Bluetooth speakers are a market segment that has exploded in the last few years. In the past if you wanted to take music with you on the go you could take your phone or go for the classic boom box but there wasn’t a good easy way to bring music outdoors or to those places where it wasn’t normally available. Bluetooth speakers have changed this and dropped in price while increasing in batter life, sound quality and looks and the iClever wireless Bluetooth speaker is a great example.
The first thing that strikes you about the iClever speaker is it’s looks. It’s a grey and relatively thin and light brick shaped box which simultaneously manages to fade into the background and looks quite stylish whenever it does catch the eye. That compact thin shape also makes it ideal to slip into your bag and I found it fit into the phone pockets on a couple of my daily carry bags – the phone itself being in my pocket of course. The top of the speaker has 5 rubber buttons – power, 2 volume/track selection buttons, play/pause and a bluetooth pair / hangup button. Next to these is a microphone and then moving to the side of the speaker behind a rubber cover is a 3.5mm in jack and a microUSB port for charging the internal 1800mAh battery. iClever claims 10 hours of playback and I found this to be fairly accurate depending on how loud I played it – at full volume it’s more like 8 and at speaking volume around 11.
That rubber cover is there because the speaker is IPX5 rated. In real terms that means it can handle reasonable water jets like those you’d find in the shower but immersion in water is out. I’ve taken it in the shower and while I’d not be comfortable leaving it in the direct spray it handled the humid atmosphere and splashback happily and would handle most rainstorms. That grey case is made of relatively thin aluminum and it’s survived a couple of drops unscathed in the last few weeks.
This is all great but it doesn’t answer the biggest question about speakers – how do they sound. The unit has two 5W speakers built in and first impressions are positive – they go much louder than I’d expected and doesn’t break up a higher volumes. The quality is reasonable with slightly tinny trebles, less bass than would be ideal but well served mids. I’d not judge it sufficient for dedicated music listening by a an audiophile but it works well for background music or for spoken word like podcasts. There’s a microphone included for using the unit as a hands free speakerphone which while not something I’d do often works well in a quiet environment.
Price: ± £ 25
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
iClever was formed in 2010 as a consumer electronics manufacturer and designs, makes and sells a range of products including chargers, FM transmitters, tablets and bluetooth devices. We’ve previously reviewed and recommended their six port USB charger and Bluetooth Keyboard.
The iClever speaker is well priced against its competition with most models of comparable specification – battery size and wattage – being between £20 and £30. The iClever’s big selling point is both it’s compactness and it’s looks. The competition is almost uniformly plastic and favors bright colors as opposed to the understated looks of the iClever.
Product dimensions: 16.2 x 6.4 x 2.8cm cm
Item Weight: 256 grams
Colour: Gunnmetal grey and black
Materials: Aluminum, ABS plastic and rubber
Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth profile: A2DP, HFP, AVRCP
Charging time: 3-4 hours depending on the wattage of the charger
Water resistant: IPX5
A phone or other device that can provide the music stream either over bluetooth channel or via the 3.5mm connector.
Getting your music when you’re on the go or in an unusual location is much easier than it used to be but we still happily accept lower volumes and often qualities. What we prioritize is toughness, waterproof and compactness – looks and a decent battery life don’t hurt either. The iClever speaker isn’t going to win any awards for it it’s audio fidelity but it provides decent sound at a good volume in a compact, economic and showerproof package. If you need a speaker for your shower or bag it’s a sensible budget choice.
The review is based on the iClever Wireless Bluetooth Speakers with Enhanced Bass 10W Output from Dual Driver Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker kindly provided by iClever. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco and access icons used in reviews. This article was first published on 24th August 2016.