This is the 3rd speaker from iClever I get to review (please be aware that the speaker was provided for the purpose of this review). This means, not only I get to compare it with other audio speakers but also test it against the previous iClever offerings. iClever BTS08 is the biggest of the devices I have tested so far. Because of this, I would expect it to punch the biggest sound, and sport the longest battery life. Let’s get to the meat of things and see how it stacks against the smaller brothers the BTS05 and BTS04 – reviews linked accordingly.
Overview of iClever BTS08
The iClever BTS08 came with a micro USB charging cable and a 3.5 mm AUX cable. The speaker is shaped more like a box, and frankly speaking, I really like the design. I loved the BTS04 shape, but it was little too slim for that shape to work. The enclosure of this speaker is surrounded by a mesh from each side, with a plastic (but covered by a rubber coating) lid. The design works well and the finish is up to a good standard.
There are some design changes comparing to the previous models. The ON/OFF switch is a slider now (placed at the back), along with the AUX and charging port. They are no longer covered by a rubber lid. This means there is no water resistance rating. Judging by the size of the speaker, this is not something I would take with me for a camping trip anyway. I’m not going to hold it against it.
Gone are also the buttons from the top, which has been replaced by a touch sensitive counterparts. This is something I would really like, if not the fact that the buttons are not highlighted, therefore you will find it hard to operate the speaker at night. Other than this, they are fine, I find it easy to control the music playback.
The playback function is very similar to the younger/smaller siblings. You have your connectivity button, media controls, and volumes. I’m pleased to report that all the notifications are handled by a beep (unlike the BTS04).
The iClever BTS08 comes with a conference call functionality. This is not something I would use as your business solution. While your caller can be heard loud and clear, I can’t say the same about my voice. It was on the quieter side, but still understandable. The distance to the speaker didn’t seem to matter.
I started to wonder if there are any Bluetooth devices that are able to pass the Skype Echo test. I was almost not able to recognize what I was saying during the test call. I wonder what seem to be the issue here. The moment I switch to the mobile mic, the recording becomes perfect again.
Advertised battery life sits at 14h and my overnight test can confirm it. While I run the test at about 30% of the volume, I believe there was enough juice to carry the sound through for few more hours. This is a definitely strong point of each iClever speaker I had the pleasure to look at.
Due to the size of the speaker I was expecting the lower tones to be more capable than on the smaller siblings. While this is true, the overall sound was better balanced on the BTS05. You can go loud without distorting the sound, however, I wish the high tones were less muffled. I was trying to play around with an EQ to get little more out of the speaker, but the built-in into the Play Music by Google EQ was not sufficient enough to get the sound I would be pleased with. The sound is not bad, but when stacked next to the BTS05, you would expect little more out of it due to the speaker’s size.
I think it is clear to me now. The BTS04 has been a portable solution, and the iClever BTS08 is a home design. This makes the BTS05 the choice of the people who are unable to decide what they want from a portable speaker. That’s totally OK with me. The customer like me or you is the one who benefits here. You get to look at the iClever choices and pick something you like most.
While few things could be improved, the speaker’s nice design and long battery life will appeal to a lot of people.
Personally, the BTS04 is still my favorite. It’s the size, battery life and the reasonable (for the speaker’s size) sound that does it for me. If you need something with a bigger punch, however, go ahead and take a look at BTS05 and iClever BTS08. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure not to use it for Skype!