Sometimes products sound too good to be true. For that statement see this Burst HMDX rechargeable speaker, priced at a quite remarkable €14.
Okay let’s lay our (my) cards on the table. I’m not a fan of Bluetooth speakers. They are wonderful devices with some fantastic options out there, but I don’t do wireless. It drains the battery on my devices and, considering I use a relatively antiquated MP3 player, it’s not an option for me.
So, what I’ve gathered in recent years is, I’m being left behind. Wireless, cloud-backed, streaming music is the new vinyl, cassette tape, CD and illegally downloaded music catalogue all rolled into one. My 32GB of music, on the first generation of iPod Touch, is a dinosaur.
Yet the other day I came across this little gem of a speaker from Burst – the company behind the Jam speaker range – and now I’m an awful lot happier.
The Burst HMDX rechargeable speaker ticks an awful lot of boxes. First up, the sound quality is surprisingly good for something so, well, basic looking. The front-facing speaker sounds as good with audiobooks being played as it does with The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues.
We tried it out in our office, which is around 20 metres long and, when turned up full, buried away in the far corner of the room, you had to really raise your voice to chat to the person next to you.
It connects to your MP3 player or whatever device you use simply by audio jack, so, if you have an earphone port, you’re good to go. The jack wire is about ten inches long so your music device is staying near the speaker, unfortunately, but, again, if Bluetooth isn’t your thing then this isn’t a problem.
It charges via USB (I think it took about an hour to charge, but it could well have been less as I left it be for a while) and, according to the packaging, should last 12 hours.
For me, over the course of about a week, I got just under 10 hours of fairly loud music (sorry, Slack office next door!), as well as a couple of hours of it on with no audio going through (I forgot to turn it off).
The blue around the side of the speaker is a weird, spongy rubber for some reason and the whole thing is pretty well sealed, with a shield covering the charge port.
It looks grand, in that’s it’s basically a type of trapezoid and, costing just €14 at Carphone Warehouse, it’s in the stocking-filler price range. It’s way too cheap. So much so that at last count about five people in the office are buying one.
Oh, another nice note is the packaging, which is that annoying plastic that you often can’t get through without a series of knives, a map and your strongest friend – but this comes already scored (above), so it’s a simple job to open.
On the downside, the one I got actually broke, the USB port coming loose after only one charge. However, we’ve looked into it and this seems an incredibly rare problem, with Carphone Warehouse informing me that I’m the first person to ever break one on them.
Another downside is the fact that you can’t tell how much charge is in the speaker, which is a common problem across the majority of portable options – both Bluetooth and cabled. You get a small USB wire with the speaker, but no plug, so you’ll either need to hook it up to your computer, or get a plug elsewhere.
But on the whole this is an absolute steal. If you’re going camping, to a festival, or you just can’t justify the cost of picking up a large audio system for your home at the moment, at €14 this should be staring you in the face.
VERDICT: I should give this an ‘out of’ rating. I’ll give it four out of four.