Living with the Hive 2 for the past few weeks has been a real pleasure. Charging was straightforward, taking around 4-5 hours to complete and the 2000mAh battery provides 12 hours of solid sound, ample for a full day of music or occasional sounds while camping. The battery is supplemented with an intelligent design where if the unit has not played any music for 15 minutes it will power down, and it’s fairly easy to see what the current state is with the LED indicators to show that Bluetooth is paired, connected or off.
As you might expect it was easy to connect via Bluetooth however if you find pairing devices a challenge there’s the added option of triggering the pairing process with NFC if your phone has a Near Field Communication chip. Failing that you have the option of connection with the audio cable which means you should always be able to use your device with the speaker. I’m not sure that the NFC option is anything more than a gimmick, but it works as intended and I’m not one to complain about extra functionality.
I played a wide variety of audio using both Bluetooth and the audio cable connection and although a Bluetooth connection had added functionality with regards to changing playlist and volume settings as well as answering incoming calls, the actual sound aspect was identical. That sound is phenomenal – we’re not talking about studio grade acoustics here, but we’re also not talking a massive mortgage to own the Hive 2. It was certainly better than I first expected and everything I played through it whether spoken word, dance, techno, rock, metal or jazz (eurgh!) it all sounded better than I thought possible for such a small unit. And the bass, not exactly thunderous and earth-moving, but definitely not an afterthought.
Its rugged design has survived it being carried (and dropped) while my children played their tunes and the rubber feet keep it stable when in use.
The Kitsound Hive 2 is an exceptional piece of kit, and for only £35 on Amazon at the moment, it’s well worth a 2nd look if you are in the market for portable sound. Technologically this really is a bit of a marvel, 12-watt speakers, effective bass, Bluetooth and NFC all make this a bargain buy and well worth the price.
Long battery life combined with great audio and actual bass in such a small footprint just goes to show that us Brits can get it right when it comes to design and engineering – and fair play, the build quality is rather good too as are the looks once you get used to it.
There’s nothing that I’ve tested so far at this price point that even comes close to the quality of sound you get with the Hive 2 and so I am happy to give it our Recommended Award as well as our Value Award.
My thanks to Kitsound for providing me with the Hive 2 for this review.
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