Bluedio is a company known for their high quality audio products. Specializing in a market as wide and varied as audio products can be tough, but there's enough niches to fill as you delve deep into the audience that exists for each type of product. Take Bluetooth wireless devices for instance, Bluedio makes a number of different Bluetooth products including the UFO Faith headphones for one, and most of their products feature something pretty unique: 3D sound. Relying on 3D DSP and positional speakers to get the job done, many of Bluedio's products can spatialize the stereo sound coming from your Bluetooth connected device and do wonders with it. Does the third generation Hurricane BS-3 Bluetooth speaker live up to the hype here? Let's take a look.
A mere $45 nets you a pretty impressive package that feels pseudo-premium from the onset. The box gives a wonderful first impression, but don't take our word for it, check out our unboxing of it here. The box has some pretty pedestrian contents including the obvious speaker itself, a microUSB charging cable and a 3.5mm cable for times you don't want to use Bluetooth for audio transmission. As far as specs are concerned the Hurricane is a little ahead of most on the market boasting a brand new Bluetooth 4.1 chipset as well as supporting a load of Bluetooth profiles including A2DP, AVRCP, HSP and HFP. Two 5W 50mm drivers are behind the sound quality here and operate between 20Hz and 20KHz, giving a pretty nice range of sound for various types of music and audio. The unit also supports higher quality audio at [email protected] While the actual battery size isn't quoted Bluedio says it can last up to 5 hours of continuous music playing without needing a recharge. The speaker is pretty large at 22.7 x 6.8 x 7.4 cm and has a good weight to it too at 1.015kg.
Hardware & Design
Bluedio is definitely going for that premium look here, but given that it's a plastic build the feeling of premium goes away once you pick the speaker up. Still that doesn't mean it feels cheap, it's just made of plastic and can't hide that regardless of the weight it carries. Under that plastic shell are dual 50mm metal sound drivers that make up the bulk of the weight, and given that the battery is only slated to last around 5 hours of playback time it's not likely the battery lends too much heft to the unit as it is. On top are five rubber buttons that sit rather loosely on the circuit boards underneath. These buttons represent Mute, 3D Audio, Volume up, Volume down and Power. Oddly enough this mute button just shuts the audio on the speaker off and doesn't actually pause the music, and there's no play/pause button either.
On the bottom is a large rubber pad to keep the speaker in place, and it generally does a great job too given that the speaker weights a little bit to begin with. Speaker grills on the front and back help emit the 3D audio when enabled. Our unit came in gold, which was a really nice color and looked unique compared with some other speakers on the market. It also gives a more classy feel to the unit, eschewing the more "fun" colors other speakers might have for ones that look better in an office or more elegant environment. That includes gold, silver, black and white colors just to be clear. Again given that this one is going for a more premium look rather than an actual premium feel, this fits right in with the design and the price tag. To put this one in pairing mode it just requires a longer press of the power button when turning the unit on, and all modes are spoken via a female voice to ensure you don't get confused.
Audio & Battery Life
Right away you'll likely notice the clarity of the audio coming out of these speakers. The range of mids and highs are pretty incredible and the overall clarity of the signal is something truly superb. Unfortunately the level of bass needs a little help, and that $45 price tag really starts to show through when you try to play music that's more bass-dependent. This isn't to say the speaker doesn't emit any bass at all, you'll certainly hear the bassline and will feel the low tones as you crank the volume up, but you're not going to be rattling any windows or getting your blood pumping with drums here. While the audio seems a tad flat in normal mode a quick press of the 3D audio button emits an audible tone to note that the mode has switched, and the way the sound fills the room helps tell you 3D audio is definitely enabled. It's this 3D audio that really sold me on the unit and delivers some pretty incredible audio quality in any room. As it's spatial audio the smaller the room the more rich the audio is going to be, so keep that in mind when trying to use it in your living room or something similar.
Speaking of filling the room, volume levels are nothing short of fantastic, and the level of distortion even at max volume is impressive. With Bluetooth audio and the speaker audio maxed out I still didn't get any audible distortion; something most bluetooth speakers at this price and volume level will have a very difficult time competing with. I didn't really find the need to adjust the audio with my phone's built-in equalizer either regardless of the phone I used, showing me this is already a pretty well tuned speaker to begin with. Battery life was good but nothing stellar, and while I surpassed the quoted 5 hours of playback time from Bluedio it wasn't quite a full day's worth of listening until the unit died.
For $45 it's going to be tough to find a better speaker. If you're looking for a little more bass and don't mind spending just a little bit more you might want to check out the LKER King Bluetooth speaker instead, but for those seeking a lower cost speaker this is easily one of the better ones I've used at this price range. The plastic build looks better than it feels, and the rubberized buttons on top feel a little bit on the cheap side, but if this one is just sitting on a shelf its looks and color range will definitely complement any shelf and look good while doing it. Battery life isn't anything crazy but it'll last most of the day if you're listening non-stop, however the 3D audio is something truly worth checking out. Check out the $45.99 deal at GearBest, our trusted partner for lots of quality Chinese products.