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article imageReview: Inateck BP1109 — a robust budget speaker for group listening

By James Walker     Oct 24, 2016 in Technology
Inateck's BP1109 is a distinctive Bluetooth speaker that has a stylish circular design. The speaker projects outwards into the environment, making it ideal for group listening. It's a compact sound system that suits outdoor use at high volumes.
Over the past year, I've had the chance to review several of Inateck's audio products, including a couple of the company's previous speakers. The BP1109 is a new offering with a lower price tag than its siblings. It doesn't suffer in the design department though, featuring a minimalist aesthetic created by its circular chassis. The speaker is one of three Inateck products I have on review at the moment. The other two will be published in separate articles over the next week.
The $20 BP1109 is a Bluetooth speaker that aims to be ultra-portable without sacrificing style. It's built almost entirely from aluminium, creating a clean silver finish that's cool to the touch. A single Inateck logo adorns the front fascia, lending the device an attractive but unobtrusive overall appearance.
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck
The top of the device houses the plastic speaker grille. On the bottom, you'll find the basic control panel, a series of four buttons for volume, track transport, power, input mode and play and pause. A small panel on the back houses the charging port, 3.5mm input jack and a micro SD card slot. You can play music over Bluetooth, a traditional cable or directly from an SD card.
To help you load the song to play, the speaker is able to talk to you to inform you of its status. Unlike the beeps and chirps of other Bluetooth accessories, the BP1109 will say "Bluetooth on" and "Waiting for Bluetooth connection" when you turn it on, making it obvious what state the device is in.
Inateck says the aluminium uni-body design enables the 3.2W speaker to project music "loud and clear" and eliminate excessive sound resonance. In practice, I found this claim to be dubious. While the BP1109 is capable of delivering ample volume, it falls short in overall sound quality.
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck
There's only limited bass that quickly falls away as the volume is increased. Similarly, the mids and highs start out respectable but merge together in complex or loud sections, creating a shrill cacophony. The speaker's output is tolerable but it's not something you'd want to listen to alone for hours on end.
While the circular design is stylish, I feel it hinders the speaker's audio performance. Because the sound is fired upwards, there's no real sense of direction or immersion. This could have its benefits in some scenarios though. It's easy to see the BP1109 being used as the centre of a party or outdoor event, blasting sound outwards in all directions when quality isn't a major concern.
The speaker's also got some notable other strengths. At just 78x34mm, it really is compact enough to take with you wherever you go. The circular design makes it easy to slip into a bag, although the 260g weight is conspicuous for a device of these dimensions. The majority of the weight comes from the reasonably-sized battery. It offers 6 hours of playback from 1-2 hours of charging.
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck BP1109 wireless speaker
Inateck
With a current retail price of $19.99 on Amazon U.S. (£19.99 on Amazon U.K.), the BP1109 is a worthwhile choice when purchasing a stylish speaker to take with you wherever you go. However, its circular design makes it most suited to group events and there are better sounding alternatives, such as iClever's IC-BTS02, at a similar price point.
If you're looking for higher-quality audio for personal listening, the BP1109 probably isn't for you. If you're most interested in a minimalist and robust budget speaker for group listening, the BP1109 should be on your list though. Its available in regions worldwide from Inateck on Amazon.
Verdict
The Inateck BP1109 is a Bluetooth speaker that seems to emphasise design and portability above sound quality. Its outward-firing drivers make it ideal for group listening but hinder its overall balance. At $20, the speaker is well-priced and has a build quality usually reserved for more expensive devices.
Pros
- Achieves respectably high volumes
- Stylish design looks good without being obtrusive
- Can play music directly from a micro SD card
Cons
- Sound quality degrades at higher volumes
- Lacking in bass output
- Comparatively high weight
More about inateck, Bluetooth, Wireless, Speaker
 
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