Reviewing the TP-Link Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001)
The Groovi Ripple is TP-LINK's first ever portable Bluetooth speaker, so it's obvious that the networking company is trying to enter new markets. Although they have a very good reputation when it comes to the networking devices that they create, this is their first encounter with portable sound tech. Did they do a good job or did they fail? We've h ad the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) in tests for more than 2 weeks and we've used it while at home, as well as on road trips and in outdoors travels, so we now we know what it can do for its users. If you want to know too, read this review:
Unboxing the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001)
The TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) comes in a black cardboard box. Although you can't actually see the speaker until you open the box, there's an image of it printed on the front side.
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Turn the box upside down or look on its sides and you'll also find details about its features and technical specifications.
Inside the package, you'll find the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001), a short Micro USB cable for charging the speaker, the user manual and the warranty card.
TP-LINK says that the Groovi Ripple is designed to offer full range audio with Real Sound, meaning that the speaker has a large sound driver which helps deliver a spacious and detailed sound. The TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) uses Bluetooth version 4.0 to connect to your smartphone, tablet or other devices. The immediate consequence is that you should be able to transmit and control the music you play on the speaker from a maximum distance of almost 20 meters or 66 feet.
Besides the wireless Bluetooth, the Groovi Ripple is also able to deliver sound via its built-in 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, which you can use to connect the speaker to any device that doesn't have a Bluetooth chip. Unfortunately though, TP-LINK didn't also include an audio cable inside the package and you have to purchase one separately.
TP-LINK's first portable Bluetooth speaker features a 3.7V 750mAh lithium-ion polymer battery that's officially able to keep the speaker running for about 4 hours. If you'll be using a USB port on your laptop or computer for this purpose, it should take for about 2 hours to fully charge it.
The Groovi Ripple is square shaped and its size is relatively small, with dimensions of 4.1 x 3.7 x 1.5 inches (103 x 94 x 37mm) and a weight of 6.17 ounces or 175 grams.
If you want to see all the detailed technical specifications for this speaker, you can find them listed on its official website, here: TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) - Hardware Features.
Using the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001)
The first thing you'll notice about the Groovi Ripple, even before connecting it to your devices, is its square shape and small weight. Put those together with the small dimensions and you get a speaker that can easily fit inside any backpack, bag or even in one of your pockets.
The second thing that will catch your eye about the Groovi Ripple is the fact that it also features an adjustable handle that you can use to both attach the speaker to your gear and to bend it to different positions, so that the sound is directed to you.
The adjustable handle does come handy when you're outdoors and you want to hang the speaker from your backpack, for instance. There's one nice thing about it, that we'd like to mention: it has rubbery grooves on its inner side, which help the speaker stay firm and steady on whatever gear you hook it onto.
If the grooves on the backside of the handle might be the reason for the first name of this speaker - Groovi, the ripples on the front grille are definitely the reason for its last name: Ripple. Thus: the Groovi Ripple. Although the ripples on the front are probably nothing more than a design choice and have nothing to do with the quality of the sound, you must admit that they look great and give the speaker a nice touch.
The Groovi Ripple has only three buttons: the volume up and volume down buttons on the right side, and a power/Bluetooth pairing button on the left side. On the bottom rim, you'll also find the Micro USB port and the 3.5 mm audio jack.
Pairing and connecting your smartphone or tablet to the Groovi Ripple portable speaker using Bluetooth is easy and error free. All you have to do to enter pairing mode is press long on the power button. I've used TP-LINK's Groovi Ripple with a Motorola Nexus 6 and a Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone, as well as with a Kindle Fire HDX 7 tablet, and the Groovi Ripple worked great with all of them.
Then, the other buttons do exactly what they say they will , and nothing more. Unlike other Bluetooth portable speakers we've seen or reviewed , TP-LINK's Groovi Ripple doesn't support skipping to the next or to the previous song when pressing the volume buttons for longer and longer. The Groovi Ripple is also unable to work as a full standalone phone speaker system during calls: it doesn't have a microphone built-in.
I've used the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple portable speaker for a while now and I've taken it with me o n two different trips. Once, I used it during a road trip as a car stereo replacement of sorts. In small and closed spaces like inside your car, I must say that the Groovi Ripple sounds good and quite loud.
On the other hand, if you use it outdoors, like I did during a few campfires, the music you'll get from the Groovi Ripple sounds decent and the maximum volume level is nowhere near what you'd expect. The Groovi Ripple isn't very loud when compared to other portable Bluetooth speakers we've tested. And, although this speaker is very lightweight and easy to carry around, all that comes at a price: the autonomy you get from it is also less than what you'll get from other portable speaker with larger, yet heavier batteries built-in. I never quite managed to get more than 3 and a half to 4 hours out of the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple, which isn't impressive if you travel a lot.
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Pros and cons
Here are some of the best features the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Bluetooth portable speaker has:
- Good sound as long as you don't want a loud volume
- Small and square shaped, so it's easy to pack
- Lightweight, so it's easy to carry
- Adjustable, rubbery handle which you can use to hook the speaker on any gear
- Very simple Bluetooth setup
There are some negative aspects about it too:
- No NFC support
- No option to use it for phone calls
- No option to connect two speakers in a stereo setup
- Unimpressive battery life
The TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) is the first of its name when it comes to portable speakers designed and manufactured by TP-LINK. It's clearly an attempt that the networking company has made to enter other electronics markets. The Groovi Ripple might not be the best portable speaker out there, but it's definitely a good start for TP-LINK. Many people want a portable speaker that's very easy to carry around and sounds good. The Groovi Ripple is exactly that: small dimensions, square shaped to easily fit anywhere, small weight for long roads. On the other hand, TP-LINK's Groovi Ripple doesn't offer the additional features that some of its competitors do, its maximum sound level is not what you'd call loud and the battery doesn't last very long . Overall, the TP-LINK Groovi Ripple Portable Bluetooth Speaker (BS1001) is a good choice if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive speaker and you don't want extra features like using it for phone calls.