LoFree EDGE Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker and Handsfree Speakerphone review

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Over the years, I’ve had the chance to review several small, wooden speakers from Pyramid Distribution.  You’ll find links to those reviews at the end of this review.  I had assumed those cute little speakers, shaped like acorns or Scottie dogs, would be more fun than functional, but I was proven wrong by every one of those I reviewed.  They packed a lot of volume, and features like FM radio receivers or even card readers for playing MP3 files, in their small forms, and they worked well to beef up the sound from my iPad or iPhone.  Because of my experience with those little speakers, I didn’t go into the review of the LoFree EDGE Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker and Handsfree Speakerphone with low expectations.  Let’s see how it performs.

You can see from the top image that this speaker isn’t made of wood.  It’s white plastic with frosted plastic inserts along the sides that that allow status lights to show through.  It’s a cube that measures 2.5″ per side.  The front has the EDGE logo, and there’s a ribbon with a LoFree logo glued into the side.  I hate these ribbons on devices.  I tend to cut them off as soon as I possibly can.

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The EDGE comes with two flat-ribbon cables.  One of them is a microUSB-to-USB charging cable, and the other is a 3.5mm audio cable.  You don’t get an AC charger, but I just used one of the many I have around the house to charge the speaker’s lithium battery.  I charged it about 3 hours before turning it on.   The top image shows the red light that glows while the speaker is charging.

The 3.5mm audio cable allows you to use the speaker with devices that aren’t Bluetooth-enabled.  The plastic plug ends are wide and flat, and they don’t fit through the opening in my iPad case.

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The top of the EDGE has a white grill over the speaker.  You’ll also notice volume and playback controls marked on the top.  These aren’t buttons, but pressing on the marker will cause the actual buttons on the bottom of the speaker to be pressed.

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Here’s a better look at the ribbon LoFree badge.  You can also see the USB charging cable sticking out of the back of the EDGE.

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Here’s the charging jack and the jack for the 3.5mm audio cable.  If you plug the audio cable into the speaker, it will override any Bluetooth connections you may have set up for the speaker.

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Here you see the actual buttons (under the smaller rubber feet) that are activated when you press on the top corners.  There’s also a power switch on the bottom.

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The white light shows when you first turn on the speaker, and it blinks while in pairing mode.  When you turn on the speaker, you’ll hear a loud, irritating series of robotic sounds.  You’ll also hear irritating sounds when it enters pairing mode.  The light stays on after pairing is complete.  Pairing was quickly and easily established with my iPhone 6 Plus and with my iPad mini with Retina display, and it always quickly reconnected after I had turned everything off and back on.  You can pair the EDGE with only one device at a time, though.

I first tested the sound through the Bluetooth connection.  Just as you always get with Bluetooth, the music is a bit compressed or flattened.  There’s not much you can do about that, because it’s the nature of Bluetooth.  This little speaker only has 3W of power, but that it still is able to produce much more volume than my iPad mini’s built-in speakers.  The volume controls do work to adjust the sound volume, but the maximum volume is determined by the setting on the connected device.  Music sounded fine through this little speaker, as did the audio track of videos, TV shows, and movies I tried watching on my iPad.  (I used the iPad for most of my testing because it is always in my hands anyway!)  It’s much louder and clearer than the iPad’s built-in speaker.

I also tried it connected to my device using the 3.5mm cable.  The sound was very similar in quality to what I got through the Bluetooth connection.  Perhaps part of the compression I heard that I thought was all due to the Bluetooth was actually partly due to the frequency range of the speaker itself.  I didn’t see any specs for the frequency range, but small speakers like this 50mm one in the EDGE often are lacking on the upper, lower, or both ends of the range.  Again, it’s just the nature of the beast with small, inexpensive speakers.

The EDGE also works as a hands-free speaker phone.  It functioned well when I tried it with some calls.  I was able to hear my caller clearly, and my caller could clearly understand me, too.

You should get about 5 hours of use on a charge, but you can still use the speaker while it charges.  At 1.1 pounds, it’s small enough that you can throw it in your gear bag.  I’m going to keep the EDGE on my night table so it will be handy when I want to watch the latest Lolcat video before going to sleep at night.  No more trying to find the sweet spot to hold the iPad so it’s close to my ear so I can hear but still where I can actually see the screen, too.

Source: The sample of the LoFree EDGE Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker and Handsfree Speakerphone was provided by Pyramid Distribution for this review.

 

Product Information

Price:$49.99
Retailer:Pyramid Distribution
Requirements:
  • Audio source
Pros:
  • Can use a Bluetooth connection or a wired connection
  • Good volume and decent sound for such a small speaker
  • Bluetooth connects easily
  • Also works as a hands-free speakerphone
Cons:
  • Bluetooth, just like it always does, compresses the music and "flattens" the sound, but it's still louder and better than my iPad's speakers
  • The shape of the audio cable plug doesn't work with all device cases
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Bluetooth Gear, Reviews
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • aphoid October 7, 2014, 10:20 am

    Bluetooth doesn’t inherently compress audio. If the sender and receiver support aptX, they can do high quality sound. I suspect that the issue is far more about the speaker than the connection.

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