A Danish company, Libratone, has introduced the ONE Click portable Bluetooth speaker. The Bluetooth speaker category was pioneered by Jawbone, opting for a premium-priced quality sounding compact speaker, ideal for use while on the move. That’s spawned many other companies to follow suit, creating speakers of all sizes and shapes, such that the category is much a commodity. The leading brands are Jawbone, Bose and Logitech’s Ultimate Ears.
Now, as someone that enjoys quality audio, often listening to my Pono with hi-res content plugged into AudioEngine powered speakers or a headphone, any Bluetooth speaker cannot compare, due to Bluetooth’s inherent limitations in transmitting high quality audio, as well as beginning with a poorer source. Nevertheless, the convenience of listening to music wirelessly from your phone or computer, particularly as background music or while traveling, has found broad acceptance.
The Libratone is about the size of a paperback book, solidly constructed, and nicely finished. It’s an unusual design, consisting of an inner housing with a snap-on silicone band that runs around its perimeter. It can be customized to add a carrying strap or smaller loop for holding or hanging. It’s designed to be water-resistance, making it perfect for the beach or at a pool, and it looks like it can withstand lots of abuse.
Sound quality benefits from its size and multiple drivers. It provides a rich, if somewhat bass sound, but not so boomy that it’s hard to listen to as on some speakers. Its response is tunable using its free app. Settings allow you to adjust for preset curves for voice or various kinds of music, and tie in a second speaker for stereo. Battery life is rated at more than 12 hours, and the speaker works with apps for both iOS and Android.
What’s noticeable about this product is its attractive design and the quality of construction and finish, yet it’s priced competitively and sounds better than other speakers costing the same or more. My sample was aqua-colored, not a favorite and making it cheap-looking, but it’s also available in other colors. I would suggest that they provide an instruction sheet, as it takes some sleuthing to find some of the hidden controls and to add the handle. Libratone is offering a free trial to make it easy to try. If you buy the speakers at www.libratone.com, you have 30 days of use. A pre-paid return label is included in the box, so if you’re unsatisfied, you can ship it back, at no cost either way. The speakers are available now for $199.