At CES 2013 I had a chance to check out the Divoom Bluetune Solo speaker, a pint-sized gadget which packs a powerful punch of bass for its size. The speaker is round and fits in a coffee cup taking about two-thirds of it. Its worth noting however that while listening to music with strong basslines there is distortion above about two-thirds of the volume level.
The Bluetune Solo is also a speakerphone and works great in that capacity. Listeners said I sounded a bit far away and at least one person said they heard a slight echo though. The voice of the called party on the other hand sounded great coming through the Solo.
One great feature is the output jack which can be used to power a subwoofer or a headset if you so choose. In other words, you pair the speaker via bluetooth and then can plug in a wired headphone to listen to the music as well. You can use this speaker as a jack to bluetooth-enable any other speaker or stereo system in your home and the kicker is you could pay more for a device which gives you this capability than you would for the Solo. The company rates the playback or talk time on batteries at eight hours.
One other interesting feature is the ability to daisy-chain multiple speakers with a special micro-USB adapter enabling you to “custom-design” a larger stereo system. I only tested one speaker so I wasn’t able to test how the sound would change in such a configuration but one challenge is the bass quality would not improve meaning if you pair more than a few of these you may be better off from a financial value perspective with a larger speaker from another vendor or Divoom itself.
Although it feels deceptively heavy it only weights about 8 ounces. Moreover, the design is pleasing and the quality of workmanship seems to be a B+ or better. At under $40, this device makes a great addition to any laptop bag or suitcase allowing the road warrior to listen to some music while they work or enjoy higher quality conference calls where voices sound richer and fuller.
The losers here are companies like Bose and Jambox maker Jawbone who charge a lot more money for products which in truth do sound better but not by the hundred-dollar-plus premium they charge.