Bluetooth compatible (up to 10m)
Class-D amplifier with 4W of power microUSB port
3.5mm audio jack
Li-ion battery with 8 hours of playback (5 hours on Bluetooth)
• Loud when popped
• No volume controls on the speaker
• Included USB cord too short
If you’re an audiophile and need a portable speaker for your music, consider the Divoom Bluetune Pop. Just remember to pop it up if you want the best sound quality.
Some of our older readers might remember the boombox, one of the biggest mobile devices (literally and figuratively) during the 80s and 90s. You popped your cassette tapes inside and brought it around for you and your friends to listen to (or to annoy the public, depending on what you were listening to). Since then, technology has made speakers and similar audio devices smaller and smaller while improving the quality of audio and keeping the sound just as powerful. Now you have these portable speakers that are a fraction of the size of boomboxes, and can plug in to any device that can play music. If you have a Bluetooth enabled device, you can even just keep it at a distance and control the music from there.
The Divoom Bluetune Pop is one of the many portable speaker offerings from Divoom that you can take around with you and set up at a party to jam with your friends, or get some tunes going in the office to keep everyone awake and lively. It was revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I unboxed the device and noticed that Divoom didn’t skimp on the aesthetics—it looks like a miniature flying saucer, but aesthetics largely rely on your taste, and this isn’t bad looking at all. The device weighed 255g, just a little heavier than the average smartphone. It also literally pops, so the device name isn’t just some marketing gimmick to get you to buy the device. While unpopped, you can still listen to your music, and the sound is pretty good to begin with. When you pop it open—you can do this simply by pressing the bottom of the device—you get extra bass and improved sound, and also access to the connectivity port. My favorite genres are rap/hip-hop and all the various types of electronic music that most people dance to in the clubs, so I definitely kept it popped open to enjoy my music wherever I was in the house—whether it was downstairs, in my room, or in the shower.
If your music player is a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can use the Bluetune Pop from anywhere the Bluetooth device can reach. If you have older devices that aren’t Bluetooth compatible, there is an audio in jack attached to the cord that comes with the device that you can use to play your music. To charge your device, you’ll need to pop the speaker up to reveal a microUSB port. The cord that comes with the device is a little short, but you can use any cord with a microUSB connector and plug it in to anything with a USB port to charge it. A full charge will last you up to eight hours (five hours if you’re using a Bluetooth device), but that will depend on how loud (or soft) you want to play your music, as playing it louder will use up more battery. A major downer is that there is no volume rocker on the Bluetune Pop itself, which is a blessing and a curse depending on the device you’re streaming your music from. Bluetooth users probably won’t mind that omission, but non-Bluetooth users will find themselves going back to the device that is attached to the speaker just to change the volume.
As for sound quality, I found the Bluetune Pop to be pretty loud. We’re not talking rock concert or eardrum shattering loud, as that’s the job of bigger and more powerful speakers, but loud enough to hear from any room in my apartment when it’s popped. It was so loud that I even had to turn it down while I was in the same room as the device. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous reviews, living in an apartment can limit the usefulness of certain gadgets, and speakers are one of those gadgets. You don’t want to get any noise complaints from the neighbors—they might not agree with you blasting Calvin Harris or Iron Maiden at 1 am on a Thursday night. However, the sound is impressive from a speaker of that size. Fans of rap/hip-hop and dance music will find that the sound quality of these genres will be brought out pretty well.
At only PHP 1,600, it’s actually quite a bargain—portability-wise and sound quality-wise. You can relive the 80s and 90s, but you don’t need to bring around a huge boombox on your shoulders to do so anymore—all you need is any device that can play music, the Bluetune Pop, and the included cord (if you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled device).
First Published in Gadgets Magazine, April 2013
Words by Jose Alvarez