Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
Placing the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus in front of me, there seems to be some sort of love with all sorts of non-ninety degree angles. From everywhere you look, there are practically no right angles on the speaker. There is nothing wrong with this, but instead of thinking outside the box, it seems like Inateck has just cut down the box. Joking aside, the BTSP-10 Plus is actually quite an attractive looking speaker. The black and red do wonders in contrast and styling. There are hexagons all over the place, whether on the top where the buttons are located, or the front grille. While there is nothing really outstanding about the front design, I have no issues with it, and it adds some originality. The repeated hexagons are intriguing to say the least, but otherwise it works for me. The entire speaker is also coated in a soft rubber touch, much like the Func MS-2 I reviewed recently. The front grille is red and is the only non-rubber area. Compared to the past product, the original BTSP-10, the Plus version only comes in red, while the original only comes in blue. While colors may be a small difference, there are other features that make the Plus more desirable than the previous model, but we will expand on this later.
In terms of measurements, the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus is small at a width of 16.5cm, a height of 6.3cm, and a depth of 5cm. Compared to the other small Bluetooth speaker we reviewed last year, the Adesso Xtream S2, the BTSP-10 Plus is actually more compact in all dimensions, albeit the differences are slight. At a similar weight of under a pound, it makes for a very easy item to carry around without noticing the extra item. Majority of this weight is probably due to the two 3W drivers. Each are powered by, as Inateck advertises, a "40 mm Rotunded 16-core NdFeB 3W magnetic driver". Let us break down what this actually means. First, rotunded means "plump" or "round". NdFeB refers to the neodymium magnet in the speaker. The rest should be straightforward. We will see what this actually translates into when we do our audio analysis soon enough. The frequency response is a listed 50Hz to 20kHz.
Looking at the top, as I have said before, there are the many showings of hexagons. The three buttons located on the top are hexagonal in shape, too. Going from left to right, there is a Bluetooth button, Volume Down, and Volume Up. The Bluetooth button, as implied by the name, is used to pair your device to the speaker. It also sends commands to your device such as Play and Pause during audio playback, and Call, Hang Up, or Redial for phone operation. To pair your device, hold down the button for approximately six seconds, until you hear a long beep. The LED at the front will also start blinking red and blue. Then you can connect your device in this pairing mode. Answering calls in this layout is pretty simple, since it is just one button anyways. To redial, one will just need to double click the Bluetooth button, and it will redial your last outgoing call. The other two buttons function exactly as they are called. Much like the Xtream S2, if you are adjusting the volume and you hit the minimum or maximum limit, it will cut the audio output, and beep at you to notify users, which is still annoying. One option they could do is make the LED display the limit, such as flashing a certain pattern of lights. This way, the audio remains, but users have feedback to know when they have reached the limit. Otherwise, missing in action is the Previous and Next button we often see on Bluetooth devices. While it is not a huge omission, I would like to see it here, since this product will mostly be used for music playback.
As aforementioned, an LED on the front can be found on the front right side, near Inateck's logo. When turned on, the LED flashes red continuously until it is paired with a device. Once paired, it changes to a flashing blue LED. During playback, the LED stays constant on the blue color. I quite like the constant on rather than a blinking or pulsing, since this can be distracting to users.
The right side of the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus hosts a few more goodies, so I will quickly run through them. Closest to you is the micro USB port, used for charging the BTSP-10 Plus. The internal battery is a listed internal non-removable 2100mAh battery, which Inateck says should last in the ballpark of 9 to 15 hours, dependent on usage. I can say I have yet to see the speaker run dry on battery during my usage, so this is a positive for the BTSP-10 Plus. Secondly, this is a larger battery and a longer life comparing to the original BTSP-10, which was rated at 8 to 10 hours. Charging the device takes around 3.5 hours, and is pretty good for a battery capacity like this. During the charging period, the speaker's power switch will glow red. When it finishes charging, this light turns green. Speaking of which, the power switch is right beside the micro USB. I prefer this compared to a single power button, since it clearly indicates the power status of the speakers. Users will not have to be searching for any LEDs, but just can tell by the position of the switch. Finally, the last thing I will note is the auxiliary input. If you have older devices, like MP3 players or older iPods without Bluetooth connectivity, you can directly plug the them into this jack. Once the speaker notices the jack is used, Bluetooth functionality is disabled. The Play/Pause button will be disabled, but the Volume Up/Down still works in this mode. This form of backwards compatibility is great to see, since it allows users to pick their favorite audio device to use.
Flipping the Bluetooth speaker onto its front face and we are greeted with the underside of the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus. At the bottom are four rubber feet, meant to serve several purposes. For one, they hold the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus in place without sliding around too much. Secondly, they reduce the vibration between the speaker and the surface it sits on, as to remove unwanted physical noise. Thirdly, dampening the base should improve bass response, but we will see how true this holds in our audio testing. The only other thing we should note is the backside, where a small sticker is found to list the speakers specifications, as well as their regulatory and certification information, useful to allow Inateck to sell their products.
Back to the speakers themselves, the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus, as aforementioned, supports wireless communication over Bluetooth and via the audio jack. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.0, Inateck has noted users should be able to get up to 33 feet of range. Just to note, the original Inateck BTSP-10 only came with Bluetooth 2.1. Internally, a CSR8635 Bluetooth audio ROM sits inside. Thus you will also get HFP, A2DP, and AVRCP. While the chip itself allows for multipoint support with up to two A2DP sources for music playback, the BTSP-10 Plus will only accept one audio stream at a time. You can still pair multiple devices with it, however. As Bluetooth is standard across multiple operating systems, devices with Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows are currently supported.
Now with our physical inspection completed, let us turn this speaker on and hear if it flies. It is time for the audio analysis!
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis