iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker impressive sound from a little box.

One of the best parts about macsource.com is that I am presented with items to test and review. These are items that I may not have personally purchased or ones that I did not know existed. It is through this source that I have been exposed to the iclever line of gear. I have since become a rather large fan of the company, as they produce good, quality tech. I just wish that they focused more on the packaging. The brown box trend is not product flattering and leaves the consumer with questions about contents of the box.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

Packaging:
Similar to other iclever gear, this device comes shipped in a brown cardboard box, with black writing. At the top left is the iclever logo and in black in larger font is OUTDOOR WIRELESS SPEAKER MODEL IC-BTS03. There are a few stickers with SKU and M-Date. The other side of the box has the typical technology logos. FC, CE, Do not throw away logo, RoHS. We have seen these so often and forget that they are there. However, it is reassuring to know that people are testing these to make sure that they are safe for use. Opening the box your eyes are immediately drawn to the rugged appearing black speaker with orange accents. This device is rather attractive. At the top is a nice carry/wrist handle, and rubberized buttons power, +/-, play/pause. On the side of the device is the access port for charging and for the 3.5mm headphone jack. This device can be used with Bluetooth and with direct plug and play. The speaker is resting on a form fitted clear plastic tray. Underneath you have the instruction manual and a USB A to USB micro cable and a 3.5mm to 3.55mm Jack.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

Instruction Manual:
The manual is Quite helpful and acceptably written. It appears to be either translated or written by a non native speaker. The speaker has a 2000mAh battery and is listed at IP65 (Complete dust protection and splash/jet resistant but not submersible) water resistance. I wish that this was at least IP67 as this is the level that allows short immersion. This makes the device suitable for outdoor use, suitable for rain and most outdoor use. However it is not suitable for areas that may cause the device to be under water. Page 1 has a very useful table, probably the most useful piece of the manual. This is followed closely by the nice diagrams on page 2, detailing the aspects of the device. The device measures at 10.2 ounces (286g) and 3 7/8″ X 3 1/2″ X 2 1/8″ (98x98x50mm). It is estimated to last 8-10 hours on one charge of battery and will take about 3 hours to charge. The downside is that it uses V3.0 instead of Bluetooth 3.1 or the newest standard Bluetooth 4.0.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

Why should we care? I invite you to check out the Bluetooth Wikipedia page to learn more about the technology that we all use. Here is a nugget of information that I did not find on that particular page, but did find through Internet surfing. The name and symbol for Bluetooth was actually taken from a 10th century Danish King, who united parts of Scandinavia (King Harald Blatand (Bluetooth)). It is uncertain why they called him Bluetooth. It is thought he may have had a bad tooth or he wore blue, which was one of the hardest colors to make at the time. He has an interesting Wikipedia page as well. It was this unification and linking that had Ericsson use this particular name and the runes for the initials of the King make up the Bluetooth symbol. There are a few things to know about Bluetooth technology. It was created in 1994 by Ericsson and was designed to allow short range communications. When looking at a given product, it is important to note the number 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0 etc. However, it is also important to note EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), HS (High Speed), LE (Low Energy). Newer generations of Bluetooth have introduced faster transfer, better use of Wifi networks, more secure transfer, smart power usageJust because you have a 3.0 Bluetooth device, does not mean it has the High Speed or the EDR. Please note that this device is V3.0+EDR which allows a transfer rate of about 3.1 transfer speeds occur at up to 24Mbit/second transfer. Bluetooth 4.0 has been around since mid 2010 and uses less energy, has better range, is faster, and is more secure.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

This speaker is really impressive. It is small and it packs a punch. I am really impressed that they included a tripod mount in addition to the wrist strap. To turn the device on, hold the power button (Far left from the hand strap). Open the settings on your phone and find the device (IC-BTS03) in the list. You will hear a robotic female voice state “Power on, Pairing.” Once you select the IC-BTS03 from the list the same robotic voice will state “Connected.” I ran through my normal gambit of songs “Hotel California” from the Eagles, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” Meatloaf, “Somebody to Love” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen. Next, I played some Johnny Cash and Josh Turner, Braveheart soundtrack and “Why So Serious, The Joker Theme” Dark Knight Rises. This speaker produces more sound than I thought it would. If you crank the sound to max, it does get a little Tinny. I was impressed with the bass and with the treble. Additionally this is IP65 water resistant and thus you can use this near water (please do not submerge). I splashed it with my shower head a few times, playing it in the shower on my shower rack.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

Out of the box I used the device for about 6 hours, before putting it onto charge. It will power off if nothing has used it for 10 minutes. I moved it to an entire opposite end of my home, approximately 25 feet away and through 3 walls. The music seemed to play just fine without any lag. The sound was crisp and remained sharp. I moved the device to just at 40 feet and it came in and out of playing suggesting this was the limit to the sound (direct line of sight, no walls). I had no difference in play quality from Bluetooth vs AUX in. This was not noticeably different. While plugging in and charging you will see a red light on suggesting charging is occurring and when done a green light will be on. Blue LED on suggests it is paired. This device does have the ability to answer calls by tapping the triangle phone button. Press it again to end the call. This is the weakest feature of the device as the microphone does not pick up sound across the room that well. My mother called me and told me I was in a tunnel, my wife told me to quit playing and talk on the phone. This seems to be an add on feature and I would not use this for phone calls anyway.

iClever Outdoor Wireless Speaker Review

Summary:
The device does what it says it will do and tries to include a few bonus perks such as the carry handle, the bottom tripod/stand screw point and the call answering. The speaker was much stronger than I expected and I will continue to use this as my outdoor speaker. I have ran this through my normal song regimen and the bass was low and the treble was clear. At full volume the sound is mildly tinny. Moving it a bit further away does help with the sound quality at higher volume. Lowering the volume brought the sound back. I placed the device into the shower, hit it with direct water spray and let the water run for 2 minutes in direct spray (side port closed)). The IP65 rating is accurate. The remaining battery indicator does display on the iPhone 6S panel, which is a really nice feature. Hold the power button and you get an audible “Power Off.” I wish that the call answer feature was actually not included, it is not necessary and the microphone is not that sensitive to pick up sound. To get reasonable sound I had to be right up on the device. I rate this at 4/5. As a speaker it works wonderfully well. Being IP65 is actually a great layer of protection for this device. I would use this as an outdoor speaker, at the park or campground to play music or to have better sound from an iPad movie. I will try this with a projector and see how they line up. For now I am really impressed with the sound from this little box.
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