When it comes to Bluetooth portable speakers, there's a definite compromise between portability, sound quality and volume. Larger speakers have the advantage when it comes to sound quality and volume but are less portable. Smaller speakers are much easier to carry around but often don't sound as pleasing to the ear. What we've been seeing in the last couple of years is how even the smaller speakers are sounding better and better, plus components are becoming more and more efficient. The result is good sounding speakers with longer battery life and better sound quality than before; and so enter the Inateck BTSP 10 Bluetooth Speaker, complete with dual speakers built into the compact chassis.
The BTSP 10 has been designed to be portable. It comes with a carry case to stop the device from getting marked or scuffed – although the speaker has a rubbery, high-grip feel and the speaker is very well built. It's about the size of my 8oz insulated coffee flask and it's rumored that I can get three of those into my satchel! Battery life is quoted as being between five to eight hours; in my experience it was closer to eight hours but I had the speaker at a modest volume. In an ideal world, you can wirelessly stream music to the speaker via Bluetooth although Inateck include a 3.5mm port and a cable if you would like to go wired. I tested this to see how well it works (and it's works well) but I didn't see if there was any difference to battery life when used in wired range. I also couldn't tell any difference in the sound quality when I tried this but bear in mind that my hearing isn't brilliant and I wasn't testing the speaker in a quiet environment.
When it comes to wireless streaming, Inateck quote a thirty foot range and this depends on what else is in the way. Pairing is as easy as holding down the Bluetooth button for a few seconds and searching for the speaker using your device's Bluetooth menu – there's no NFC on this speaker. I tested the speaker with a total of seven devices (what can I say, I collect them…) including Android and Windows tablets, plus Android smartphones: switching between the devices was as easy as manually disconnecting from one device and selecting it in another.
Sound quality is clear and crisp. As expected, compared with some of the larger, less portable speakers, the BTSP 10 lacks depth of bass. For those environments where there is a lot of bass noise clutter such as my office, at a moderate volume this type of speaker is perfect because it's easy to hear lyrics without being an annoyance to colleagues around you.
However, the Inateck has a secret weapon and one that has caused me to test out that carry pouch and coffee flask size every day since I bought it: the speaker has a built-in microphone and the crisp, clear audio makes it a superb speakerphone. It's easy to hear the caller and sound quality at the other side was reported at being okay. Callers said that they could tell I was on a speakerphone but could still hear me. I'm a fan of using wireless speakers for music and calls when I'm working because it means I don't have to completely stop what I'm doing by holding my device as I talk.
I've come away impressed with the BTSP 10 Bluetooth Speaker. It sounds good, it's perfectly suited to offices and it's highly portable. But it's the speakerphone functionality that most impressed me the most. Inateck have recently dropped the price to £44.95 and it's available at from Amazon plus other resellers; you can check out the Inateck website here for more information.