Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Geek Gadgets: Inateck BP1109 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Reivew

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, so when it comes to finding one that is perfect for you your decision will often boil down to only a few things. How good the sound quality is. How portable the speaker is and how long the battery will last. Typically though,  little thought is given toward the aesthetics of  your speaker. The Inateck BP1109 might just change that!

Even though it appears as though they have been around for a few years, for most Inateck is going to be an unfamiliar name. The company offers all kinds of accessories or upgrades, including Expansion Cards, Power Supplies & Batteries, Cables & Tools, Wireless Accessories and Cell Phone Accessories. However, they specialize in HDD docking stations and enclosures as well as USB cables, chargers and other USB add-on solution. 

The Inateck BP1109 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is one of the company's newer offerings, though they have had a few different line-ups of wireless speakers in the past. The BP1109 aims to be ultra-portable without sacrificing style. It is built almost entirely from aluminum which offers a sleek modern design.

The circular design and slender 78x34mm (approx 3"x1.25") body makes it easy to slip into a bag. Unfortunately the speaker is a bit hefty. Weighing 260g which makes it conspicuous for a device of these dimensions. The weight certainly isn't ideal for carrying in a pocket! The majority of the weight comes from the reasonably-sized battery. It offers 6 hours of playback from 1-2 hours of charging.

The top of the device houses the plastic speaker grille. On the bottom, you'll find the basic control panel, a series of four buttons for volume, track transport, power, input mode and play and pause. A small panel on the back houses the charging port, 3.5mm input jack and a Micro SD card slot. You can play music over Bluetooth, via a traditional cable or directly from your Micro SD card. 

Unlike the beeps and chirps of other Bluetooth accessories, the BP1109 will say "Bluetooth on" and "Waiting for Bluetooth connection" when you turn it on, making it obvious what state the device is in. With a Micro SD card inserted into the speaker it will default to "TS Mode" and will automatically detect and play whatever media files are found on the card.

Inateck says the aluminum uni-body design enables the 3.2W speaker to project music "loud and clear" and eliminate excessive sound resonance. For the most part the circular design offers impressive volumes levels, and reasonable sound. Since the speaker is omnidirectional sound travels upward and out offering no real sense of direction or immersion which for some could be a negative. This works well however in an outdoor environment or group setting allowing for more overall sound dispersion something we saw as a bonus!

In testing sound quality was reasonable, but inconsistent based on the types of music played and overall range of the songs listened to. Songs with a heavy bass line bleed out at higher volumes, while songs with more of a mid-range focus came through loud and clear.

I listen to a wide range of music so I tested our Inateck BP1109 with everything from country to classical to jazz to rock and roll. I even threw in some house and heavy bass laden techno just to see where we'd stand, and all of them came through at respectable levels. Given the speaker is meant to be ultra-portable it won't knock you over, but it does offer enough volume to drown out the noisy neighbors or bother the old folks sitting pool-side force-ably listening along with you!
- Achieves great volume level with dispersive sound
- Stylish design looks good while adding to the portability
- Can play music directly from a micro SD card - a major plus in my book
- Sound quality is inconsistent and can degrade at higher volumes
- Lacking in bass output
- Surprisingly high in weight relative to its size
Sound quality and clarity of course are very subjective and we each have our own preferences here. As I previously mentioned my experience was a bit inconsistent with some songs sounding great and others 'just ok'. At $20, the speaker is well-priced and has a build quality usually reserved for more expensive devices. On form and design alone I could give it a nod above some of the other units on the market in the same price range.

Battery life is rated at 6 hours, which most manufactures in our opinion over rate. So during our testing we hadn't expected the results we actually saw! We ran our speaker for 3 straight hours with no issues. Ran it again the next day for almost another 3 hours straight and honestly ran out of testing time for our day. I was actually shocked! We didn't get to test the full out to dead time, not because the battery ran out, but because we wanted to re-charge the speaker for other tests and just couldn't keep going till it died!

Overall I'm going to say I'm really surprised with our Inateck BP1109. It is considerably louder than the rest of the BT Speakers I have in the office right now and hold a charge considerably longer than anything I've had the chance to test. I wish the sound quality was a bit better, but I'll give this speaker a thumbs up!! 

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