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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gadget Review: Divoom Airbeat-10 portable wireless speaker

Divoom’s range of Bluetooth speakers just keeps getting better. Back in 2013, we took a look at the Onbeat-200, a chunky, brick-like affair with reasonable sound quality. Next, there was the Voombox Travel, a chunky, grenade-shaped device which performed rather well. Today, it's the turn of the Airbeat-10. This one isn't particularly chunky, and it doesn't resemble anything other than a lightweight Bluetooth speaker. But, crucially, it sounds better than its size would suggest.

The Airbeat-10 is fitted with a single 2-inch full-range driver, providing an impressively crisp tone with excellent clarity across the whole range of frequencies. However, like most similar micro-speakers, prominent midtones mean that pop and vocal songs perform best. Complex rock songs could use some more oomph but, despite the lack of a dedicated woofer, the bass isn’t bad at all. Overall, the sonic output is fairly well balanced, and it's more than good enough for listening on the go.

Travel is very much Divoom's thing, so the Airbeat comes with optional bike- and suction- mounts to suit your preferred mode of conveyance. At 87mm wide and 45mm high, it's hardly the smallest micro-speaker that we've seen, but the extra size means that tunes can be played at a truly prodigious volume. There's also an inbuilt microphone, effectively turning the Airbeat into a hands-free phone accessory. Be warned, however, that its mediocre transmission quality might cause more communication problems than it solves.

As with other Divoom products, build quality is very good. Soft-shell shielding makes the unit more-or-less splashproof, while a micro-USB charging port and an optional 3.5mm wired input are hidden behind a protective flap. Bluetooth pairing is simple and reliable, and you can expect to get six hours of playback from a single charge.

In the war of the Bluetooth speakers, form factor is king. While it could be argued that the larger Voombox Travel is better equipped for handling bass, the Airbeat-10's size and flexibility makes it the overall winner, and the water resistance helps its versatility. It's our favourite Divoom speaker to date.

- Rob P. 

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Gadget Review: Divoom Airbeat-10 portable wireless speaker
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