What is being reviewed?
Up for review today is the Acoustic Research AWSBTSK Portable Wireless Speaker.
Acoustic Research has a whole line of portable speakers meant for all your outdoor summer events. They take their architectural cue from lanterns, about 14-inches tall with a handle on top, and serve as a beacon of audio goodness at your pool or picnic.
Of course I’m partial to the skin, but even without it, I like the look of the speaker. Underneath my custom skin is U/V protected weather-resistant casing — because this speaker is meant to be grabbed and carried around. It feels sturdy, like I can swing it around, throw it in the car, and it will be fine. It has a sleek and aesthetically pleasing design. To me It sort of looks like a futuristic space-heater, which is appropriate since you can set it down in the middle of your party and the sound radiates out. It’s not your home theater, but that’s not the point of this unit. For a single speaker that you can grab on the go, and drop outdoors and plays audio via Bluetooth, the AWSBTSK performs admirably. The specs include a 2-way acoustic design with a 3-inch driver and 1.5-inch tweeter.
The AWSBTSK has the best of both worlds with Bluetooth wireless compatibility and a hidden compartment with a 3.5mm jack to connect your device, so you can take your pick, but either way, connecting is easy. There are only four buttons on the top; a button each for volume up and volume down, power, and pair.
Bluetooth pairing was a breeze. There is an LED light that lets you know what is going on with the speaker. Hold the pair button for three seconds and the LED flashes rapidly to let you know it is in pairing mode. Open the Bluetooth connection on your device, and you’re connected in seconds, and the LED stops flashing. You can also press the power button a second time to select the auxiliary (wired) connection, and the LED will turn solid green. Those are all the controls to ever learn.
If you’d like to use a wired connection, the 3.5mm jack is housed in the hidden compartment in the back. It’s lined with foam so your device will be extra protected, which is great if you’re near splashing water, dirt or sand. If you’re using the Bluetooth connection you’ could use the compartment to store your wallet or keys.
If you go with Bluetooth, the connection is supposed to work for up to 33 feet. Using my iPhone, my connection could get broken up by some walls when walking around with my phone in my pocket. When you use it outside this isn’t a problem, and you can get a little distance from the speaker and maintain that connection.
The bottom line
This speaker is all about options. You can plug it in with an AC adapter or take it out with 6 AA batteries. I like having it in my house so anyone who comes over can broadcast some tunes, and I like being able to swing it up and carry it down the street with me to the park. I definitely like my custom skin. It looks good, feels good, and sounds good. Acoustic Research has a good thing going with this line.