Since my induction into the Invision Game Community, I’ve seemed to accumulate quite a fair portion of audio equipment. I’m not saying I am an audio whiz with a keen ear on what’s hot and what’s not in a sound system (though I am a multi award winning radio producer), but I love my music clear and I love my music loud. Since nabbing all of this delicious tech I can feel myself becoming a snob, a critic with a distinctive opinion on portable equipment you can buy for under £50, so much so that when my other half showed me a portable speaker in ASDA this week, I tutted and immediately decided it was crap without looking at it. I’m sure the “Pink Princess Boom Machine” is a wonderful speaker, but what does she know, she ain’t reviewed jack! This latest portable speaker was critiqued as “pretty good” and “not bad” by my wife to be, but that doesn’t make compelling reading, so hopefully this will.
Introducing the S220 Bluetooth Sound Bar Speaker from the team at TECEVO, the team that only last month sent me a lovely pair of aluminous green wireless earphones to review. The S220 is a device that offers impressive wireless sound quality from your mobile phone, iPod, MP3 player and any other entertainment system with a 3.5mm jack. As well as connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth, the sound bar also features an option to pair quickly via NFC, which is the first speaker I’ve come across to do so. With a rechargeable battery boasting 8 hours of continuous play, it’s certainly more substantial than other’s I’ve tested so far, not to mention it’s slim sleek design makes it a lot more attractive than the rest to date. There’s really not a lot to say about the speaker’s functions and appearance that doesn’t make it sound like all the rest, so I’m eager to switch it on and hear what makes this speaker more impressive and expensive than the ones currently cluttering my bookcase.
Holding down the button in the middle of the trendy volume dial control turns the speaker on and subsequently causes you to excrete a small turd, as a sinister computerised lady shouts “Bluetooth Mode “ … or “Bluhutoot Mood” to be precise. After wiping myself down I connected the speaker to my phone via Bluetooth as for some reason the NFC failed each time, I cannot comment on whether this is a fault with this particular unit or not. Most, if not all of my music is very bass driven and I had to turn the volume up an awful lot to get the speakers to stop sounding so tinny, even placing it right next to me didn’t do anything to improve the sound quality. Lifting the speaker off a surface and holding it next to my face seemed to improve the speaker’s bass output, which is just bizarre for a product that boasts its bass capabilities on the box. Aside from the lack of a decent bass booster, the audio otherwise sounded clear and crisp without the usual crackle from having the connected device too loud, which was an issue with the previous speaker I reviewed. The dial is a superb and very easy way of controlling the speaker’s volume as most speakers rely on buttons that can have a particularly low volume limit, with some even interrupting your music with every press. The S220’s volume dial is easily the best function on offer, a design so simple that increases the ease of using the speaker tenfold and a feature I will now hope to see in all sound bars I review in the future. Connecting your non wireless device, TV or desktop PC requires a simple 3.5mm jack cable and luckily for you one is included with the speaker, even if it is on the short side. Connecting this way instantly summons the demonic TECEVO woman as she cries “Ordia Inpoot”, which is a lot louder than the volume you may have had it set to previously, so make sure it’s not an inappropriate time or place when you turn it on. Nicely linking up to the volume control from my TV remote, the S220 provides a nifty little projection to the audio that now makes it permanently plugged into the bedroom telly. If you’re a rare breed that prefers to have their music stored on a Micro SD card, then funnily enough there is a port available for one, which again is a feature I’ve yet to find on any previous review units, so that’s pretty sweet even if I never plan to use it.
I’ve come to expect all sound bars and portable speakers to provide confident durability to compensate their black, bland appearance, and it’s no surprise that TECEVO have done the same. Despite taking the form of a black plastic baguette, the S220 is actually pretty sleek and handsome for a fairly bland piece of kit. The arched back makes it a lot more desirable than it would have been if it was a nasty rectangular shape and the company’s name featuring in the centre of the speaker makes the product look a lot more official than a supermarket’s own one for example. Unfortunately the speaker’s coating isn’t the most resistant as evidently some of the plastic is already coming away and the rubber feet are already showing signs of peeling, which one doesn’t expect to see from a device with a RRP of £40. The S220’s craftsman ship isn’t completely consistent as it is considerably rough around the edges particularly around the volume dial, which is ultimately disappointing for a device which looks faultless from a fair distance.
The TECEVO S220 Bluetooth Sound Bar is a pretty good speaker that is sadly let down by its inconsistencies. The villainous cries of a computer that doesn’t have English as its first language shouting at you each time you turn it on is startling to say the least, and the fact that it is considerably louder than your music just rubs salts in the wound. For lovers of all things bass, you’ll have to crank the speaker up a lot more than usual to get some out of it; otherwise it works perfectly fine if you’re not bothered by that. The volume control dial is excellent and is incomparable in how much ease it will grant you when you’ve put on your jam; this feature alone greatly redeems the S220 as a standout amongst others currently on the market in the same price bracket. Having the options for not just 1 but 3 modes of playback too make the S220 a brilliant product, even if the sound quality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Bluetooth sound bar looks tremendous from a far, yet up close with the naked eye it does sadly look a tad rough and cheap, observations you don’t want to see for the price you’re paying. Combining the sound quality of the Sandberg Pocket Speaker* with the connectivity and innovation of the TECEVO S200 I believe will craft a beast of a portable Bluetooth speaker, but who thinks they deliver it? I’m all ears!
*Sandberg Pocket Speaker – reviewed 23/06/2015
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.