do a good job with ease and look pretty snazzy while it does it. So if you are willing to compromise just that little bit on getting a super crisp sound in order to get yourself a good quality, good looking, user friendly and generally very value for money device, then this speaker is very much for you.
Ease of Use – 5/5
The speaker is incredibly easy to set up and get straight on with, with every feature being easy to figure out and use from the word go.
Audio Quality – 3.5/5
The speaker doesn’t deliver the sharpest sound which you will ever have heard, but it gives you more than what you are asked to pay for, offering a very good quality for a portable solution of its kind.
Style and Packaging – 4/5
The outer packaging and the speaker itself look great for what you are paying and give the impression of some real care and attention having gone into it. The inner packaging is what brings this score down, being a much less inspiring attribute.
The speaker is great value for money and performs well for what you are paying. Naturally, you would have to pay more to get the top quality results, but you get great bang for buck here with a user friendly, stylish and good sounding device.
Grab the Inateck Portable Bluetooth Speaker from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inateck%C2%AE-Dual-Driver-Portable-Bluetooth-Smartphones-Dual-Driver-iPad-Stands/dp/B00JM1PCRE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413660571&sr=8-2&keywords=Inateck+bluetooth+speaker
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.