In this quick review we take a look at the Soundwave SW50 Bluetooth speaker phone. A tiny speaker that has a lot in common with the Logitech Mini Boombox we’ve reviewed a few days ago: both uses Bluetooth technology, both have a built-in microphone to make calls, but the SW50 is much cheaper, smaller, uses a single driver, lacks any audio control and doesn’t have an Aux jack. At one third of the Mini Boombox’s price is it a lesser product or should you consider it?
· Bluetooth 3.0
· Bluetooth Profiles: HSP v1.2, HFP v1.5, A2DP v1.2
· RF Frequency Range: 2.402-2.480Ghz, 2.4G ISM band
· Radio Performance: Receive Sensitivity of -90dBm, TX Power Max 4dBm,
· Class 2 Bluetooth device, operating range: up to 10M
· Advanced multi-point support
· Multi-point A2DP Streaming
· Frequency Response: 20Hz- 20KHz (60Hz- 20KHz)
· Signal-To-Noise Ratio (SNR): 95Db
· Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): 0.1%
· 2W Speaker Output level: 80dB at 0.5m
· Built-in Anti-Noise Microphone
· 1 Button Design: MFB, Power Slide Switch
· LED Status Inidicator: Blue Red
· USB Charging Port
· Rechargeable 400mAh Li-Polymer Battery
· Charger Adpater output: DC 5V & 200mA
· Charging time: Max 2 hours
· Talk Time: Up to 12 hours
The Soundwave SW50 Bluetooth speaker phone
While there aren’t many Bluetooth speakers as one would think, there are even fewer Bluetooth speakers with built-in microphone. Surprisingly, the lower-priced Soundwave SW50 happens to have both. This enables it to be used like any standard Bluetooth speaker and in addition can be used to make calls. These tiny speakers which come in both Black or White have a distinctive metallic Red speaker cone and are rated at 2 watts. While it does support A2DP for music playback, it lack AVRCP, something it obviously doesn’t need due to its “One Button” design. As a result a single call button (two if you add the power switch) can be found on the SW50, leaving volume and music controls to the phone it’s connected to. It lacks an Aux jack, but at this price point we wouldn’t expect it to have one and considering its size I’d pretty much prefer using Bluetooth 95% of the time. It certainly was a wise decision to leave an AUX Jack out to keep the price in check. And that’s exactly where the SW50 surprises: at about $31 it’s simply a steal. Once you consider that it barely costs 30 dollars and considering the fact that it’s a full Bluetooth speaker with built-in mic you start to realize the bargain that is the SW50.
It comes with a rechargeable cable, an anti-slip mat and while the manual mentions an adapter, one wasn’t included. It’s 400mAh battery shouldn’t take long to fully recharge using a standard USB port. We do wish an adapter was included.
The SW50 looks like a small pyramid missing its pointy top, which it replaces with its trademark red metallic speaker cone. The speaker cone is protected by a triangle shaped speaker grill, which does leave some areas of the cone unprotected. The rest of the speaker is done in a glossy black finish, feeling quite solid in the hand and lacking any unwanted squeaks, surprising for a product of this price. On the front you’ll find the Microphone, call/answer button which doubles as a pairing button and LED light. On the back we find an On/Off switch and on the other side there’s a Mini USB port. It’s pretty simple. On the bottom side, they decided to use 3 rubber legs to keep the speaker in place, but seeing how this speaker tends to vibrate and move, this is obviously the reason why they decided to include the anti-slip mat. The perforations on the bottom side also reveals the presence of a reflex port which is one way manufacturer tend to increase a speakers efficiency and bass. The 2” cone of the SW50 is about the size of tweeters used on full-sized speakers, having a reflex port should help a bit when it comes to the lower frequencies. Pictures don’t do the SW50 justice: it’s design is quite elegant and unobtrusive meaning that it should blend into any décor. I especially liked the ability of being able to blast ambient music to it, all while others simply couldn’t find it due its discreet all-black design and size.
The SW50 sounds surprisingly good for something this small and at this price point. The reflex port seems to be doing its job quite well since there’s a tiny bit of bass to speak off. With a single 2” speaker cone I expected lower frequencies to be non-existent, but surprisingly they are there. In some cases these do tend to sound a bit bright, but that’s something you’d expect from a cone this small. Overall, performance is quite good with mids being a bit muffled, if I had to be critical. Podcasts and ambient sounds is where these really shine, while it did a pretty good job when it comes to voice calls. Overall, these small speakers perform surprisingly well for something this size, but just be aware that mids can be a bit muffled. Bluetooth range and performance is about average.
At $31, the Soundwave SW50 is quite affordable making it the perfect gift item or ideal for having a few of these in different rooms. Very few speakers have both Bluetooth and a built-in Mic and the SW50 at $31 happens to have both. It’s design is quite unobtrusive allowing it to blend in quite easy. Despite its 2” speaker cone, it performs quite well aided by its reflex port. Mids on the SW50 can be a bit muffled, but there’s a bit of bass and highs are done quite well. The SW50 is a bargain at this price and you get quite a lot. We just wish an adapter was included. It may not be Jawbone Jambox, but it sure gets the job done at a fraction of the cost. It gets a 7.7 out of 10.