- Created on 16 June 2009
If you enjoy sharing your music, one of the most useful additions to your mobile and mp3 player is possibly a portable speaker that allows playback of your music amongst friends in a more sociable way. Various iterations of portable speaker are available, but by far the easiest and most adaptable is a bluetooth speaker.
The Linx BTube Bluetooth Rechargeable MP3 / iPod Speaker will fit the bill for most. As the name suggests the speaker system has a built-in bluetooth functionality that can be used to connect any A2DP compatible mobile phone or laptop, allowing not only playback but also a limited amount of control over the playback. The Linx BTube comes in either a black or like the one we reviewed, a brushed silver finish. The speakers are mounted at either end of the tube, which measures around 16cm in length, and controls for the device are also found at either end. The controls revolve around rotatable rings, with one end giving control over the speaker volume and the other providing a multifunctional button which allows for limited control over playback (track forward, reverse, etc.). Interestingly the speaker also incorporates a microphone so that it can be used as a speakerphone.
Pairing of the device was very simple with the bluetooth enabled Nokia phone we tried and we were happy playing music within in a minute. Using the bluetooth interface, music playback was reasonable, if a little tinny (as expected given the size of the speakers), but we did notice a slight hiss and a fair bit of distortion at higher volumes. When used as a speakerphone, audio quality was certainly acceptable but did suffer slightly from an echo on the receiver end.
Despite this we were impressed with the overall package, especially given the fact that the BTube is powered from a lithium-ion battery that allows for multiple charges and therefore saves a huge amount in AA bettery costs. The battery fully charged is capable of eight hours of playback time or fifteen hours when used as a speaker phone and the speaker can be recharged through the included USB cable.
If you don't have a bluetooth enabled device the BTube also has a normal headphone 3.5mm input and also a cable for connection. We found this form of input gave a better sound reproduction without the hiss associated with the bluetooth connection. In addition to the charging lead and the included audio cables, there is also a small plastic stand to stop the BTube rolling off tables and also a velour case for protecting the surface from scratches.
All things considered, the BTube provides a cheap and novel way of playing back music to a more public audience whilst out and about. The audio reproduction isn't going to blow you away, but there are very few handheld speaker systems that will, and certainly none at this price (at the time of writing: £15.90).
Amazon: LINX B-Tube Portable A2DP Bluetooth Speaker System