Sexy sound that won't give out at the pool, in the bedroom or anywhere else
We've reviewed a couple of phone and tablet accessories from Lumsing before: their Ultrathin keyboard and their Harmonica Power Bank. I found both items to look and work great, especially given their low prices. Today we check out a new kind of accessory from Lumsing –a Bluetooth speaker.
The Lumsing Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker (also known as the HiFi MM526) is a tiny portable speaker with microphone. It can connect to your phone, tablet, or other device by either Bluetooth or auxiliary cable. The speaker comes in five different colors and can clip onto your bag or clothing with ease. It also happens to be splashproof, so you can take it to the pool without fear. The MM526 sells for less than $40, making it a great alternative to the Nokia MD-12 speaker.
Lumsing HiFi MM526 specs
- Battery capacity:3.7V/1000mAh
- Loudspeaker: 2-3Ω
- Signal to noise ratio: ≥70dB
- Working hours: ≈8h (being different based on volume and music)
- Size: W80×H81×D83mm
- Transmission distance of Bluetooth: ≥10m
- Degree of distortion: ≤0.5%@1W
- Frequency response: 100Hz~20KHz
- Charging voltage: DC5V,≥500mA
- Bluetooth version: 4.0
- Product Warranty: One Full Year
Size and style
The MM526 comes in five colors: blue, green, grey, orange, and hot pink. Only blue and green are available in the UK. The blue my speaker came in closely resembles the cyan Nokia Lumia 920. Which is to say: it's bright and pretty.
When viewed from the side, the speaker has a mostly trapezoidal shape. It starts out thick on top and tapering down towards the bottom. From above or below, the shape is that of a square with recessed corners. The actual top and bottom are gray in color.
Two of the MM526's sides are mostly featureless, except for a white Lumsing logo and a couple of ridges. The two ridges provide some grip, making it easier to hold the speaker without dropping it.
Metal clip, micro-USB charging, and audio input jack
The third side of the speaker has a metal clip that can be folded up when in use and folded against the speaker (sticking out about 4mm) when not in use. The clip's metallic color matches that of the speaker, so an orange speaker will have an orange clip, etc.
Below the clip is a compartment that houses the speaker's micro-USB port and 3.5mm audio port. The ports are covered by a thin rubbery door in order to protect them from water and other elements. It opens easily, so accessing the ports won't be a problem. My concern with the design is that the door could break off eventually, especially if someone applies excessive pressure to it. The rubbery hinge is only like 2mm thick. I guess you could still use it even if it broke off, as long as you didn't lose it.
As for actually using those ports, Lumsing has you covered. TheMM526 comes with both a 3.5 mm male-to-male cable, and a micro-USB cable measuring about 1.5 feet in length. You can use the 3.5mm cable to connect the speaker to devices that don't support Bluetooth, or even just to avoid the use of Bluetooth with devices that do support it.
The speaker doesn't come with an actual wall charger for the micro-USB cable, but that's not uncommon. Plug the speaker into a USB power source and the power light (on the opposite side of the speaker) will glow green as long as it charges. Charging time should take 1-2 hours and offers about 8 hours of battery life. That number is this speaker's greatest weakness compared to the Nokia MD-12, which gets 15 hours of battery life.
Powering on pairing the speaker to your device
The Lumsing Waterproof Speaker's power button is located on the bottom of the unit. Basically the entire bottom side is one giant power button, which I like. Press and hold the button for two seconds to turn it on or off. The speaker will announce "Powering on" or "Powering off" out loud when you do so.
After powering the unit on, it goes into Bluetooth discovery mode. During this time, you would select the speaker's name on your phone or tablet in order to pair the devices. After that, the speaker will automatically find your device as long as Bluetooth remains switched on. The voice prompt announces "Paired" each time the speaker finds the paired device.
If the speaker doesn't find a device to pair with after ten minutes, it will automatically shut down.
Controls and calls
On the opposite side of the speaker's clip and ports side, you'll find four large buttons etched into the device's rubbery surface: Play/Pause, +, -, and Phone.
Play/Pause (as you'd expect) will alternate between playing and pausing music and video apps. On Windows Phone, it works fine on YouTube and will pause Netflix. Unfortunately Netflix experiences an error after pausing, likely due to that app's general crumminess.
The + and - buttons simply raise or lower the speaker's volume. That adjustment is in addition to the device's own volume settings.
One advantage the Lumsing MM526 has over the Nokia MD-12: this one has a microphone, so you can use it as a speakerphone. When a call comes in (indicated by a simple and pleasant Donkey Kong-like tune), press the phone button to answer it. If you initiate a call while the speaker is on, the call will automatically go through the speaker. Press the phone button to end the call when you're done.
Below the control buttons lie two LEDs: power and Bluetooth. The power light glows green when the speaker is charging. It only has a single LED, so unfortunately you can't determine the speaker's charge level.
The power LED does not remain on during use, but the (blue, duh!) Bluetooth LED does. If the speaker can't find a connected device, a voice prompt indicates "Ready to pair" and the Bluetooth LED will blink instead of remaining steady.
The microphone used during phone calls sits between the power and Bluetooth LEDs, clearly labelled in white text. I gave my dear old mother a call using the speaker mic and she had no trouble understanding me during the call.
Durability and water resistance
The Lumsing Waterproof Speaker has an International Protection (IP) rating of 64. That means it's completely protected from dust. As for water, the rating indicates the speaker is protected from splashes, but not submersion.
As mentioned earlier, Lumsing's Amazon listing uses both waterproof and splashproof, but the facts point towards the speaker just being protected against splashes. I believe a large quantity of liquid would be able to penetrate the speaker grill. Don't toss it in the pool.
The HiFi MM526 is great little speaker for the price. It provides a fuller, louder sound than a phone or tablet could do on its own. Most of us probably won't use the calling option, but it's cool to have. The attractive and distinct appearance is welcome, as is the resistance to splashes.
This speaker only has two significant disadvantages that I can see: the 8-hour battery life (discussed earlier) and the inability to disable voice prompts. Those prompts are loud and somewhat redundant. It's not a huge deal, but there should be an option to turn them off.
If you're choosing between the Lumsing MM526 and the Nokia MD-12, the latter is a bit smaller, has better battery life, and offers NFC pairing (a very minor feature in my opinion). This one has calling support and splash resistance, plus it costs at least ten bucks less. If you don't mind having to charge it a bit more, Lumsing's Splashproof speaker won't let you down.