by Rupert Wilkinson – Founder of Oxford Product Design Ltd
The Edifier Bric Connect is a new portable Bluetooth Speaker set, that (with the help of the built in microphone) also acts as a Bluetooth handsfree kit to make and receive calls. It also comes with a small remote control (although most of functions offered by this can be controlled by your phone, or whatever Bluetooth device you are streaming from). The great thing about this is that you effectively have a future-proof speaker system that will work with almost any Bluetooth device. It is not dependant on some short-lived manufacturer specific connector.
Out of the box you get everything you need to get up and running, including UK transformer, batteries for the remote and a 3.5mm stereo audio jack (should you want to make a hard-wired audio connection to the output of your audio device) and a basic pouch for the Bric.
Everybody has their own tastes, but I certainly think it’s a nice looking device with a very understated, simple and elegant appearance and has a reassuring weight for a device in this class, although the case is almost entirely plastic (you would expect this from a product in this price range), the build quality still seemed good. The twin bass reflex ports in either side of the unit elude to a reassuring capability, so let’s see how it performs
Out of the box the Bric was a doddle to setup there were no complex pairing procedures or cryptic pin codes, just press a button on the remote control, then you just find the device on your smartphone’s list of Bluetooth devices and click to connect. Personally I think that Edifier should have tried harder to eliminate the need for a remote on a Bluetooth device).
During hands free calls the quality was good through the Bric’s speakers, but in the other direction the call quality wasn’t great, but adequate.
We didn’t test the Battery Life when powered by the AA cells, but we are told the average user can expect up to 8 hours continuous use.
This is by no means the cheapest Bluetooth handsfree speaker system on the market, but represents an affordable product by Edifier’s standards. You can see they know what they are doing and have managed to cram an impressive sound into a small and relatively inexpensive package. Although the sound is bright and rich from the Class D amplifier, the dual 70mm speaker drivers don’t create brilliant stereo separation, and the Brics sound is significantly improved by pointing it directly towards you.
And when you crank up the volume it on it certainly doesn’t disappoint, there was no noticeable distortion even at higher volumes.
A good build quality, and weighty feel give the feeling of a solid construction (albeit mostly plastic).
Great sound quality, with punchy bass whilst remaining crisp and bright, should suit most music tastes as well as listing to radio streams and movies.
The ease of setup was impressive and I was up and running in no time
It seems that Edifier didn’t make it possible to initially connect a Bluetooth device without the need for the remote control, but thankfully once this process was completed for the first time I didn’t need the remote for connecting subsequent devices.
I found it a little awkward that the device effectively has 2 volume controls, the one controlled by your phone, and the one controlled by the Brics’ remote control and I was constantly having to adjust both throughout the test. A single “master” volume control would have been ideal.
During the tests the Bluetooth range was less than I would have expected, with the Audio occasionally dropping out. But, it has to be added (disclaimer) that this can be affected by a large number of variables including other wireless systems in close proximity (like WiFi & wireless phone systems which use the same frequency), so I couldn’t be sure there weren’t other factors at play during the test.
I am a great fan of Bluetooth due to the compatibility and relative future-proofness of the technology, but you may struggle with the range in bigger spaces, and don’t whatever you do lose that remote!
With the additional facility to run the device off battery power, and having the aux audio input you have great deal of flexibility with this device.
The handsfree capability is significantly better than you could ever get on a mobile phone handset and great for a domestic environment, but don’t expect it to compete with dedicated conference call equipment in terms of background noise and echo cancellation
The Bric Connect BT is available at SRP £79.99 inc and is available from Microdirect and other leading retailers.