James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

The Edifier MP211 portable Bluetooth speaker is a good all-rounder, pleasing both the Luddites and the technophiles alike, says our expert tester

Overview

Do you enjoy watching downloaded films, playing games and listening to your favourite music in your motorhome? If so, perhaps you're using several devices to store it all. Thankfully even the smallest smartphone seems to have immense capacity to store more music than you'd ever have taken on holiday in the past.

Amid all this amazing technological progress, one problem has emerged. Whether you use a mobile phone, a laptop, tablet, MP3 player or SD card for your digital music storage, the chances are that the sound quality is a bit too tinny to share with friends and family. It sounds terrific on headphones, but is no good when you try to fill the 'van with sound.  

Small portable music-playing devices have always had this problem, going right back to early transistor radios, audio cassette-players and the Sony Walkman. The solution is to plug them in to speakers.

So, what features can you get with the latest Bluetooth speakers, and which do you really need? First of all, it needs to have good connections. Where once plug-in speakers had to be connected via leads and power sockets, now they also have wireless Bluetooth technology and rechargeable batteries that keep it all running for up to 10 hours between charges. 

Compatibility is important and some portable speakers offer multiple ways to connect to all your devices. If they have their own play, stop, skip track and volume controls as well as an SD card port, they become standalone sound systems. This can be useful when you've been off-grid for a while and your phone, laptop and tablet all need charging up.

We've chosen several Bluetooth speakers for our Practical Motorhome group test. We've tried the Speedlink Portajoy at £64.99, the Edifier Bric Connect at £79.99, the colourful Creative Woof 3 at £39.99, the Denon Envaya Mini DSB-100 at £79.99, the Edifier Prisma Encore at £129.99 (the highest price of the lot), and the Edifier MP211 at just £39.99. 

In this review we'll focus on the Edifier MP211 portable Bluetooth speaker, which is the winner of our test. Several other models that we tested have better sound quality, but this is an excellent all-rounder. 

If you’ve never heard a Bluetooth speaker before, you’ll be delighted with the big sounds that come from the little Edifier MP211 device. Unless you’re a real audio technology expert we think you'll find this speaker offers exactly what you need on tour. 

The reason the MP211 speaker comes out on top is that it is a feature-rich device, sold at a great price, delivering ear-pleasing sound quality.

The Edifier MP211 will be compatible with both your newest and your older gadgets. It has Near Field Communication (NFC), an internal micro SD card reader and player, a 3.5mm auxiliary lead so you can plug it into non-wireless devices and up to 10 hours of battery life between charges, in addition to its Bluetooth and auxiliary cable input options.

The Edifier MP211 Bluetooth speaker weighs little more than 2g, and measures 150mm × 62mm × 31mm. There is a built-in microphone so that if somebody rings you it will pause the music so you can make hands-free phone calls.  

If the pale blue version pictured here clashes with your motorhome décor, perhaps you'll choose the Edifier MP211 in bright yellow, pink, white or black. The control buttons on the top of the speaker are rubberised to make them easier to use, and if you put all your music on an SD card these speakers will act as a self-contained music system. 

Technical specs

Weight2.15g
Size150mm × 62mm × 31mm
Colour optionsPastel blue, pink, yellow, black, blue
Inbuilt microphoneFor hands-free calls
Auxiliary lead3.5m
Input optionsBluetooth, SD card or auxiliary input
Stand-alone music playerIf your music is on Micro SD cards
Compatible withNear Field Communication (NFC)
Frequency200Hz-20KHz
Input sensitivity600±50mV
Total power output2 x 2W
SNR≧85dBA

Verdict

For speakers giving good sound quality, great value for money and compatibility with old and new technology, the Edifier MP211 is the best portable Bluetooth speaker we've tested. This is a five-star product.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Lightweight at just 0.215kg
  • Compatible with all your devices
  • Even takes a micro SD card
  • Attractive colour options
  • Good sound quality
  • Self-contained music centre

Cons

  • If you pay more you can get even better sound quality
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