July 31, 2014

Review: Rocksteady XS portable micro Bluetooth speaker

rocksteady xs

rocksteadyRecently, I have been looking for a portable speaker to replace the old Panasonic ones I have had around for years. I want something that is powerful, easy to use, and of course reasonably priced (and yes, more modern too.) After going through a few options, I may have found just the thing.

Let me introduce the Rocksteady XS from Killer Concepts, a portable micro Bluetooth speaker designed for use with any audio source. It has buttons for everything, including play/pause, skip, volume and the super secretive “mode.” It also includes an audio port for a line in, and a full-sized USB port for audio in and device charging as well.

Don’t let the small size of the XS fool you. The design of this compact speaker is quite smart since the main speakers face out the two sides of the unit, as well as extra port holes on the top. This gives the RockSteady XS a huge advantage over other speakers I’ve used, with a 100db roar that surprises even the most educated user.

Durability

As far as durability is concerned, the Rocksteady XS is made of brushed black aluminum, making it tough yet light (only weighs 19.2oz). There is a removable battery located on the bottom (a basic BL-5C that lasts an average of 10 hours,) and as nice it is to be able to remove it, it is also a feature you will probably need to use.

In my 4 weeks of testing, I sadly had to replace the battery quite a few times since it has no battery-saving sleep mode. After noticing this was a missing feature, I quickly got the hang of turning the device off when not in use (button is on the back of the speaker.) Users can purchase more batteries from Killer Concepts however, making this a good option for someone like me who needs longer than one battery’s worth of life. Another neat addition to the unit is the varied colors of LEDs used for different charging stages which is easily noticeable on the bottom of the device.

Sound

When it comes to sound, there’s quite a bit of good news. When I had it hooked up via Bluetooth, the sound remains clear and distortion free. It took quite a few times to get it to connect, but once it was established it was easy. This is awesome for listening at the pool, beach, or any other outdoor activity.

The sound itself is fairly well-balanced, but there is a slight “tinny” sound that can easily be heard at higher volumes. The 100db sound that comes from such a small device will honestly surprise you at first use and is definitely one of the best-sounding speakers in its class.

back rocksteady xs

 

Tech Specs:

  • Frequency Response: 150-18000HZ
  • Magnetically Shielded 
  • Subwoofer Size: 1.77in
  • Tweeter Type: 4ohm 3W
  • Woofer Size: 1.77in
  • 2 speakers plus a passive subwoofer
  • Peak Power: 6W
  • Charger: Micro USB
  • Play time: About 10 hours
  • Bluetooth Technology: 3.0

Size:

  • 6 1/5″ Length
  • 1 7/8″ Width
  • 2 1/8″ Height
  • 19.2 oz. Weight

 

What I like

Overall, the Rocksteady XS is an amazing speaker for the price. At around $99, it is a portable and very well priced device that can be used in a variety of situations. If you are looking for a speaker that produces immense sound, includes a range that helps drown out any environmental noise, and works well outdoors, the XS is absolutely perfect. Honestly, if loud is what you want you won’t be disappointed. I also love that as stated before, you have the option to listen via Bluetooth, a USB stick, or line in, giving users flexibility in use (as well as the ability to charge devices.)

What I would like to see improved

The battery. At an average of 10 hours of use before needing charged, there is no problem with duration time. Problem: if you leave the device on, it does not sleep and next time you come to use it you’ll find it dead.

Another small issue is the mode switch. When you switch the device on, it’s waiting for an input from the jack socket. To switch to Bluetooth, you need to press the mode button. To get to USB input, you need to press again. The Bluetooth mode will sound a chime, but only after a second or two. And as the other two are silent, you need to press and wait for a second every time. Sound confusing? It really is. After a few uses, you get the hang of it, but let me warn you, there may be a few curse words thrown around the first couple of times you try to use Bluetooth mode.

Where to buy

For more information on the speaker and where you can grab one for yourself, check out Killer Concepts website. They are currently on Amazon’s website for just $87.98, a real bargain!