I have begun to notice a recurring theme in my product reviews; I enjoy gadgets that enable both laziness and cheapness. Frankly, I’m a few reviews away from my goal of reconstructing Frito’s apartment in Idiocracy. So I am pretty happy with using my $149.99 iHarmonix Q-i-Sound Bluetooth Speakers by Qmadix as my multi-room audio setup.
It honestly couldn’t be easier to use. The system consists of two white speakers, each about the size of a fist. One is the control unit, and the other only has a power button. If you want to connect your phone or tablet or computer via Bluetooth and place the two speakers on either side of you, you can get some decent wireless audio out of the system. Or you can go the lazy/cheap/Cotter way and put one upstairs and one downstairs, so you can listen to tunes as you head out of the bedroom and downstairs to the shower.
One speaker alone provides a decent output — not too loud, but just loud enough that I can hear my Pimsleur French lessons over the sound of the shower. Tres bien!
When you actually use the two together, though, you might run into a few issues. The pair can put out a pretty good racket, but there’s not a whole lot of bass, and voices can sound a little bit tinny — not a big deal when you’re dealing with monophonic sound, but it becomes more noticeable when you have a stereo signal to work with. The bigger issue is that unless they are placed exactly right, they don’t image very well, resulting in two distinct sources of sound, which makes listening to voices especially distracting.
So I stick to keeping one in each room. The range is cut down with all of the walls and the floor in between, but it reaches just far enough. I wish there was a volume control on the secondary unit though.
There is also a built-in microphone in the control unit so you can take calls through it. When I tried it out, I was told I sounded good enough on the other end, like I was on a speakerphone. The person on the other end of the call sounded great to me, and the audio only came through the control unit, so there wasn’t any dual-voice issue there.
Even with my fairly regular use at top volume, it seems like they rarely need a charge, which you can do through the wall, or through a USB connection. Qmadix says you should get eight hours of play time or 10 days of standby time, but I turn it off when I’m done and I think I went about two months between charges. It would also be nice if I could play sound from my old laptop through the USB since it doesn’t have Bluetooth, but I could use them with my newer MacBook Air’s Bluetooth connection.
The speakers sport a nice minimalist design that I like, and they come with a nice zip-up protective case. When you place the speakers face-to-face, there is a magnetic connection that locks them together.
All that said, I’m happy I have these speakers, and I’m fine with the life decisions that have led me to use them as I do. If you’re looking for a pair of desktop speakers, or a pair to use while you watch videos, these aren’t going to do the job for you, but if you want two highly portable Bluetooth speakers with long battery life that you can set up in different places, the iharmonix Q-i-sound Bluetooth Stereo Speakers by Qmadix are a fine choice.