Mpow has established itself as a leader in the wireless accessory market, and the Mpow Armor Plus is one of their latest offerings. The large Bluetooth speaker offers solid sound in a rugged, shockproof and splash proof package.
The Armor Plus is the big brother to Mpow's original Armor speaker and sports two 8-watt speakers, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, hands-free calling and a 5,200 mAh battery. The speaker has a little bit of heft to it but nothing demanding.
Sound quality is excellent and if you need an outdoor (or indoor speaker) that can hold up to the elements, the Mpow Armor Plus is one to consider. It is currently priced at $71.99 US and available at Amazon.
The Mpow Armor Plus measures 8.25 x 3 x 2.15 inches and weighs just shy of 2.5 pounds. When you first take the speaker out of the box, it is clear that this is not a cheaply-made product. The combination of rubber and iron exterior feels solid, and while the speaker has a bit of heft, it isn't cumbersome to hold.
The design of the Mpow Armor Plus offers the speaker's control buttons lining the top of the device, the wrist strap attachment sits to the left, and the speaker's ports rest on the right side. Ports are protected by a rubber flap and include a USB port, micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack. The USB port allows you to tap into the 5,200 mAh battery to charge a device, the micro-USB port allows you to charge the Armor Plus and the 3.5mm jack is a line-in port. Four LED lights line the bottom of this area and serve as charging indicators.
The Mpow Armor Plus is a rugged speaker that is shockproof and splash proof. The speaker is rated at IPX5, which means it can survive being splashed or sprayed by water. While the Armor Plus is water resistant, immersion protection starts at IPX7, so avoid submerging the speaker in water. I would have no problem using the Armor Plus around the pool, the lake, at the beach or anywhere else it could come into contact with the great outdoors.
The Mpow Armor Plus is packaged with a carrying case, handle strap, USB cord, audio cable and owner's manual. Based solely on design and build quality, the Mpow Armor Plus comes across as a very solid Bluetooth speaker, but the proof in the pudding rests with the sound quality.
When you first power-up the Mpow Armor Plus it automatically goes into pairing mode. There are audible confirmations when you power on/off the speaker, when it is connected and when it goes into pairing mode. If you need to pair the speaker after the initial power-up, press and hold the power button as you turn on the device until the blue indicator light turns on. Then long press the play button for about two seconds until the indicator light (on the face of the speaker) begins to flash blue and red.
Controls for the Armor Plus include play/pause, next/previous song, volume up/down and an EQ button to toggle between indoor and outdoor modes. The EQ setting basically dials down the intensity of the sound quality that is more indoor friendly.
The Mpow Armor Plus also has a hands-free calling feature. Just press the EQ button to answer or end a call. Music playback is paused during the call and resumes once the conversation ends. The Armor Plus's microphone picks up your voice nicely and does filter a good bit of the background noises. While the Mpow Armor Plus isn't a feature-rich hands-free solution, it does a nice job offering you the ability to answer calls easily while enjoying a few tunes.
Sound quality from Armor Plus' two 8-watt speakers is very good. The rugged speaker can fill a room with music or audio playback and performs equally as nicely in outdoor situations. While there are plenty of selling points for the Armor Plus, the sound quality tops the list.
Battery performance is rated at twenty-two hours of playback time, which isn't far from the mark based on using the speaker over the past few days. Naturally, battery life is shorter if you use the Armor Plus to re-charge your Windows Phone. Should the battery run low, there is an audible alert that sounds every sixty seconds and you can continue playback while the Armor Plus re-charges.
If you are in the market for one, the Mpow Armor Plus should be on your short list. The speaker is built like a tank and has surprisingly good sound quality. While 2.5 pounds is a bit on the heavy side, the Armor Plus is not burdensome to carry.
The Mpow speaker is a great solution for around the pool, at the beach or around the campground. It gives you a quality option for listening to music files or even audio from videos. I can see the Armor Plus being a great accessory for streaming videos when the tiny speaker on your Windows PC or Mobile device just won't do. While designed for wet and rugged environments, the Armor Plus is an equally attractive option for the more docile settings of your living room.
The Mpow Armor Plus is available in a black/gray color pattern and is currently priced at $71.99 USD through Amazon. It's an impressive Bluetooth speaker and is indicative of the quality we have come to expect out of Mpow products.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.