I’ll be honest. It took me a little while to get the BR-1X – bricks link. But one look at this speaker and how it can be stacked and hooked up to more of its kind makes that link obvious in your head. It’s like bricks. Wait for it… yeah. It is called that!
This is a stackable portable battery powered Bluetooth speaker from Philips, which packs in the wOOx technology, allowing you a more powerful outdoors mode. Not content with just this, this speaker can also let you make phone calls.
Look and feel
The speaker looks something between a military style equipment with colours that shout 90s. Just slightly bigger than your average smart phone, the front boasts grills for its speakers, buttons to turn it on or off, shift the volume up or down, and sockets for AUX IN and OUT.
The back lets you admire the bass in a bit more detail, with a button to select the outdoor mode, a button to forget the pairing history, a secret (ish) reset button to rescue the speaker (if needed), and a couple of ports to charge through a speaker, or through a USB port.
The power button is surrounded by an LED that turns on to let you know the status of power.
Also included in the case is a charger, and an oversized hand strap which slides in and out. Also included is a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable which can both be used for AUX IN as well as stacking more than one of these together.
The plastic that frames both the front and the back is soft to touch and gives you the feeling of robustness.
A weight of 0.5kg makes them mostly portable.
Like most Bluetooth items these days, there isn’t much to do. Turn it on, look for it, and off you go. If you want to pair it to extra devices, just make sure it is not currently paired to anything, and you can pair it to another device.
After that, it pairs every time you turn them on. Once paired, your music and calls go through the speaker.
Ease of use
As mentioned above, once paired, there isn’t anything you need to do. Just use the Power and Volume keys as required.
Taking calls is fairly straightforward as well. You press the Power button to accept a call, and use the Volume keys as per normal. Of course, since the microphone is located in the speaker itself, you have to be relatively near to actually make use of this as a reasonable speakerphone. Otherwise, the call quality is as good as it gets.
And now for the real stuff. The sound quality.
Hook it up, and you are greeted by a powerful set of speakers, which are a bit bass heavy, but not enough to make it sound bad. No distortion was noticed at high volumes. The trebles are equally clear and that makes these really good for most set of music.
The Indoor/Outdoor button is an extra option that is new and unique to this speaker. Essentially it turns up the volume, so your sound doesn’t get lost in the surroundings when you are outdoors. Those of you who have the habit of carrying their speakers outdoors will know what I mean. The joy is that while you get extra volume, it doesn’t come at a price. It also means that a single button lets you go from indoor to outdoor mode instead of having to go through the task of pressing the volume button repeatedly.
A more powerful voice is attainable by stacking these together and daisy chaining the connections. The volume is synced on all, so pressing it on the one connected to your device will effect them all.
The speakers come with a battery life of 6 hour continuous playback.
These are available in Khaki and Grey finishes, and are on sale at Argos for £99.99.
A small package with a lot of promise and power. These look good, feel good and sound good, and most importantly feature a volume and bass that will not disappoint you, whether indoors or outdoors.