It doesn’t seem that long ago that finding a decent Bluetooth speaker was a difficult task.
Roll forward a year or so, and that situation has changed completely. Helped along by the introduction of the Apple Lightning connector for the iPhone 5 and latest iPods, and the continued growth of Android phones, it wasn’t going to be long before we started to see the demise of the old style iPod dock – and the emergence of a new breed of Bluetooth speakers.
Bluetooth speakers, after all, work across platforms – Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry and whatever else – so they’re pretty safe when it comes to using them in todays multi-device, multi-platform homes.
We’ve always been impressed by the Edifier speakers we’ve tested – from the gorgeous Spinnakers to the Esiena, the range has always exuded high quality and well thought out style. I’m also an owner and a big fan of the Soundfreaq SFQ-04 Sound Kick Bluetooth speaker, so I was very interested to see how this Edifier would fare against that.
Portability… to a point
We’ve had smaller Bluetooth speakers for years of course, but decent portable ones have been few and far between. This offering from Edifier, the Bric Connect, is designed to be a much more “move around with you” kind of portable device.
Opening the box and you’re met with a fairly compact and lightweight speaker. The entire casing is plastic, but it is a thick and solid material so should withstand a few bumps and scuffs. It comes in a felt bag presumably to give it a little protection during its travels, however, felt bags normally tear and rip quite easily so this is possibly not the best choice of protection for a £70+ speaker.
Power comes from the mains, or from six (ouch!) AA batteries. The latter of course gives it portability but we’d like to have it rechargeable instead – but many people prefer the battery option so it’s down to personal preference really.
Good looks and nice design details
Finished in gun-metal grey with a black grille, it certainly looks the part. The top is adorned with just three buttons – volume, a telephone button and the on off switch. Around the back, the connections are also minimal, with just a 3.5mm aux socket, and the power socket.
On the bottom, there is a recess where the small remote control can be stored – a clever idea especially considering the proposed portability of the speaker. The sides have two large bass ports finished in a chrome effect plastic, and these give it a nice high end feel.
The speaker is 300mm wide x 90mm high x 120mm deep so is a fairly respectable size and is fine for a portable speaker – perhaps larger than we’d like but not far off. Combined with the felt bag offering, we’re not quite sure how portable Edifier designed this speaker to be – it seems to have erred on the side of style over ruggedness and perhaps is aimed at just taking to a hotel from time to time rather than on any camping trips.
Features are not the Bric Connects strong point
The lack of features on the Bric Connect is not necessarily a bad thing – I mean how much do you really need a Bluetooth speaker to do apart from playback music?
It does have the added benefit of a microphone, and a telephone answer button on the speaker – so if you wanted to use it for remote hands free calling, it can happily do that. There is also a 3.5mm aux in if you have a device that doesn’t do Bluetooth.
Powerful sound from a small speaker
The audio quality is where the Bric Connect really shows its muscle though. The sound is both powerful and dynamic, with a tight bass that is mightily impressive from such a small enclosure. This comes at a cost though with vocals often crowded out of the song – almost to the point of quietness.
Place the speaker on a decent surface (wood worked best for us) and it can sound warm, controlled and exciting and will happily fill a smaller space with your tunes.
We tested the speaker using an iPad 2, and an HTC One with Beats audio turned on, and off, and it coped well with no noticeable difference between the two. The Bluetooth connection was straightforward and quick, and we didn’t hear any interference during the test.
What to consider…
If you want a very portable speaker, there’s better options out there – we’d not be happy hauling this one around. Whilst it seems petty to quibble at this price – the emphasis on vocals could be better and if you like to hear your singers clearly, the Bric Connect is possibly not for you.
Why you should buy the Edifier Bric Connect
For the price, the Bric Connect is very good value for money. It looks good, is well made, and sounds great. Whilst it might not be as portable as we’d like, where it really tries to excel – it succeeds. A well deserved 4.5 stars. Rating: /5