Antec have been kind enough to send us a sample of their SP1 bluetooth speaker. Aimed at being an all-in-one solution to your entire mobile, the SP1 has more or less anything you could want from a speaker from unique looks, a microphone to take calls and an easy way to charge it.
Antec is a company typically known for its cooling solutions but recently they’ve started bringing out audio equipment, the SP1 is a from a line-up of three including earphones, wireless earphones and the speaker we have here today.
-Size 158(H) x 41(W) x 62(D) mm
-Weight 0.38 kg
-Communication Range 10 M (30 ft)
-Playback Time 10 hrs
-Frequency Response 2.402 ~ 2.480 GHz
-Battery Capacity Li-lon Battery 3.7V
-Bluetooth Standard Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
-Support Profiles Supports Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.2, Hands-Free Profile (HFP) 1.5, Headset Profile (HSP) 1.1
First thing I noticed that this box isn’t your traditional box, it’s made of hard plastic with a cardboard base. Wrapped in plastic to prevent scratching it certainly was an eye catching box to behold. In fact I wanted to get inside this box so much I’d done so within 30 minutes of it arriving through my door.
Looking directly at it begs the question “how do I even open it?” well the answer to that lies in the base. The base of the box is held on by some tape circles which need to be removed to open it. After sliding the bottom of the box open I’m greeted with a rather friendly cardboard slide saying “Share the Experience”. After removing this I’m presented with the documentation on one side and the various cables on the other side.
To open the box even further you need to squeeze the clips on the side of the box and then just pull the base off, and after doing this you’re fully into the box and will be able to get your grubby paws on the prize. A rather intricate boxing system overall, well designed, eye catching and most importantly rewards you with goodies every step of the way whilst opening it.
As for the actual strength, this leaves be in a bit of a situation as by nature the hard casing would be resistant to shock, but if it were to crack then there would be a problem. Either way you shouldn’t expect to receive this item without additional packaging.
Inside the box its quite a slim affair not having any extravagant accessories included but the bare minimum including:
- 1 x SP1 Bluetooth Speaker
- 1 x USB to MicroUSB cable
- 1 x 3.5mm cable
- 1 x User Documentation
Looking closer at the actual speaker it’s a wonderful thing with I will admit a very pleasing design. On the top side of the device you’ll find the controls which are rather simplistic in design but seem to function just fine. Next looking at the one of the ends you’ll see a power switch, microUSB charging port and a 3.5mm input, a nice touch is the LEDs around the power switch when it’s turned on; just adds that little bit more.
The speaker as a whole is a little on the heavy side overall but is perfectly fine to carry in general and shouldn’t be a major issue in reality, that being said a few grams shaved off would only be a plus.
I have used quite a few small portable speakers over the years, mostly cheap and cheerful iPod docks etc which didn’t last very long due to the nature of the price and build quality. I had some slightly higher expectations of this speaker when I sat down to use it. I have found that it is hard to get a balanced sound out of portable speakers. With most manufacturers relying on heavier bass for a more impressive sound. Antec have not followed this trend which is quite fortunate. The SP1 has a more subtle bass out put, which results in a much clearer, cleaner sound quality. I tested the speaker with various different types of music, and it was only when I listened to audio tracks with a more punchy heavier bass in them did this speaker let me down. I tested the speaker using both the supplied cable and the via Bluetooth and I found the audio quality was pretty much the same, the audio playback was seamless, with no stutter over Bluetooth which can sometimes be a problem.
I found that the speaker did really well in guitar driven tracks showing the instruments subtler attributes and also vocals thrive which is sometimes a problem with portable speakers. This isn’t a speaker you could run a dance party off of, but if you had a BBQ or wanted some music whilst studying then this speaker will do an excellent job. Most portable speakers the audio is unidirectional and the same can be said from the SP1. I used it around the house as well as in the garden and it performed really well.
In conclusion I would like to say that this speaker does an excellent job, whilst it cannot ever compare to a much higher end dedicated audio setup. But that is clearly not the purpose of this speaker. Designed to be light weight and portable this speaker is perfect for music on the go. Whilst the design chosen may not suit most people I feel the subtle design shows a high quality product over a flashy and garish design that has been seen in the current market. The quality of the audio also goes to show how much time and effort has gone into the production of the SP1 Speaker. This is something that most companies neglect I have found, with flimsy plastic as part of the packaging, the packaging design of the SP1 is specifically designed to show the whole of the product in all it’s glory. I do like the approach Antec has taken. After all selling a product is not just about the specifications it must appeal to the consumer also.
The audio quality that this small speaker produces was quite amazing, most small form factor speakers have quite poor audio quality, or are lacking in different areas choosing excessive bass output to compensate for other failings within the design or audio output. Antec choosing to forgo the bass output for simple quality audio output was quite interesting and clearly sets itself apart from other portable speakers. The vocals where clear and as I said in the performance this speaker does really well with more guitar driver tracks and if I was in the market for a small portable speaker I would more than likely purchase the SP1 over any other similar product.
Antec have clearly out done themselves with the design and quality of this speaker, and for that I am going to give the speaker our design award. It clearly shows that Antec have looked at other products and chosen to differentiate themselves from any rival product.
The Antec Sp1 is a great little speaker, with excellent performance and design qualities, making a change from the usual portable speaker audio output. The Antec Sp1 has reduced bass for a cleaner and quality audio performance.