Many of us like listening to music and playing videos on our portable devices, but let's face it, using headphones or earbuds doesn't always work. If you want to share with others or if you don't want to have to keep your headphones on for the duration of a two hour movie, it's a lot easier to hook up a speaker. Inateck's BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is a good-looking, attractively priced entry into the increasingly crowded Bluetooth-speaker field. We received the speaker for testing and, after putting it through its paces for several days, we're going to let you know what we found in this review:
Unboxing The Inateck BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
As with many other Inateck products, the BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker arrived in a well designed matte black box, which in this case was enhanced by shiny black musical notes and clef signs.
There were no further details about the speaker on the box.
Inside, we found the speaker, a small instruction manual, and two cables, one microUSB and one "aux."
The instruction manual provided the specs for the speaker. The USA version's instruction manual was not written by a native English speaker and some of the text was unintentionally amusing, but it was easy enough to understand how everything was supposed to work.
The speaker arrived with at least enough charge to try it out, right out of the box, which we appreciated. While no charger is included, the speaker can be charged via any standard USB port or USB charger.
Setting It Up And Trying It Out
The BP-2001 speaker's controls are very simple. On the front, you'll see a circular area with a silver button in the middle with a phone icon and a play/pause icon. This works as you would expect--you can start and pause audio, and you can use the speaker with your Bluetooth capable phone, to make and receive speakerphone calls.
The back has jacks for the miniUSB and the aux cables, and an on/off switch. Very simple.
NOTE: The miniUSB cable is only for charging the speaker. If you want to hook up a non-Bluetooth device, you need to use the aux cable from the device's headphone jack.
There is also a flip-out stand that helps stabilize the speaker when you've got a tablet inserted in the slot on the top (which we'll see in a minute).
Here is a side view of the speaker showing the wide stable base and the slot on the top, which has a matte rubberized surface to help grip the devices inside it.
When you turn the speaker on, it emits a surprisingly loud series of chirps and trills. Since the speaker has no volume control of its own, this is something users will just have to live with.
Pairing The Speaker Via Bluetooth
Pairing the speaker with a Bluetooth device is simple. The speaker starts up in Bluetooth-connection mode, so all you have to do is switch on the speaker, follow the instructions for your device to make it discoverable, and the speaker will connect. We tried this with a variety of Bluetooth devices (phones, tablets and computers) and the connection went through without a hitch every time.
The speaker will trill at you when the connection is established (or, as the manual describes it, "the speaker gives out the prompt sound of ‘toot'"), and after that the Bluetooth light on the circular control will flash slowly to show you that the connection is working.
The manual says that if the speaker fails to make the Bluetooth connection within five minutes, it will shut itself off automatically. Since we never had a connection fail we didn't test this.
Once the connection is established you can start playing your media files. As we mentioned, the speaker has no volume control of its own, so you will have to control the playback volume with the controls on your device. If you really like to blast the sound, this may run your battery down faster than usual.
If your device is not Bluetooth capable, you connect it to the BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker with the "aux" cable provided in the box, via the device's headphone jack and the "aux" plug on the back of the speaker. This was just as easy as connecting via Bluetooth.
Again, you will have to use the device's volume controls to set the level, and this can make your device's battery run down faster.
After you pair your phone with the speaker, you can use the button on the front of the speaker to connect and disconnect your phone. This worked as well as a regular Bluetooth connection and the sound quality on both ends of the conversation was clear. But let's face it, nothing will make a speakerphone conversation sound like it's not a speakerphone. :)
So, How Does It Sound?
Just as ye canna change the laws o' physics, ye canna make a small speaker deliver big thumping bass, and we thought the 90Hz promised by the spec sheet might have been a tad optimistic. However, overall the sound was clear and without distortion even at higher volume levels, on all tested devices.
We tested the speaker with as wide a range of music as we could. Classical, jazz, classic rock, pop, Spanish pop, hip-hop, country, electronic music and movie soundtracks all came through very well. The dynamic range of the speaker was quite good and we could listen to both loud and soft passages without trouble. While there isn't much in the way of stereo separation, passages that appeared to travel from one side to the other were reproduced quite clearly.
All in all we'd say that the Inateck BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker makes a good companion to portable devices.
Where To Buy
While we found the Inateck BP-2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker exceptionally easy to use and pleasant to listen to, we're aware that the perception of sound is highly personal, and what sounds good to one person may hurt another person's ears. Since the speaker is not expensive, it would be well worth trying out to see if it suits your needs. To finish things off, here's a summary for its pros and cons:
- Attractive design
- Excellent physical support for devices in the top slot (with the stabilizing stand a plus)
- Super easy "no brainer" Bluetooth pairing
- Reasonable sound for a speaker this size
- Very reasonable price
- No separate volume control
- Startup sounds are pretty loud
- No carrying case, and the shiny surface on the back is vulnerable to scratches and fingerprints, plus it would be nice to have someplace to store the cords with the speaker