Portable Speaker Review: iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Loud sound, clear audio and easy pairing.
What's Not: Bass isn't strong.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
When it comes to small portable speakers, the balance between the size and sound is often hard to achieve. The iLuv Syren Bluetooth wireless speaker does a pretty good job at providing big sound with a small body. The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker comes in a form of what it could only be described as space-age design, and it stood a bit shorter than the iPhone 5s yet it produces loud sound. The speaker looks unique and can work with any device that supports Bluetooth A2DP as well as other audio profiles. With built-in NFC, the speaker is easy to use - simply swipe your NFC enabled device over the speaker to pair with it. The speaker has black exterior but it comes with five color accents.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker looks unlike any other portable speaker we've seen. The round audio chamber is about 4.5" tall and the speaker fires sound out from the top and the bottom outlets. The design of the Syren ensures maximum sound output by tilting the chamber in an angle towards you and by using the base of the speaker to reflect sound back at you. Shiny piano black plastic houses the audio chamber and the base and plastic grill covers the top of the speaker. Soft TPU lines the top of the speaker and the front and back of the Syren to provide an accent and a better grip than the slippery body. The TPU comes in black, blue, pink, red and white.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker has simple controls on the back under the TPU cover. You'll find volume buttons, play/pause/Bluetooth buttons along the TPU strip and a power on/off slider. Hidden underneath a cover near the base of the speaker, you'll find the charging port and the 3.5mm audio in port. The NFC sits conveniently on the top, and you can swipe your NFC enabled phone over the NFC symbol on the speaker to pair. A small LED light lives in the front of the base that indicates pairing and battery status.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker supports all Bluetooth audio profiles and you can either pair it via NFC or use built-in Bluetooth pairing features. The speaker offers audio prompts for pairing and status. When your device goes out of its range and comes back, the audio prompt will notify you the reconnection. We tested the Syren with several smartphones and tablets; it paired with all easily via both NFC and Bluetooth.
The wireless speaker can play sound via Bluetooth as well the aux-in port that works with any device with 3.5mm audio out support. In addition, the iLuv Syren has built-in mic for hands-free phone calls when you pair it with a voice device.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker is surprisingly loud for its body size. The full range driver in the speaker can produce high volume without blowing out the sound and the two-outlet setup helps create more stereo sound, though with many tracks, the music still sounds "boxed in". The speaker also features a bass radiator that works reasonably well. It helps produce fuller sound and more balanced presentation, but bass heavy tracks don't have the true presentation in such a small speaker body. Audio clarity is good in both music playback and voice calls via Bluetooth and the 3.5mm auxiliary port offers a bit more clarity.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers up to 5 hours of music playback on a full charge. The speaker comes with a USB cable that you can use to charge the speaker but no AC adapter is included.
The iLuv Syren NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Speaker is an ideal speaker for a dorm room or a small office where you can play your lectures or make voice calls hands-free. The loud volume also makes this speaker a good party companion. It's easy to pair with your latest smartphones with NFC or any device with Bluetooth, and it has an additional 3.5mm audio in option. We like the unique design of the speaker and its portability as well as its balanced sound. The bass could be more pronounced and the audio clarity could be better though.