Neptor Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Neptor Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Jul 8, 2014

Mugsy Bogues. Mia Hamm. Messi. Well, the Neptor Portable Bluetooth Speaker looks to further prove that massive performance can and does emanate from relatively small packages.

The review unit we were provided with was relatively humble, containing the speaker and a matching, flat micro-USB cable. Size-wise, it could be described as diminutive; the cylindrical shape fits comfortably in the palm of the hand. Its dimensions are 3.5×2.5×2.5 inches, and it weighs about 8 ounces. The bright red coloring is only interrupted by the logo-ed band that runs across the frame, and the platform piece that makes up the bottom. At the top, perforated audio holes are incorporated, and at the bottom, a clear holder props the unit up. There is a micro-USB port that is hidden with a flap. In addition to red, the manufacturer also puts it out in blue, green, orange and purple.

What sets this seeming tyke apart are the physical controls, which mostly boil down to twisting and tapping. For example, turning it on involves tapping and pressing down on the top of the piece for three seconds. Conversely, pairing the unit to a bluetooth audio source follows the same pattern with most pairings of this type; with the one device seeing the other, one taps/presses down on the top of the speaker to initiate the pairing sequence, as signified by the flashing blue light. After pairing is complete, the light turns blue, and one is ready to go.


Increasing the volume from the unit is a matter of twisting the upper half of the item along the aforementioned chrome band; twisting it in the opposite direction reduces the volume. Additionally, after connecting, tapping on the top can be used to toggle play or pausing of music. Long-pressing on it for three seconds turns off the unit.

The sound won’t shatter window panes, but to be fair, this isn’t what it seems to be designed to do; as a simple, easy-to-carry companion accessory, it works well, providing relatively clear audio. The added speakerphone functionality (calls can be answered with taps) is definitely welcome.

The sound will probably not be lauded by serious audiophiles, and the lack of wired option may give some folks pause. The battery did give out a bit before the advertised 4-hour limit, but all in all, it works well, and the exceptional portability adds to its value.

The Neptor Twist & Tap Bluetooth Portable Bluetooth Speaker is available for $29.99 via

JBL Pulse Hardware Review

JBL Pulse Hardware Review

Jan 31, 2014

We had an opportunity to check out sound maven JBL’s Charge Wireless Speakers, and it was a pleasant experience. As such, we were happy to check out its sibling, the JBL Pulse Wireless Speakers.

Like your run-of-the-mill brothers, the Charge and the Pulse bear plenty of familial similarities. They are both cylindrical, but the latter has more deliberately tapered ends. The black exterior underscored the solid feel, with mesh-like surface (a departure from the fused finishing of the Charge) mostly preventing the accessory from looking cheap. On one end are buttons: pairing, power and light control. The other is bare and serves as the base when upright. Along the body are ports for coaxial and micro-usb cables. For comparative purposes, the Pulse is just a shade taller than the Charge, coming in at 7 inches tall and less than a pound and a half in weight.

Powering it up is as simple as connecting the included adapter/cable combo to an electric source; powering it on, I daresay, is almost the coolest part. The specs sheet boldly pronounces LED lights, but the actual display is pretty surprising. It boasts scores ofpulse2 LED lights that run around and along the base. When the device is on, those lights all come on in a dizzying explosion of color that is as once a bit gimmicky and inexplicably commanding at the same time. The light patterns can be toggled or turned off by the button at the top, and most sequences react to volume. It’s an interesting feature, and one that I actually enjoyed more than I would have envisaged. Additionally, the JBL MusicFlow app allows the lights to be controlled as well as providing an easy way to adjust sound performance from Android devices.

As soon as bluetooth pairing was attempted it connected seamlessly in seconds, and it’s also NFC-enabled.

The sound doesn’t have the high level of bass some people dearly crave; compared to the Charge, it gentler in that aspect, but it still holds it own sound quality-wise. It does provide great volume, and in our informal testing, it actually beat the advertised 5-hr usage time. It worked just as well as a wired speaker.

I did miss the portable USB charging feature from the Charge; I also think the app could be a bit more intuitive. All in all though, it falls just within what I would term acceptable limits of reasonable portability, and the overall value is hard to ignore.

The Pulse is available from Amazon for $199.