You can’t really expect sonic fireworks from a sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker, but the $89.99 (direct) Naztech Koncert Boomstation makes itself useful in other ways, too. As a speaker, it can get fairly loud for its size, but it works best on tracks that don’t challenge it too much with deep bass. It can work as a speakerphone and phone charger, which helps even out its performance. There are still plenty of genres that sound crisp, clean, and clear on the Koncert Boomstation (also confusingly known as the N52 Koncert 3-in-1 Stereo Speaker), and the speaker’s thoughtful extra features will outweigh its modest audio abilities for some.
The rectangular Koncert Boomstation is available in white, black, or red, with rubberized side panels and an upward-facing speaker grille. Under the grille sit two 2.5-inch drivers and a passive radiator to enhance bass response. The speaker measures 1.7 by 2.4 by 6.1 inches (HWD) and weighs a manageable 9.9 ounces, making it easily portable.
A micro USB connection for charging the speaker, a USB output for charging other smaller devices, a 3.5mm Aux input, and the Power switch sit on one of the smaller side panels. The Power switch doubles as the Bluetooth pairing switch, and the pairing process was quick and simple with our iPhone 5s.
One of the long side panels holds three control buttons: one for answering mobile phone calls through the speakerphone and two multi-function arrow buttons that double as Volume Up/Down and Track Forward/Backward. If you tap them briefly, you can skip tracks, and if you hold them down, the you can change the volume. However, once you’ve adjusted the volume, you must wait a moment for the controls to be used for track navigation again. Along with the lack of a Play/Pause button, it’s not a great control scheme.
Naztech estimates a battery life of approximately 18 hours for music, but this will depend on how loudly you listen to your tunes. The company also claims you get roughly 48 hours of talk time using the speakerphone function only, and 100 hours of standby battery life. It takes about three hours to fully charge the speaker. A micro USB charging cable, 3.5mm Aux input cable, and a black felt drawstring carrying pouch are included with the speaker.
Tracks with deep bass come out sounding thin at best, and distorted at worst. Playing the Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the Koncert Boomstation distorted heavily with source and speaker volumes maxed out. In fact, you have to lower the volume significantly from either the source of the Boomstation in order to stop the distortion. Basically, this is not a speaker for bass lovers. Of course, not much in this price range is.
On tracks that lack serious thumping low-end, like Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” the results are much more listenable. His baritone vocals are delivered with a decent amount of low-end richness, along with a treble edge that gives his voice enough crackle and presence to stand out in front of the mix. The guitar also takes center stage here, sounding crisp and bright, while the drums float subtly in the background instead of sounding too heavy and unnatural, a common problem with bass-boosted speakers.
Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild” also distorts slightly at top volumes, but you just need to reduce the volume a tad to get a cleaner sound. That said, this is also a crisp treble-fest, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat here sound thin. I only heard the top-end of their presence, as the Koncert Boomstation didn’t reproduce the lows and sub-bass that make those hits so menacing. That said, the mids-and-highs-focused sound signature suited the vocals and the attack of the kick drum loop on this track quite well.
Classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” sounded a bit brittle on the Koncert Boomstation, as one might expect; there’s not much low-end presence to draw the lower register strings or percussion out of the mix, so the sound was very much dominated by the higher register strings and percussion. One thing about this speaker, however: It can get pretty loud for its modest size, so while it may not deliver a dynamic, bass-friendly experience, it can at least fill a small room up with sound.
If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t distort, the slightly more expensive Panasonic SC-NT10 and the substantially more expensive Bose SoundLink Mini are both solid options. In this price range, distortion is more or less a given, however. That said, you can find similarly priced options that are at least a bit more ruggedized, like the Boom Movement Swimmer, or you can just go the dirt-cheap route; the 808 Audio Canz Wireless Speaker is the least expensive speaker we can recommend, but obviously you’re going to experience an even greater drop in audio performance. For the price, however, the Koncert Boomstation is a solid contender. Like most of its similarly priced competition, it lacks much bass response, but its speakerphone capabilities, and especially its charging feature, help it stand out from the pack a bit.
|Wireless Remote Control||No|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc