Company: TaoTronics Product: TaoTronics Bluetooth Speaker Price: $59.99 Compatibility: All iOS devices Website: TaoTronics (Amazon) Date: Nov. 25, 2015
The iPad Pro might feature four impressive built-in speakers, but for the majority of our iOS devices, the process of booming out music, movies, or even podcasts is pretty dire. The sound our iPhones and iPads produce is often low and weak, the speakers rattle, and the quality is altogether too poor to stand for any length of time. The good news, however, is that a huge range of speakers can connect up to an iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth, and can enhance the quality of sound coming from our iOS devices.
TaoTronics offers one such speaker: a Bluetooth-compatible device that, for $59.99, can give your iOS device a volume boost. But is this speaker worth the price? Let’s find out.
TaoTronics’ speaker is a small, lightweight, portable device that connects using Bluetooth to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (or, more generally speaking, any device that supports Bluetooth connectivity). When you first power the speaker on (using a pad of buttons at the top), it emits a pleasant tone before beginning its pairing process. Usefully, aside from this tone signal, a couple of LED lights along the top of the speaker let users know exactly what TaoTronics’ device is doing, while also offering an indication of the speaker’s current battery life.
TaoTronics’ speaker from the front.
Once connected, iOS device owners can begin sending audio to the speaker, and the results are decent for most use cases. Podcasts, for instance, sound fine, as does most (but not all) music. The problem with TaoTronics’ speaker is its treble range: as soon as a piece moves up the octave and towards higher tones, the speaker begins to rattle and this is a big problem. As someone who listens to a lot of classical music and musical theatre, TaoTronics’ speaker just isn’t good enough in this respect; last night while testing the device, composers ranging from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Stephen Sondheim struggled to see their music come through properly on TaoTronics’ speaker. This is a real shame.
But for $59.99, you sometimes get what you pay for, and this is certainly the case with TaoTronics’ device. Your more mainstream music (and certainly the podcasts I’ve tested) all sounded fine, if not excellent, coming through the device.
At the back, you can find a charging port and an aux input port.
Battery life is great, offering a decent six hours of playback on a single charge. Recharges can be made using an included adapter and a USB port, though you could speed up the process through hooking the lead up to your iPhone or iPad adapter. You can also enjoy a good range of connectivity with the speaker, too (some 30 feet with the device), allowing owners to move around while streaming music from their iPhone. On a final note, it’s worth stressing again that, from an aesthetic point of view, TaoTronics’ speaker looks fantastic. The only shortcoming is the way the device handles pieces heavy in the treble range. As such, if your music tastes are aligned even remotely with my own, this is perhaps a speaker to avoid.