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Dhaka Tribune

Best bluetooth speakers on a budget

It’s a tricky balance to find something affordable that will also not compromise on sound quality. While you could get a Type-C or lightning cable to connect your phone to traditional speakers, most of the tech is now moving towards wireless connectivity

Update : 03 May 2023, 07:28 PM

Bad speakers will ruin even the best of music. While the market leader, JBL has their standard speakers for $99 or roughly Tk13,000 in Bangladesh, most people cannot afford them. 

It's a tricky balance to find something affordable that will also not compromise on sound quality. While you could get a Type-C or lightning cable to connect your phone to traditional speakers, most of the tech is now moving towards wireless connectivity. 

The two products we are reviewing today are from the same company, but in entirely different price segments. 

Both of them are available in Bangladesh and come with a three month warranty and have some unique features to offer. 

Realme Pocket Bluetooth Speaker

Let's start with the one most popular. As the name mentions, the speaker is compact. So much so that you can fit it into your pocket. But make no mistake, the small speaker comes with some serious volume. 

The volume is so powerful that it can be heard inside a whole room. But if it isn't enough for you, Realme has an app named Realme Link, which can be used to connect two of these pocket speakers together to make a stereo setup. One will work as the left while another as the right. The overall volume will also double. 

The speaker is available in two colours — Classic Black and Desert White. You may have already noticed that we used the black one as the feature image even though the white one looks nicer. That's because the white one is not in stock anymore. 

The pocket speaker weighs only 113 grams, less than half of an iPhone, and comes with a 600mAh battery inside. 

Realme claims that it gives 6 hours of playback. But if I'm being real, you will get around 4 to 5 hours if you are a bass lover like me and keep Bass mode on in the Realme Links app. The app also lets you choose Game Mode, which decreases the latency further. I would recommend turning it on only while gaming.

Yes, even though the speaker is small, it packs some strong bass, even though the Dynamic Bass Boost Driver is only 3 Watts. The speaker comes with a wrist strap that you can use to hang it anywhere or just keep it hanging from your wrist. The charging port is Type-C. 

The small speaker is IPX5 water resistant, protecting it from water sprays and splashes. While the speaker isn't recommended for outdoor usage, I took it to the roof and the volume was decent enough. The audio codec, however, is SBC only, which makes sense with its pricing. 

The thing I liked most about this is that no matter how much you raise the volume, the sound doesn't break, which is a common problem with budget Bluetooth speakers. Also, the Bluetooth connectivity is very strong, since it works with Bluetooth 5.0. 

On Realme's website, the pocket speakers are priced at Tk1,549. However, you will get it in several online shops for as low as Tk1,300 or even less in some physical shops. For example, I bought the one I have from a shop in Bagerhat for Tk1,150, and it also came with a three months warranty. 

Realme Brick Bluetooth Speaker

Realme has a clever way of naming its Bluetooth speakers. The pocket speaker was meant to fit in your pocket and the Brick speaker just looks like a regular brick with a weight of around 750 grams. 

Realme, on their website, wrote: “Extra Bass, More Power.” In shorter form, this is the elder brother of the previously reviewed Realme Pocket Speaker. The company just put everything they couldn't in the pocket speaker in this and made the size as big as they could. 

For starters, compared to the 6 hours of playback and 600 mAh battery in the pocket speaker, the brick one has 14 hours of playback with a 5,200 mAh battery. Which is more than most of the smartphones in the market. 

During regular listening sessions, the playback time of this speaker may exceed the mentioned 14 hours since you will barely be able to listen to music in this with the maximum volume due to how loud it gets. The Bass is also so strong that I chose the Dynamic mode instead of Bass in the Realme Links app after listening for the first fifteen minutes. 

We previously mentioned that one Realme Pocket Speaker, or maybe two paired through the Realme Link app, is enough for an entire room. This goes beyond that. The sound gets so loud that you will easily be able to hold a party with it. In your room of course. 

If you do want to take the party outdoors, you still have the same option you had for the pocket speaker. Get two of these, pair them together and you will get a 360-degree stereo setup, which, Realme claims, will give you a cinematic sound effect. 

Realme Brick Bluetooth Speaker has two 10 Watts Bass drivers, totalling 20 Watts. On the inside, it has two speakers on the left and right side with two bass radiators, one in front and another in the back. 

The pocket version was so small that Realme couldn't manage to give any volume button with it. But the Brick has those on the top as well. 

The Brick speaker is also IPX5 rated and protected from water splashes or sprays. And along with SBC, it also has an AAC audio codec, which makes the sound quality a lot better. Charging the massive 5200 mAh battery takes around 3 hours if a 10 Watts charger is used. I mainly charge mine with my 20 Watts 30,000 mAh BaseUS Power Bank. We will talk about it more in a future review. 

The Realme Brick Bluetooth Speaker is currently available at Tk4,949. In some shops, depending on the old stocks, you may get it for Tk4,600. 

Conclusion

Bluetooth speakers were always considered to be a luxury item and JBL mostly dominates the global market. In Bangladesh, Realme tapped into a market that was mostly cluttered with cheap low-quality speakers and JBL knock-offs. 

For people who are seeking good value for money, the two speakers mentioned in this review can be considered as suitable options for budget speakers that do not compromise on sound quality.  


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