It’s great to have a mobile device that holds music. But there is a downside — the mobile device usually has a tiny speaker (mono, even) with no “oomph” to speak of. But carrying around a portable speaker means two lousy things: 1)something bulkier than the mobile device that has to be carted, and 2)cables that not only have to be used, but stored away between uses, and 3)you’re not getting enough volume from them to make it worth all the trouble. What’s needed is a portable speaker set that obviates all these problems. Which is why using the DBEST Duo Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speaker Set makes so much sense.
Start with the size — each of the two speakers is about the size of the bottom of a 4-ounce paper cup — a non-slippery, gripping, rubberized dull-black to stay unobtrusive, although there is a magenta-highlighted grill at one end. Each of the two speakers stands using a three legged-like bottom so the speaker grill faces up — the reason for the odd bottom design is that when they’re not being used, you mate the two ends together like a jigsaw puzzle to form what looks like, to me, to be one honkin’ big cold capsule.
Because there’s magnets in each base, the two speakers stay together when mated. This makes popping them into the included soft pouch for tossing into your back pocket, glove compartment, knapsack, whatever easy.
Okay, so they’re small and easy to transport — but how do you use them? With Bluetooth, of course. You’ve already charged the main speaker (it’s the one with the USB micro-socket) for about 3 hours earlier on a laptop, desktop or with a USB AC charger. Now push the “On” button on the side and two things happen: a blue LED illuminates from below, and a “beep/blap” Bluetooth-pairing sound emanates from the speaker. Go to the Bluetooth section of your mobile device and find the new device name that now has appeared. Select it so the two are paired (in rare cases you might need to enter a “0000” password). That’s it. Now you can stream audio (mostly music, you’d think) to the speakers which are fully 2.1+EDR Bluetooth compatible.
To get a stereo effect, you separate the two from each other. Rather than worry about how far apart to make them, this is dictated by the mini-jack audio cable that plugs into the main speaker’s output socket and then into the secondary speakers input socket (this is generic so you can buy a longer one than that which is included). The distance between the mobile device and the speakers is unimportant — there’s about 40 feet of “wiggle room” — because it’s not like you’re going to put the speakers down and then walk away from them.
Now a 2 watt amplifier doesn’t sound like much “oomph” — but you have to consider that there’s two speakers working, each firing up so that the sound isn’t being muffled in any way. Playing a variety of tunes from my iPhone and from my computer into the DBEST Duo Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speaker Set over the course of a few days (only can stream from one at a time, duh) shows me a couple of things:
- The treble is better than reasonable — resulting in clean vocals and a midrange that is not being muddied. That also means using it as speakers for a phone call is fine.
- Bass is unexpectedly good — not super great but a solid 6.5 out of 10 — which makes a good score when you consider the physical dimensions of the speakers. Should you want to moderate the bass directly, it would have to be from the audio source device, but in most instances it added a nice “heft” to the audio. I’d say it sounds as least as good, if not better, than a moderately priced pair of in-ear headphones from Audio-Technica, for example.
- You can rotate the volume wheel on the main speaker’s side almost all the way and still not hear any hiss or distortion (provided, of course, that the source is clear of this too).
For a good demo of the speakers overall sound quality, try listening to Shake It Up by the Cars — their stuff always has good stereo separation, so it’s a good test of this as well as the clarity of the vocals, midrange and bass.
What about time between charges? DBEST says you can get up to 20 hours wireless (40 if wired, which means connecting the main speaker directly to a USB socket on a computer), but “up” means nothing. How about I turn them on and leave them on during the workday while playing tunes from my computer to give me some indication of when a recharge is needed? Eight hours and going strong before I had to move on to other things. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
Bottom line: That the DBEST Duo Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speaker Set performs well is one thing. That a $70 retail results in a pair of speakers that are easy to transport, good to look at and work efficiently through Bluetooth is another. You need to call out for a pair of portable speakers if your mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) is the main conveyor of music and you don’t always want headphones glued to your ears when out and about. The DBEST Duo Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speaker Set will respond.
- Colored LEDs indicate battery charging/playback status
- Multi-use USB charging/mini-jack input audio cable included
- Compact, magnetic speaker design
- Wired cord between main and secondary speaker necessary
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.