I have reviewed other speakers here on the Gadgeteer, and recently found an incredible little Bluetooth powerhouse called The Phoenix by Beacon. It has some awesome features and sound. But when I saw the Kinivo BTX450 Bluetooth Speaker with its sleek, sexy profile (can a speaker be sexy??) I wondered if that larger size packed enough magic to steal my heart away from the Phoenix. Let’s find out!
‘In the box’ and specs
The Kinivo came with a 3 ft. auxiliary audio cable and a power charger. Inside the speaker itself is a 3,600 mAh rechargable Lithium-Ion battery. A small booklet of instructions was also in the box. Bluetooth is the standard A2DP Bluetooth. The speaker sells on Amazon for $59.99. It weighs almost 2 lbs.
Dimensions and quality
The first thing I noticed about the Kinivo was the quality of the device. Even though it weights only 2 lbs, it feels heavy and solid. It has non-slip rubberized pads on the bottom and the front is almost entirely covered (except for a silver strip across the bottom) in the fabric you find on high-end speakers. It is almost 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep. It is about 3.5 inches high in the front and it tapers to 2.5 inches high in the back. There are 4 buttons on top: power, volume up, volume down, and Bluetooth. On the back you’ll find the 3.5mm auxiliary audio port, the power port, and a USB port.
The auxiliary audio port is of course to use with devices that don’t have Bluetooth so you can play music from them. My laptop has Bluetooth, but I normally plug up the Kinivo to my laptop on my office desk at home. The USB port on the back is so that you can plug up your cellphone or tablet to charge it while you are playing music via Bluetooth or the audio cable. Nice touch! Note that the Kinivo must be plugged up to power before the USB charging will work, and you cannot plug up a jumpdrive full of mp3 files to play from the jumpdrive. The USB port only charges.
Overall, the device feels like a quality product.
Performance and sound
The sound of the Kinivo is impressive. The sound you get you would expect to get from a higher-end stereo, not from this small device. The base sounds are full and I hear very little distortion when I turn the speaker all the way up. I put the Kinivo in the middle of the house and was able to hear the music from one end of the house to the other.
I had no problem with the Bluetooth syncing with any of my devices. I was able to sync the Bluetooth with my Windows 7 laptop, and Android smartphone, an iPhone 4S, a Nexus 7 tablet, an iPod, an ASUS Transformer tablet, and an iPad. I got a solid Bluetooth signal to almost 30 ft on all those devices, so the Bluetooth was impressive.
It’s important to note that the buttons on top of the speaker do not provide any sort of music control. So you can’t skip tracks or play/pause. All of that must be done via the device playing the music. So for those looking for a remote control to let you control the music through the Kinivo, you won’t find one.
Kinivo claims 5-6 hours of continuous wireless playback on a charge, and I got right at 6 hours. Honestly, I was expecting a longer playback than that, especially considering the 3,600 mAh battery. But I suppose the high level of sound coming out of it has something to do with that.
The bottom line is that for the price, this Bluetooth speaker is impressive. The sound is very good, the Bluetooth synced flawlessly with my devices, and it feels like a solidly built device. So will it replace The Phoenix by Beacon? No. But the Phoenix won’t replace the Kinivo either. The Phoenix is great for carrying with me because of its baseball-sized frame, so it fits in my computer bag very easily. The Kinivo is also small enough to carry with me for sure, but it is a tight fit in my computer bag with everything else in there. So I use it around my house more than anything else. The Kinivo is great for listening to music on the back patio, or outside in the yard while working. It’s a great value!