Introduction & First Looks
It wasn't too long ago that we checked out a Bluetooth stereo headset from Yidsun, and now we've got yet another Bluetooth product from the company, namely the SPK-769 Bluetooth stereo speaker. This is a rather compact, self contained unit which boasts a pair of stereo speakers. It measures 160x50x50mm (WxDxH) and weighs 217g which makes it very portable. However, as you might have already gathered from the dimensions of the unit it's not a super powerful speaker, but this is the trade-off you have to make for its portability.
The two speaker cones look like something from any modern computer speakers from Creative or Logitech, and the unit itself is a rather plain white rectangle with some silver trimming around the top. It's rather odd looking for a speaker to be honest, but it's by no means ugly. On the top are three touch sensitive buttons as well as a multi-coloured LED. Around the back is a power button, a mini USB port and a 3.5mm jack. There's also a small built-in microphone at the front.
The mini USB port is used for charging the built in lithium-polymer batteries and Yidsun is claiming 4h of music playback or 6h of talk time as well as up to 250h standby. The Bluetooth range is about 10m and this is pretty much standard. Although we're not quite sure, we'd expect the battery life to last longer if you use the 3.5mm jack with your MP3 player rather than Bluetooth from your phone; Yidsun unfortunately doesn't mention this on their website and we didn't fancy sitting around and timing the battery life for several hours.
It comes with a USB to mini-USB cable which is used for charging it, as well as a USB power adapter which plugs into a wall socket and can handily be used for charging other USB devices as well.
Usage and Final Thoughts
In use, the SPK-796 sounded pretty good; although due to the speaker elements being placed so close to each other, the stereo separation was lacking a bit. The sound was quite punchy and very clear, but as you can understand from the size of it, lacking in bass. The sound isn't going to fill up any larger room, but it's good enough to replace a smaller portable boom box without the boom. At least you know it won't get your neighbours banging on your door.
Using it as a handsfree kit works well enough, although some feedback occurs due to the microphone being located in the middle, between the two speakers. Still, if you're not keen on having something in your ear all day or you make a lot of conference calls on your mobile, then this might just be what you've been looking for as the voice output quality is very crisp and clear.
Setting up the SPK-796 is very easy; press and hold the play button until a red light flashes and you're ready to sync it up with your Bluetooth device. Depending on the device you use it with the buttons might work slightly different, but with a Windows Mobile 6 device the play button will automatically start playing whatever music you have lined up in Windows Media player. If you tap it again the music will pause.
The volume controls not only set the volume if you tap them gently, but if you press and hold one or the other for about 2 seconds it'll skip to the next track or go back; although a lot of the time it would only go back to the beginning of the same track instead of to the previous track which can be a minor annoyance for some.
At $79 US the SPK-796 might seem expensive at first, but compared to other similar products it's actually quite cheap. It's really a matter of what you want and need more than anything.
It does what it says on the tin and the design is simple and clean, but still very functional. However, it has a few minor issues but we're somewhat willing to overlook those based on the overall package and pricing.
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