The Bluetooth speaker market is one which is seeing a boom of late. As a result, the number of options that are currently available on the market is constantly growing. The benefits of such a surge in activity is that there is now a Bluetooth speaker to fit just about every budget. From the really affordable options right up to the cr¨me de la cr¨me of Bluetooth speakers. If you fall into the former category and are looking for a good performing speaker at an affordable price, then there is now plenty to choose from including the VENSTAR Taco Bluetooth Speaker.
The VENSTAR Taco Bluetooth speaker comes equipped with two 3W full range 50mm drivers. The frequency range on offer ranges from 10 Hz to 20,000 Hz while the Signal to Noise ratio (S/N) is 80 dB. In terms of connectivity, the system runs on Bluetooth 4.0 and as such, offers a connection range of up to 30 metres away from the target device. Inside, the Taco comes sporting a 1,400 mAh rechargeable battery which offers in the range of 12+ hours per charge. Moving to the physical dimensions of the speaker and the Taco comes in at 63 mm in height, 210 mm in width, 63 mm in depth and weighs 12.3 ounces. Additional features on offer include a built-in microphone for hands-free calling as well as NFC support and a single 3.5mm audio in jack socket.
Hardware & Design
When It comes to the design of this speaker, there is no escaping the name. Taco is the product and it is designed to look like a taco when laid flat. As such, this one does come with an extremely unique form factor, compared to the other options currently available and is unique in its own right directly out of the box.
Moving away from the taco look, the speaker adopts a clear red and black coloring which further adds to its individual appearance and instantly results in a rather noticeable product when placed around the home. The speaker is largely plastic in material and primarily consists of the speaker venting down each side of the 'taco'. The inside of the taco consists of additional rubberdized grills down the left and right side of the speaker and the pair meet in the centre where the main control hub resides.
In terms of those controls, the up facing control panel consists of four main controls – standby, skip track/volume up, back track/volume down and the last control utilizes the play/stop feature, as well as the hands free calling activation and the Bluetooth pairing mode activation. In particular, it is worth noting that the buttons on this one are real nice and firm pressing buttons. As such, there is no mistaking when pressing any of the buttons. On some units, you will find that the buttons are too soft and require very heavy pressure to activate the feature. This is not the case with the Taco which produces a true click when pressed.
Closing out the design of the Taco, the bottom of the speaker adopts a protruding panel which essentially acts as both the pivot and the rest for the speaker.
Performance & Battery Life
Compared to a number of the other options available in the Bluetooth speaker market, the Taco is designed to be small and portable. As such, the volume on this one will not reach the dizzy heights that you would expect from a high-end speaker. That said, for the size of the speaker, the sound quality encountered was surprisingly good. The Taco is able to effectively account for a variety of music styles and offers the user a great choice for a portable, but functional speaker. It is also worth pointing out that this is a feature heavy speaker. As well as the general Bluetooth connectivity and playback, the Taco is able to offer hands-free calling and during testing, did so pretty well. Not to mention, this one also includes NFC technology built-in offering a much more reliable connection when connecting to a device.
When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, battery life does matter, as you do not want a speaker which needs to be continually powered from the mains. Not to mention, one of the best features of Bluetooth speakers is their portable nature and therefore, you certainly do not want battery life becoming an issue when you are away from home and using the speaker. Well, this is where the Taco really makes a difference. This is a very small speaker and therefore, you might be concerned that the 1,400 mAh battery inside is also small or limited in its ability to provide a sufficient charge? Well, don't be. The Taco, in spite of its size was able to run for hours during testing. The company claims that the battery can offer upwards of 12 hours per charge and it is safe to say that daily usage of the speaker never required an additional charge top-up. During testing, the unit will easily offer hours of continuous playback.
The VENSTAR Taco is one of the speakers which adopts a unique appearance, coupled with a decent level of audio reproduction. Keeping in mind, that this is designed to be a more affordable and portable Bluetooth speaker, this is a good option for those looking for something smaller to take with them while also not compromising on the sound quality. The VENSTAR Taco retails for $99.99 although it is currently available at a significant reduced $39.99 cost. For that kind of money, this is a great option to pick up as a portable Bluetooth speaker which can also offer you the convenience of taking calls too.