Fluance Introduces Fi70 Bluetooth Speaker

Fluance Introduces Fi70 Bluetooth Speaker

Jan 29, 2016

Fluance has just introduced a new wireless speaker to the market called the Fi70.

An evolution of Fluance’s critically-acclaimed Fi Series, the Fi70 is engineered to recreate the music user’s love with harmonious perfection. From the elegance of a jazz performance to the raw power of a live rock concert, the Fi70 has created a new expectation in home audio. Streaming music wirelessly from services such as Spotify and Pandora or playing tracks from user’s favorite playlists has never been easier and more enjoyable than ever.

At the core of the Fi70 are powerful dual 8” woofers, 5” woven glass fiber midrange drivers and 1” neodymium tweeters, which offer superior sound quality, unmatched by any speaker within its price range. Its 280 watt built-in amplifier boasts big performance and delivers exceptional bass response starting as low as 30Hz. The Fi70’s ability to deliver such incredible sound allows it to replace complete home stereo systems, sound bars and other high-quality audio solutions.

The Fi70 comes in three colors and costs $499.


Divoom Voombox-Party Wireless Speaker Hardware Review

Divoom Voombox-Party Wireless Speaker Hardware Review

Jun 4, 2015

We love to check out wireless solutions, especially speakers. A tool that can enhance sound on the go? Let me loose!

Well, here’s the Divoom Voombox-Party.

The review package we were sent contains the speaker, power cable, audio cable and documentation. The unit looks like it means business; it looks like a solid brick of technology, with gently tapered angles and a defined rubberized finish. The control bank at the top is simple to navigate: power toggle, bluetooth pairing, phone answering and two buttons for volume. To the side, there are covered ports for power and audio cable. In hand, it is hefty piece, and it feels well crafted. Officially, it comes in at 9.17 x 2.13 x 4.06 inches and 2.4 lbs.

It takes a while to charge up the unit, close to 3 hours. Once the unit is ready to go, connecting it to a source is easy simple, and I suspect anyone who has played with bluetooth protocol will be at home pairing this: tap the bluetooth button on the speaker, search for it from the mobile device, and it’s good to go.


The sound quality is surprisingly good; it reflects clearly at different volume levels; at louder ones, it did feel a tad hollow, and I think it could use some range. The subwoofer definitely has personality, and mostly keeps the unit from being overwhelmed by itself. The additional phone functionality is peachy too; the voice quality is decent, and the switch-over is seamless. The audio port allows for conventional wired usage, and that is nifty to have on occasion.

My biggest gripe with the unit mostly has to do with the design. I found myself trying to set it lengthwise because I kept on losing the controls. For semi-permanent usage, this isn’t a a big problem, but I tend to move speakers around a fair bit.

It’s easy to like the Voombox-Party. Without a doubt, the positives easily outweigh any and all negatives. It’s a wireless piece with wired sensibilities. At $91.50 (via Amazon), it could be just the piece one is looking for.

Cambridge Audio Minx Go Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Cambridge Audio Minx Go Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Dec 24, 2014

Editor’s note: this review is for the original Minx Go; cambridge Audio has since refreshed this unit with NFC.

When it comes to mobile accessories, give me wireless or give me… you get the idea. Going without wires makes everything just makes everything so much better. It makes everything cooler. It just makes mobile devices even more… well mobile.

Cambridge Audio has been in the audio business for a while, and have clearly invested in the wireless paradigm. Proof? The Minx Go Bluetooth Speaker.

The review unit Cambridge sent us shows the unit in all its glory; it’s generally rectangular in shape, but with deliberate design lines that simple refuse to allow it to be strictly described as a simple rectangular cuboid. The grey front grill houses the output, as expected, and it fits seamlessly into the grey frame, and that into the white body. At the top of the piece are three simple buttons, on/pair, and one each for increasing or decreasing the volume.

On the back right, there is a USB jack, an audio port and slot for the power source. At the bottom is an adjustable stand; the logo adorning the grill is no overstated, and the unit is pretty hefty at 2.4lbs and 9.3 x 4.8 x 2.4 inches. It does look nice, and out of the box, it looks like it would be comfortable in different environments. The box also contains a carry pouch, documentation, a power cable and a 3.5mm audio cable, and it should be noted that the speaker has black as another color option.


Technologically, this unit boasts amp powered dual 2” drivers, along with two titanium tweeters. It also sports a rear Auxiliary Bass Radiator, which is supposed to do what the name implies.

Getting it going is simple, and will be intuitive for anyone who has handled bluetooth peripherals prior. After the obligatory charge, pairing is a simple matter of holding down the power button until the unit is in pairing mode (which is denoted by the flashing on toggle). After pairing, sound is delivered easily and freely. I tried podcasts and music, and was impressed with the clarity; it mostly reflected audio sharply. Connecting physically (via audio cable) did, to my ears, provide output with a bit more fidelity, which isn’t too unexpected.

This unit also packs in the admirable ability to charge other mobile devices with its own built-in battery.

All in all, it is a classy-looking piece that backs up it’s looks with great functionality. It’s not as portable as I would like, but that isn’t a bad thing, because it can be used in different scenarios.

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.

JBL Charge Hardware Review

JBL Charge Hardware Review

Aug 30, 2013

Wireless audio is a must-have, almost. When companies with JBL’s rep spit out stuff like the Charge Bluetooth speakers, it generally pays to take heed.

First, the hardware itself: the review piece was the blue colored unit, which was a pleasant change from the sometimes drab black that most electronic pieces seem to come in nowadays. For those weird folks that are not enthralled with everything Carolina Blue, there is grey and green.

It’s a deliberate item, likened to a well-hewn cylinder with somewhat shaped edges. The speaker grills cover a good portion of the body, and the ones on the one end hint at the possibilities with regards to placement during use. There are charging spot and a 3.5mm aux-in ports at the back of the unit, and a covered USB slot at one end.charge1

What the Charge claims to do well is transmit music. The pairing prices was seamless for all the Android devices I paired it with; it’s a simple matter is discovery and selection. On my main device, it reconnected easily enough as long as I hadn’t paired anything else to it in the interim. It also connects well with my laptop.

I’ve said it before: I don’t rate orchestras in my spare time, but I think the sound quality from the unit is impressive. It handles  audio files with reasonable aplomb, from Brit pop (don’t judge me) to audio translations from YouVersion. It’s nice to be able to test equalizer and actually hear the difference in the rendering of music. There isn’t really an explosion of bass, but I am okay with that.

I really like the extras; the charging cable and pouch are nice. The Charge can be placed upright, can be used while charging and, with the included USB cable, can also trickle charge devices. Not bad. Especially nice is the ability to plug in devices via male-to-male 3.55 mm cables.

In my testing, I was able to play music and podcasts continuously for about 9 hours straight; I did notice some static and connectivity issues when tethered via bluetooth short of a several dozen feet away. Unlike it’s stablemate (the JBL Flip), this one doesn’t have a speakerphone toggle, and a dedicated app would have been an acceptable form of vanity.

It was a surprisingly nice item, and competes well with similarity priced speakers and docks.

The JBL Charge is available from the JBL site and/or Amazon for $149 at the time of this review.

Coda One Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Coda One Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2013

My favorite technological concept? Convergence. In stark terms, I like to be as functional as possible while carrying as few devices as possible. It’s all about creating a hub of business, fun and everything in between, with my smartphone as the center.

This is one reason I found the multi-use Coda One Bluetooth Speaker so compelling. I mean, for real? This accessory promised to fill gaps with regards to mobile uses of bluetooth: car hand-free peripheral, wireless speakers and an ad-hoc handset.

Again… for real?

The review device came in an inviting package, with USB cable, clip and car lighter adapter. I really liked the build 2013-04-22 17.52.37quality; I have seen folks use the term “feels good in hand” very ambiguously. Well, it made sense with the Coda One. It easily avoided being a barbell, and the gentle heft made it feel pretty, dare I say, confident. The design was pleasantly atypical, and made sense within the context of the device’s pledged goals. It was black, sleek and nice to look at, with the minimalist buttons, lighted indicators and cleverly placed ports.

Pairing to my phone was easy. My Android device easily found it, and the device announced the pairing robustly. The Multi-Function Button was a catchall function toggle of sorts, allowing me to switch modes. For the true techies, it supports Bluetooth 3.0. It did well in distance tests, and the visor clip made car testing a pleasurable breeze. Call quality was good both ways.

As a bluetooth speaker, it performed well. The output was good at short range, which made it pretty nice as a car accessory. For music, it did as well, but didn’t have the range of more expensive pieces. I’m an admittedly poor excuse for an audiophile, but I still thought the bass could have been a bit crisper. For stuff like music and podcasts, it held its own when close to me; at distance it was not as sharp.

I thought the use of the handset function was a bit gimmicky at first, but I found a major use for it: the final piece of a VOIP telephony solution for a tablet.For calls that came in while using the speakers, I simply adjusted volume and placed to my ear. Of course, the sound stream was not as direct as a “real” handset, but it did an adequate job.

All in all, the Coda Onemay not blow the roof off in any one category, but I felt its true value is in its overall utility and portability. It easily became close to indispensable, something that can be used for many things. It can be purchased on Newegg, eBay and Amazon, and moreinfo on this and other bCoda products can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

CES 2012: Phorus Introduces PlayCast Speaker and Receiver

CES 2012: Phorus Introduces PlayCast Speaker and Receiver

Jan 12, 2012

Why should iOS devices have all the wireless audio beaming fun? There’s AirPlay this, AirPort speakers that, and the Apple TV, which is basically an iPod touch that Apple repurposed into a streaming media player. However, over in the land of green robots, Android owners have typically had to hook their phones up to speakers with wires like some kind of barbarian. There are some apps that can utilize AirPlay, but only in limited, unofficial fashion due to Apple’s control over their protocols.

Android owners deserve better! Phorus is introducing products to make this a reality for Android owners: 802.11n-capable wifi audio devices for use with Android phones. The PlayCast Speaker is a wifi-enabled speaker that Android phones can connect to through the upcoming PlayCast app, and can play music with lossless audio, and the ability to adjust volume from the PlayCast app. Multiple PlayCast speakers can be set up on the same network, and can be set to play the same music on them, all synchronized together. They can also play music independently. The PlayCast Speaker will be available for $199 in March.

The PlayCast Receiver is designed for those who have a speaker setup that they would like to integrate with PlayCast. The receiver works exactly the same as the PlayCast Speaker, with the added ability to connect via Bluetooth. This means that any music app can take advantage of PlayCast via the Receiver, and can operate over the PlayCast network. The PlayCast Receiver will be available in March for $149.

The PlayCast App will be free, and will offer not just music library indexing and playback, but also claims to support several streaming music services, which will be streamable to PlayCast speakers in the same lossless quality.

Android has had a lack of high-quality, high-end accessories that iOS has enjoyed, despite the sheer number of Android devices out there. This is a curious gambit from Phorus, and it will be interesting to see if users, will be interested in picking these up in the way that iOS users have made accessories like these a lucrative market.