I listen to music quite frequently on my phone so the idea of having that sound a little better without the hassle of having to hook it up to something like a stereo certainly appealed to me.
In the box was the speaker itself, a USB charging cable and a carry strap.
First impressions were pretty good. The speaker itself is shaped like a hockey puck and fits nicely in the palm of the hand. It comes in orange, pink and blue as well but the black looked pretty good to me.
I then ran into my first problem. No instructions! I did a quick search on the Katinkas website and couldn’t find anything on there that was of any use.
Having found some videos (in German) where other people have reviewed the same product I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to come with instructions and I’ve just been unlucky. Fortunately it wasn’t that difficult to figure out how to pair it with my phone (I’ll write a separate post for that in case anyone else runs into similar problems!) and it’s simple enough to use.
On the bottom of the speaker are three little rubber feet that double up as buttons for turning the unit on, starting and stopping music, changing the volume and skipping tracks. While it’s resting on the feet this means touching the edge of the device pushes the buttons underneath which give a reassuring click as the microswitch is pressed and makes it really easy to use.
Each button has two functions. A short press is to stop or start the music, increase the volume and decrease the volume. A longer press turns the speaker on and off, moves to the next track or moves to the previous track. Simple enough! Most of the functions are also accompanied by assorted beeps to let you know it’s actually doing something.
Over the course of the next couple of days I threw my “eclectic” taste in music at it and it handled all of it pretty well and the sound quality was solid enough even at high volumes which was good. Lots of small speakers can get tinny and distorted. I was surprised at how loud it was at the highest volume setting. As a test I put it on the front seat of my car for a couple of days during my commute to the office and I was able to listen to music and podcasts just as well as the built-in stereo speakers and I think I actually preferred it to the headphones I normally use with my phone hands free kit.
Another nice touch is that it’s chargeable. Meaning no batteries needed and it’s size make truly portable. According to the box two or three hours charge will give six to eight hours of usage. In the few days I’ve been using it I haven’t had to recharge it yet so it looks like that claim is reasonably accurate. It’s already become habit to pick it up move about the house taking it into different rooms with me.
I haven’t used the carry strap. It was a bit too fiddly for me to thread into the little holes for it but looks like it’s made of sturdy stuff if you needed to make use of that.
I’ve had a set of Bluetooth speakers in the past that I used a handful of times and they were so fiddly I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle so in comparison these were a real breath of fresh air.
A quick search showed these on sale for about £40. If I’d been specifically looking for a Bluetooth speaker that may have been a little more than I’d initially been willing to pay.
So in summary!
Looks – 5 out of 5
Discrete, small and functional. Doesn’t become the focus point of a room, is easy enough to be portable if needed and the feet controls are a neat touch.
Sound – 4 out of 5
This is a portable Bluetooth speaker so you’re not going to be getting a cinema experience but sound quality was decent with everything I’ve use it for so far and volume capabilities are impressive for something so small
Features – 4 out of 5
Ability to charge this for several hours use makes it truly portable which was a big win for me. Simple controls are nice too. A line-in feature would have been nice to allow use with non-Bluetooth devices.
Ease of use – 4 out of 5
Only marked this down as it was missing the instructions and a lack of information on the website. It didn’t take me too long to figure it out though and the finger touch controls are really use simple to use.
Value for money – 3 out of 5
If I was shopping for Bluetooth speakers I would probably have missed this. Now that I’ve used it I’d certainly continue to use it though.
Thanks to MoneySuperMarket.com for letting me take a look at this. My previous Bluetooth speaker experience wasn’t great so I really pleased with this in the end.
I’ll post a link to the full round-up once they have put it together.