Review posted August 2007 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
With more and more people using their cell phones to not only make phone calls but also to play music, it’s not surprising that we are seeing more and more Bluetooth wireless speakers that can take care of both your telephony and entertainment needs. The Advantek Bluetooth Hi-Fi portable wireless speaker system stands out with its great audio quality, support for A2DP and a wide range of audio and gaming devices. The Advantek can work in your car, your home or your office. It has a DSP for noise reduction and echo cancellation, a built-in mic and ports for audio in and out. The Advantek Bluetooth speaker system sells for $99.
Unlike dedicated car kits such as the Parrot DriveBlue or the Motorola HF800, the Advantek Bluetooth wireless speaker system is larger and is designed for both desktop and mobile use. The Advantek Hi-Fi speaker measures in at 7.08 x 3.07 x 1.41 inches and weighs 0.66 pounds. It has a built-in stand for table-top use and it comes with an in-vehicle visor clip with which you can clip the speaker to your sun visor. The Advantek has built-in speakers and mic, large buttons for call send/end, volume, play/pause, fast forward and rewind buttons. There are also LED lights between the two rows of buttons and they indicate pairing, battery and charging status and more. On the back of the speaker system you’ll find the charging port, 3.5mm line-in, microphone jack (2.5mm) and power on/off button. The LED lights will disappear completely in normal outdoor light.
The Advantek Bluetooth portable speaker system is larger than most Bluetooth car kits we’ve seen, but given the fact that it has a great quality speaker system, compatibility with most audio device that have a standard 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth A2DP/AVRP devices, it will likely spend more time on your desk, hotel room or backyard than in your car. We wish the speaker system came with some kind of pouch for those who will carry it everywhere they go.
Pairing and Features
The Advantek Bluetooth speaker system has Bluetooth v1.2 and supports both Headset and Hands-free profiles for calls, and A2DP/AVRP for playing music wirelessly via Bluetooth from your phone. We paired it with several mobile phones and all paired with the Advantek easily. To pair the Advantek with your phone, turn the speaker on, then press and hold the play/pause button until the left LEDs rapidly flash in blue. Then use your phone to find and pair with the speaker using the default pass code: 1234. You can pair it with multiple devices (which means you don’t have to repair it each time you connect) but it will work with only one device via Bluetooth at a time.
The Advantek speaker system supports three major mobile audio needs: hands free for mobile phone with music playback capability, VoIP calls on your notebook or desktop, and playing music using any MP3 player with 3.5mm output. If you currently have multiple speaker systems, for example, a Bluetooth car kit for making call while in your car and desktop speaker systems for the office, home and on the road, the Advantek can help consolidate them into a single system that’s light enough to carry with you even on the road but has good enough quality for you to enjoy music. It worked perfectly with iPods but it didn’t work with the Microsoft Zune (we tested two Zunes with the speaker and couldn’t get any sound).
The Advantek supports some common call management features including voice dialing over the speaker, rejecting calls, last call redialing and switching between phone and the speaker. Voice dialing works like a charm over Bluetooth speaker. There isn’t a mute button, but if you put a finger over the small mic hole on top of the speaker it’s as effective as mute, though not as convenient as having a dedicated mute button for those conference calls. Since the speaker system supports AVRP, you can control playback such as forward, rewind, play/pause via Bluetooth. You cannot however control the playback if you are connecting your player through the 3.5mm audio jack.
Voice Quality and Range
The incoming voice quality and music audio quality are surprisingly good for a speaker system this small. It still has the sound of a small speaker but it has good stereo separation, loud volume and quite full sound. Outgoing voice has lesser quality, it sounds fine for conversation in most environments but isn’t as clear as incoming voice. The Advantek had trouble with A2DP when working with the HTC Advantage X7501, the calls came through the speakers but the music didn’t. Other Windows Mobile devices worked fine though; we tested it with the Samsung BlackJack and it played music beautifully from the BlackJack as well as system sounds.
When working with the Treo 700p The Treo 700p has support for hands free but not A2DP for music. The voice quality was very good on the incoming end and outgoing voice had the normal CDMA slight muffled quality. The DSP is highly effective and canceled out all minor to mid-level noise and did well with loud noise also. The volume was quite loud and you should have no problem hearing the caller even with road noise. Range was good between the Treo and the Advantek, reaching near 10 feet and that’s a good for the Treo who doesn’t usually get that much range with most Bluetooth hands free devices.
When working with the LG MUZIQ The LG MUZIQ has both hands free profile for phone calls and A2DP/AVRP for playing music via Bluetooth stereo devices. The LG MUZIQ worked great with the Advantek speaker system for both phone calls and music playback. The incoming and outgoing voice quality were very good and volume was very loud. The LG also has voice dialing that worked very well via the speaker system. Just hit the call send button to launch the voice dialing application on the LG MUZIQ and follow the commands. The DSP worked very well on the LG and the AV remote controls worked fine on the speaker. The range between the LG and the Advantek reached 20 feet.
When working with iPod Video (5G) Apple has the lion’s share of the MP3 player market so we were happy to see that the Advantek worked very well with the iPod. You can connect the iPod with the speaker system via the 3.5mm cable included with the Advantek, though the cable is a bit too short. Both MP3 tracks and video sound great through the speakers. The bass is decent and range is reasonably wide. The volume is very loud on the Advantek when working with the iPod and you should be able to hear it if you are having a small intimate party. Since the iPod isn’t connected via Bluetooth to the speaker system, you won’t be able to take advantage of the AVRP and you must control the playback on the iPod not the on the speakers.
The Advantek portable Bluetooth speaker system comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (4.2v). You can charge it using the included AC world charger, but there isn’t an in-vehicle charger included in the box or as an option to buy at the moment. This makes the Advantek more suited for office/home use where you can plug it in. The claimed talk time is up to 8 hours and we got about 6 hours in our tests. The claimed standby time is up to 70 hours and in our tests it only lasted us 24 hours.
It can’t compete with the Altec Lancing IM7 or the Klipsch iGroove in sound quality for music playback, but for a small speaker system that you can carry with you anywhere you go and use with Bluetooth mobile phones, the Advantek is a good performer. The Bluetooth Hi-Fi speaker system has a professional design and is extremely portable. It has great sound quality and loud volume for phones calls, VoIP and conference calls as well as music playback and is compatible with a wide range of portable devices. For the price of a pair of high end earbud headphones, you are getting a good value for your money.
Pro: Quite portable. Very nice sound with good volume. Easy to pair with Bluetooth devices and computers. Plug and play when working with MP3 players and portable gaming machines.
Con: Doesn’t work with the Microsoft Zune. LED washes out in sunlight. Short battery life without in-vehicle charging option.
Package contains the Bluetooth wireless speaker system, AC charger, 3.5mm audio cable, in-car sun visor clip and printed user manual.
Technical Specs: -Bluetooth v1.2.
-Profiles supported: Hands-free, Headset, A2DP and AVRCP profiles.
-Claimed talk time: 10 hours of playing/talk time.
-Claimed standby time: Up to 48 hours.
-Headset size: 7.08 x 3.07 x 1.41 inches.
-Headset weight: 0.66 lbs. (300 grams).
-Battery: Lithium Ion.
-AC adapter: 100-240v.