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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Product Review: Sylvania SP260 Bluetooth Speaker

DCR-Exclusive post. This post is not mirrored on DreamClassier.com

I've been in the market for a low-cost, decent Bluetooth speaker for a while now, so it was one of the things I looked for when this year's Menards brown-bag sale rolled around. The local Menards always has a random selection of small electronics add-ons, and there I went to browse.

They had one type in stock, and when I pulled out my phone and went browsing for reviews, I found none. Zero. Zip.

That almost never happens.

But the speaker was cheap, even without the sale, so I picked one up, vowing to do something about that barren review-scape.

The speaker has decent range of volume for a small device, but the volume controls don't seem to work. To change volume, it has to be done through my mobile device, which isn't a terrible inconvenience, especially since that's what I expected to do anyway.

The speaker suffers at the highs and the lows, but the mid-range comes through nice and strong. However, it does have an auxiliary jack that seems perfectly willing and capable to play those weaknesses through my much better computer speakers.

The speaker has call-interface capability, or at least, it's marketed as such. Unfortunately, even speaking directly into the mic, I can't be heard at the other end of the line. That doesn't stop their voice from coming through nice and clear, however.

This is a hard one for me to evaluate, because any connectivity problems could just as easily be my smartphone's fault (which has enough problems of its own) and not the speaker's (though I'm starting to doubt that, given my lack of difficulties with my keyboard).

Yes, sometimes the speaker won't connect with my phone. Sometimes it loses the connection and then gains it back immediately, so my listening experience is peppered with the SP260's "reconnect chime" (this especially happens when streaming music through Gmote). Sometimes it takes a particular order of turning the speaker and my phone's bluetooth on and off in the right sequence, or a complete reboot to reconnect, but most of the time it doesn't even connect at all.

This is the least important quality as far as I'm concerned, but I feel the need to remark on it anyway. The speaker has a comfortable weight to it without being heavy, and given my taste in cell phones, that's a good thing in my book. It does have four non-skid pads on the bottom, for which I am grateful for. However, the flashing blue light showing that it's on and active is excessively bright and rather irritating. Also, the off-aux-bt switch is sticky and tight.

For the price, the quality of the sound output is good, but for the connectivity issues, the speaker is junk. Not recommended at all. Expect me to be looking into other low-cost bluetooth speakers in the future.

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