I recently had the opportunity to review another Bluetooth speaker by Inateck called the MercuryBox. Both the MarsBox and the MercuryBox could not be any more different from each other. They are both designed with a different purpose in mind.
The MarsBox is designed to be more than a speaker. It’s meant to be a conversation piece as well. It has a unique, modern design and while I love the look of the speaker, I would love to see some other color choices other than red. It’s not that I mind the red, I just think that they are limiting the audience by limiting the speaker to one color.
While the MarsBox is technically portable, it is much larger than the MercuryBox. It comes in at a litter over 7″ long, 2.5″ thick, and 3″ tall. Not gargantuan by any means, but after using the MercuryBox, it feels like a beast in your hands.
The entire surface is covered with a soft-touch material that gives is a great feel when handling the speaker. Unfortunately, this also makes the speaker a fingerprint magnet.
The speaker has 4 buttons on top. One for answering calls / switching to the FM radio. Another for changing the volume levels / changing tracks / seeking between FM channels. And finally there is a play / pause button. On the back is the power button.
Now you may have noticed that I just mentioned an FM radio. That was not a type-o. There is an actual FM radio built into the speaker. All you need to do is press the call answer button and the speaker will switch to FM mode. Unfortunately, this will also disconnect your Bluetooth connection. So you can only use it for one purpose at a time. While it doesn’t need to be plugged in for the speaker to work, the power cable is designed to act as antennae, so you may need to plug it in while using the FM radio in order to receive your favorite station.
Other features of the MarsBox include:
- Dual 5-watt drivers
- Bluetooth 4.0 (fully backward compatible) with a range of up to 33ft/ 10m
- Alternative 3.5mm audio jack for non-Bluetooth devices
- Built-in 2200mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery offers 10-15 hours of play time
- Built-in high sensitivity Microphone, hands-free telephone calls
- Easy pairing and connection to Bluetooth devices without code/PIN
This speaker is super simple to setup. First charge the speaker. Once you turn the speaker on, it will automatically be put into discoverable mode. All you need to do is search for devices from your phone and select MarsBox from the list of available devices. Now you’re done. All you need to do is enjoy your music.
The sound quality of the MarsBox is pretty good, but it definitely performs best with the lower to mid range sounds at higher volumes. The higher sounds end up sounding just a little muffled. It’s not really very noticeable except that I was listening to it after the MercuryBox, which performs best at the higher range of the sound spectrum and at lower to mid volume levels. Neither were bad, they both have their own strengths.
The FM radio works pretty well, but I found that it had trouble picking up the weaker radio stations. The ones that did come through sounded great. I found that plugging in the included USB cable only produced marginally better reception, not enough to make a station listenable if it’s not already.
One thing that I really liked was the little pads on the bottom of the speaker. It made the speaker stay in place even on uneven surfaces.
Another nice touch is the color-matched USB and auxiliary cables. They compliment the look of the speaker and they give it higher end look. Like the MercuryBox, the cables are made with a braided nylon and they feel great.
What we liked
- Bass response
- FM radio
What could be better
- More color options
- Material that wouldn’t attract as many fingerprints
- Better sound on the higher end of the sound spectrum
3.9 out of 5 stars
Overall this is a great speaker. It’ll look good in your office or on a bookshelf at home and more importantly, it’ll sound good too. The speaker normally sells for $129, but for a limited time you can pick one up on Amazon for the very affordable price of $49.99. So what are you waiting for? Get yours before it the price goes back up.