Portable music players have come a long way in my lifetime. In the beginning, transistor radios were the latest and greatest. Then the Walkman portable cassette player wowed the world and introduced the concept of personal music. You could listen to your cassette player all by yourself, even in public. If the player had any speaker at all, it was tiny and tinny. Then there were portable CD players. If you wanted to share your music with the world around you, you had to get a boom box. Once the portable MP3 player ruled the world, playing your music so others could hear it required external speakers of some kind. Today, with the popularity of Bluetooth technology, there are tons of speakers to choose from. What does the iClever BT505 20W speaker offer that sets it apart from the crowd? Let's find out, in this review:
Unboxing the iClever BT505 speaker (IC-BTH05)
The speaker arrived in a plain brown cardboard box that was surprisingly heavy for its size. I found this promising because heavy speakers mean bigger magnets and (usually) better sound. The box only showed the product name, a drawing of the speaker and its serial number, SKU and the manufacturer's website.
Inside the box was the nice red and black speaker itself, a USB cable, an audio-in cable and a small user manual. It's somewhat abbreviated product page is here.
This wireless Bluetooth speaker is 7.6 inches (195 mm) wide, 2.6 inches (68 mm) high and 2.59 inches (66 mm) deep and it weighs 1.9 pounds (0.86 kg).
The iClever BT505 20W speaker is, depending on which description you read, splash resistant or water resistant. iClever doesn't go into any detail about this, nor is this feature even mentioned in the user manual, but the controls are covered, and the ports on the back have a rubberized door that seals them from the outside (and presumably from the water). I'll talk more about the controls in a bit. Here is the back of the speaker.
And here is the top.
The important stuff about the iClever BTS05 speaker (IC-BTH05)
Seeing what a speaker looks like is fine, but what most people want to know is what it sounds like. I decided to pair it up with my 6th generation iPod Touch, which has quite an eclectic library--everything from 50s rock to classical to modern reggaeton and hip-hop. My favorite playlist puts all the titles in alphabetical order, so the music goes through quite a few changes as it plays.
The Bluetooth pairing couldn't have been easier. I turned on the speaker, then looked in the iPod's Bluetooth section till the speaker appeared. I tapped the speaker name, and that was all it took. Unlike some of my other Bluetooth devices, the pairing seems to stick--it's been a week, and the connection hasn't broken even once.
The sound was crisp and clear and didn't distort even at higher levels, which my sensitive ears appreciated. One of the quirks I found is that the plus and minus signs on the top of the speaker are not volume controls, as I thought they were. They were for going forward and back in the playlist. The iPod's volume control raised and lowered the levels.
Although the product description promised "advanced bass enhancement technology" you aren't going to get thundering bass out of any small speaker, no matter how heavy the magnets are. Still, the bass was good enough and a pleasant change from the somewhat tiny portable speaker I had been using.
You have an aux-in port and cable to connect non-Bluetooth devices, but I did not test that.
The battery is supposed to last up to 12 hours, which is great for a Bluetooth speaker.
So does it sing in the shower?
I must admit I was a little hesitant to get the speaker wet, but I realized that in the interest of thorough testing I had to, shall we say, take the plunge. 🙂 I put the speaker on the rack in our shower, but I left the iPod in the next room because I know Apple will cheerfully run my AppleCare warranty through the shredder if they detect water damage.
The pairing was not lost, even through walls, and the speaker played merrily on, but in the shower, the noise of the water interfered with that nice crisp sound. Still, it did work as described and getting splashed did not harm it in any way that I could see.
Pros and cons
There's a lot to like about the iClever BTS05 20W waterproof Bluetooth speaker:
- Pairing with your Bluetooth device is super easy
- Affordable price
- The sound quality is good for a device this size
- It's water resistant
There are also some minor downsides, like:
- Larger and heavier than many similar speakers, so not as portable
- The bass is not as powerful as advertised. However, it is enjoyable
The iClever BT505 20W waterproof Bluetooth speaker looks good, is well made and performs well, especially for a product in this reasonable price range. Pairing it with a Bluetooth device is a snap, and the sound is good even at low or high levels. The bass enhancement doesn't produce strong bass (you can always buy a boom box for that, right?) but it does sound better than other speakers in this price range. It is water resistant as promised, but only you can decide whether it's worth listening to it in the shower or if you'll just sing your tunes as you always have. It's a strong performer in a crowded field and well worth a look and listen.