Let’s get this out of the way immediately: The 808 Audio Canz Wireless Speaker is, at $34.99 (direct), about as cheap as you can go for a Bluetooth speaker. So obviously, we have to adjust our expectations. Is there distortion at high volumes? Yes. But at moderate volumes, the Canz fares quite well, offering a solid audio experience. Aside from the distortion, the Canz also suffers from a willingness to scoot across your tabletop and plummet to its death—the rubberized coating on the bottom can’t contain its need to dance. But for an extremely portable, lightweight Bluetooth speaker, the Canz has plenty of upside—its price being the best thing about it.
Offered in blue, red or silver, the Canz has a cylindrical shape with a metallic sheen on its outer panel. The top panel consists of the black speaker grille that covers the upward-firing 2-watt driver.
Along the lower edge of the cylinder, there’s a 3.5mm Aux input and the micro USB port for charging, along with an LED that illuminates when the Canz is charging. (The Canz ships with a cable for both the Aux input and the USB charging input.) A Pairing button and a blue status LED are also situated along the bottom edge of the cylinder. The Power switch is located on the underside of the cylinder, surrounded by the rubber coating that does little to keep the Canz from moving around tabletops when the audio vibrations become too intense.
Pairing the Canz is a simple process—our iPhone 4S managed to pair quite quickly with the speaker. 808 Audio rates the battery life for the Canz at approximately 2.5-3 hours at maximum volume and 5-6 hours at moderate volume levels. Of course, there are other variables—more Bluetooth streaming (versus wired playback) will mean less battery life.
To expect anything like big bass or powerful audio from a speaker this size and price is unrealistic. On several tracks that featured moderate to intense sub-bass and low frequency content, the Canz distorted when volume reached about 70 percent. On a more expensive speaker, this would be a deal-breaker, but here, you have to expect it. At moderate levels, tracks from the Knife and Atoms for Peace played back without any real issue, but deep bass content is not really the Canz’s strong suit.
Less intense, vocal-focused mixes, like Bill Callahan’s “Drover” and Fiona Apple’s “Left Alone,” are well-suited for the Canz’s single driver. The vocals are delivered clearly, and the lower frequency range instruments remain clean and well-defined until the volume levels are raised significantly. At top volumes, even on tracks like these, distortion will occur.
Classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” fared far better than dance music. The driver’s ability to convey the mid-range with clarity and balance made listening to a wide variety of orchestral tracks enjoyable. There was never any distortion in these scenarios, nor was there any noise during quieter passages—an issue that can sometimes occur with budget wireless speakers.
If the distortion is deal-breaker for you, you’re going to need to spend more money. The $80 id America TouchTone is a decent option for the price, but it has some noise issues on quieter passages. Our favorite recent option is the $100 Panasonic SC-NT10. Climbing further up the pricing ladder, you get more bass for your buck out of options like the $200 Bose SoundLink Mini and Ultimate Ears UE Boom. But for $35, the Canz delivers a very portable, listenable audio experience, perfect for hotel rooms, picnics, or wherever else a tiny Bluetooth speaker is needed.
|Wireless Remote Control||No|
|Power Rating (Left and Right, Each)||2 watts RMS per channel|
|Type||iPod, Computer, Wireless, iPad, iPhone, Android|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc