James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

The showerproof Creative MUVO Mini portable Bluetooth speaker looks ideal for motorhome rallies and outdoor events, so what's our expert's verdict?

Overview

Portable Bluetooth speakers can improve the sound quality of all your digital music players, whether you like to listen to tracks on your smartphone, your laptop, tablet or MP3 player. These devices are great when you're just listening to music through headphones on your own, but as soon as you want to share that music with friends and family, you realise just how tinny and thin the sound really is. 

So, what can the best new Bluetooth speakers offer you? To find out, we gathered up a selection of portable Bluetooth speakers for our Practical Motorhome group test. You can compare them at a glance here. 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 our reviewing process we prioritised great sound quality, and whether there was distortion at especially low or high volumes. We wanted a full sound and we were less than impressed with speakers that bounced around like a child on a bouncy castle. 

Compatibility with as many music playing devices as possible was another priority. All the Bluetooth speakers use wireless signals from Bluetooth-synced devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Some will also connect to MP3 players and other devices via input leads. Others also take micro SD cards, which is very useful if you're touring off-grid and all your other devices need recharging. At least if the portable speaker still has some of its 10-hour charge left you can pop the card in the slot and enjoy all your best tracks. 

Better still, some have controls on the speaker itself, or even a remote control, so they can be used as standalone music players. The downside of that is that one or two of them seemed so self-contained that they refused to respond to any volume adjustments and so on from the mobile phone or tablet.  

The most forward-looking speakers have NFC (Near Field Communication) Bluetooth technology, which typically means that you can have the music player (phone, tablet or laptop) up to 10m away from the speaker. 

When it comes to recharging the speakers, we're pleased to see that some have mains socket chargers as well as USB charging leads. It's just one more element of flexibility that motorhome owners need on tour.

Our Creative MUVO Mini is the first speaker we'll focus on in detail here and it costs a very modest £39.99.  

The MUVO Mini is very much Creative's outdoor speaker, because it is certified to be weatherproof to the IP66 standard, no less. In practice, this means that – provided you don’t submerge the unit in a bowl of water – it will stand up to the wet stuff perfectly. This is very handy for impromptu barbecues, motorhome rallies and festival fun when you're at the mercy of the unpredictable British weather. 

There's a choice of colours, too. You can have the bright blue MUVO Mini pictured here, or a red, grey or white version.

Like some of the other pretty decent portable Bluetooth speakers we tested, this unit sounds really great until you put it next to one of the top-end models from Pure, Denon, Speedlink or Edifier. In reality, it’s going to be fine for most of us, most of the time.

Unlike the Creative Woof, it lacks a built-in MP3 player or card reader, and USB audio streaming isn’t possible either. However, the new NFC (Near Field Communication) standard is supported alongside Bluetooth and an auxiliary port, making sure that this speaker ought to be compatible with all your new devices for years to come.

Technical specs

Battery life10 hours between charges
ShowerproofTo IP66 standards
RechargingVia its micro USB lead
Wireless connectionTap phone on speaker to sync to NFC wirelessly
Analogue devices connectVia 3.5mm aux-in
Built-in microphoneFor hands-free calls
Colour optionsBlack, white, blue or red
Size190.0 x 37.0 x 59.0 mm (7.4 x 1.4 x 2.3 inches)
Cable length0.6m approx
WeightSpeaker: 285g (10.1oz), USB Cable: 21g
Bluetooth version4.0
A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth), AVRCP (Bluetooth Remote Control)HFP (Hands-free Profile)

Verdict

For anyone who likes motorhome rallies and wants to eat al-fresco whatever the weather, the Creative MUVO Mini Bluetooth speaker is perfect. We'd prefer it if there was a card reader and a USB port, but this device works for all those who like to embrace new technology. We've awarded the Creative MUVO Mini Bluetooth speaker a four-star rating.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Showerproof
  • Ideal for rallies, bbqs and small outdoor events
  • Has NFC
  • Great value for money
  • Good sound quality

Cons

  • No USB port
  • No micro SD card reader
  • No inbuilt MP3 player
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