Review - Nokia MD-12 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

In April, Nokia announced a new accessory called the MD-12 speaker. It features Bluetooth 3.0 HS (High Speed), which is ideal for power consumption, and it weighs only 180 grams. The big selling point though for this $50 accessory is the "guaranteed" 15-hours of battery life for playback, which is impressive.

On Sunday, I reported that Microsoft Stores have begun to sell the MD-12, which is a good thing since it can be hard to find, especially in the US. For $50 (plus free ground shipping), you are not risking much, but is the sound any good?

Specifications and Nokia Product Page

  • Colors: green, yellow, orange or white
  • 38 x 44 mm (H x D)
  • 180 grams
  • Maximum output: 95 dB at 0.5 m
  • 15-hours playback time; 1020 mAh battery
  • NFC: Pairing
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
  • Micro USB charging
  • AV connectors: 3.5 mm audio connector
  • Price: $50 USD

Bass Actuator

Nokia says the MD-12 comes with an actuator for "creating a big bass effect when set on nearly any surface." In fact, placing the MD-12 on any hardwood (and preferably) hollow surface dramatically increase the bass resonance. It is a neat effect and not just a gimmick, as moving the MD-12 around to different objects can affect the richness of the sound greatly. You can even place it on your chest and feel the bass in your body, which is a tad bizarre.

Overall, though, the sound richness and bass from such a small device is noteworthy. I suggest using a wood box of any type e.g. jewelry box to maximize the bass.

Not a feature, but its magnetic

Any good quality speaker is also magnetic, and the MD-12 is no different. However, due to its small size and lack of wires, being able to stick it to your refrigerator, or any metal object is a neat addition. In fact, putting on a refrigerator creates some nice bass in addition to being ideal when cooking or washing the dishes!

Conclusion: Price versus value

I ordered the MD-12 so that I can have something small to toss in my bag when travelling and that also had decent audio quality. Sure, the sound from the MD-12 will not blow you away, but I am more than pleased with it, in fact, I am rather awe-struck overall especially when you find the right surface to place it on for playback.

The size is perfect, I like the color options, and the 15-hours of battery life is significant. Throw in the convenience of NFC pairing and the actuator for bass, and it is probably the best $50 I have spent recently.

For those curious, it does not have stereo per se, but it does mix the streams so you do not lose the left or right channels during playback.

So yeah, if you think you could use this for the office, when traveling or you have a tight area but would like some audio, then I have no hesitation in recommending the MD-12. If you are interested, you can order it from the Microsoft Store or search online at your favorite retailer.

Make sure to watch my video review to see the MD-12 in action.

Do you know of a portable speaker that could challenge the MD-12 for value and features? Let me know in comments. Alternatively, if you already have the Nokia MD-12, tell me what you think of it!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.