Striving to find gadgets that surprise me and I’d actually use is pretty tough, but I have given it another go. My question was “Can I listen to my iPad or iPhone hands free, and even take calls?” I’ve talked to the folks at MobileFun.co.uk who said they might have a solution for me, and shipped me the SoundWave SW50 Bluetooth Speaker Phone to try and review.
Quote from their page: The SoundWave Bluetooth Speaker Phone is a unique and stylish desktop speaker phone which allows you to enjoy your calls or music hands free.
So let’s see if this lives up to my expectations, and find out how it really is in real life use.
How clunky is the device, does it fall over easily? Can I use it for both my iPad and the iPhone, or do I need to get different models? How can I charge it, I mean, what if I am on the road and want to listen to my music at a hotel. Can I use it in a car while traveling? How is the quality of the sound, plastic-y or does it have a surprising depth? Bluetooth doesn’t always have the best reputation, do I get dropped calls, poor quality audio?
tl;dr / I am quite impressed. It’s not approaching a niche market, it connects to everything that I could find. It found the iPhone the fastest. And the audio quality is surprising. It’s missing volume control though. But for an affordable small device that turns out not to be a gimmick or a plastic toy with poor quality audio, I think it’s a buy. The next step would be a Jambone Jambox, and really pimp up my apartment.
Delivery from MobileFun.co.uk was pretty fast, and I had fun unboxing the package. I was surprised by the weight. This does not feel like a gimmicky plastic toy. Very promising. Reading up on the specs it seems people shouldn’t be afraid about old or new iOS devices, it covers the lot, and then some. Android, Nokia, older and new systems. The list is huge.
Fearing I’d end up with a dud because it’s a powered product, coming from the UK where they use different wall sockets and such, I was surprised to see it has USB charging which is great. So great for international use and therefor also good enough for traveling. Or here’s a pro-tip: wireless audio in the bath room or in the garden.
Finding the iPhone and iPad was not really a problem. The Galaxy S3 Android that I have on loan for a few days did take a few good minutes. Once connected I immediately noticed that I wish it had better volume control. Phone calls are completely different audible than music, having direct control over this is important. I hope the next version comes with volume control. Especially since it likes the bass, putting it on a gel mat or soft surface is not a bad thing.
Actually, I got to thinking and decided to try all my bluetooth enabled devices and I was able to play audio from a friends netbook, some old Nokia phone and dad’s MacBook Pro, just to name a few.
The audio has a presence, and bass. So put it in the closet where you store your bluray collection and you got some great background audio that comes from your mobile device. And it’s not in the way. You can use the USB to power and charge it, but the battery lasts long enough for a good audio session.
Here’s a video (not made by me) to demonstrate audio + phone call audio
All in all, I am quite pleased with this little device that doesn’t look out of place in the apartment, and turns what many call ‘my crappy internal speakers’ into a much better audio and more importantly a hands free experience. To be honest, I am glad I gave this a try.