There’s a long way from boomboxes to Bluetooth speakers, but hey, humankind made sure that no matter what happens, it can always take some music on the go.
Inateck, the German company that tries to cover as many options as possible in terms of accessories for computers (both in the desktop and notebook varieties) and mobile devices, currently has seven Bluetooth speakers in its portfolio. This number is bound to grow in the future, as the manufacturer is continuously looking to improve the quality of the materials, the functionality, and the design of its products. BP2001, the subject of this review, is a Bluetooth speaker that’s meant to be used in tandem with smartphones, tablets, and even older MP3 players.
Contents of the Box
The black cardboard box pictured below didn’t have much inside. The speaker comes in a plastic shell that protects it during transportation. Other than that, there’s an audio cable with 3.5mm jacks on both ends, an Instruction Manual in English (that you can download from here, in case you misplace it), and a USB to microUSB cable for charging the speaker.
Design and Build Quality
Most of the speaker’s body is made of plastic, but because Inateck has used some very high quality plastic, and great materials in general, the product doesn’t feel cheap at all. The sides, bottom and back side of the speaker are glossy and very elegant, but there’s also a downside to that. Glossy plastic is a fingerprint and dust magnet, but as long as you have a microfiber cloth around, you’ll be just fine. The only thing you should worry about is how easy it is to scratch the plastic. The rubber feet on the bottom will prevent the speaker from moving around.
The speaker has a horizontal orientation, and can only sit in one position. Its upper side acts as a stand for mobile phones, tablets or mp3 players, provided that they are thin enough to fit there. In that aspect, the Inateck BP2001 really comes up with something that distinguishes it from the competition.
The stand is able to hold a 5.5″ phablet without any problems, even when the smartphone is positioned vertically. However, a tablet is a wholly different matter, as it is much larger, but also heavier than a smartphone. Because of that, some sort of leg needs to be deployed from the back of the speaker.
Also on the back of the speaker there are a 3.5mm port for auxiliary input, an On/Off switch and a microUSB port for charging the speaker using the included cable (or any other USB to microUSB cable, for that matter). In the above picture you can also see how the leg is hidden into place when not needed for additional support.
The front is dominated by a silver round button that’s surrounded by a black circle. On the button there is the Inateck logo along with symbols that suggest what the buttons if for. In a few words: ending calls and controlling playback. Unfortunately, the only options available are Play and Pause. I would have loved to see some Volume Up/Down buttons, or even some for skipping tracks. Maybe the company will implement that in future models. The black circle surrounding the silver button includes three backlit symbols: AUX, a battery indicator and a Bluetooth connectivity indicator.
Since this is a 10 Watt Bluetooth speaker, it can get pretty loud. It wouldn’t be impossible to throw a small party using one of these, especially if we’re talking about a picnic or something of the sort. The 5W speakers are positioned to each side of the central button, and provided that the mobile device is in range (it is a Bluetooth v2.1 device, after all), they should blast the sound right into the ears of the listeners.
The smartphone/tablet/mp3 player can be positioned either in portrait or landscape mode. As far as the type of audio being played back, Inateck’s Bluetooth speaker makes no discrimination. You can listen to music, watch movies or even play games, and any corresponding audio will be driven through the two speakers.
While the sound is not as crisp as when using a fully-fledged speaker, and lacks a punchy bass, it is still great for occasional listening. After all, Bluetooth speakers are built with portability in mind, and should be regarded as portable devices. A sort of hiss is audible at low volumes, when standing close to the speaker, but that seems to be the case with many other Bluetooth speakers, and its definitely not noticeable at a higher volume. Sound doesn’t get distorted at maximum volume, but its overall quality will depend on the music you’re listening to and the equalizer settings. In a few words, the sound quality is impressive for a device at this price point.
Don’t own a smartphone or a tablet? This speaker will work just fine with older MP3/MP4/MP5 players, and even with portable CD players. All that you need to do is connect the source to the speaker using the AUX port and the included audio cable.
Charging the internal, non-removable 800mAh battery takes two hours and a half using a 1A charger, suggesting that the input current is much lower than 1 Amp. I managed to get about 6 hours of continuous playback out of it, so I’m satisfied, from that point of view. If you have a power bank with you while you’re on the road, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Price and Availability
As with all its other products, Inateck has chosen Amazon as its distribution channel for the BP2001 Bluetooth speaker. Consequently, it can be found on Amazon US ($29.99), UK (£28.99), Germany(EUR 29,99), France (EUR 34,99), Italy (EUR 37,99), Spain (EUR 36,99), Japan, and Canada (CDN$ 35.99).
There are several aspects that could use some improvements, including the battery life and playback control. Sound quality could also be tweaked a little bit, but other than that, the BP2001 from Inateck is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable Bluetooth speaker.
Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories about Inateck’s 3-port USB 3.0 hub with Gigabit Ethernet, or Inateck’s 4-port USB travel wall charger.