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article imageReview: The iClever IC-BTS02 is a loud, ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker

By James Walker     Apr 1, 2015 in Technology
The iClever IC-BTS02 is an ultra-portable, high-quality Bluetooth speaker that is small enough to sling into a bag while still delivering an enjoyable sound experience. It can also be used to take calls with its built-in mic.
The device comes packaged securely in an attractive box. The speaker sits safely beneath a thick layer of protective padding foam. Nestled in the bottom of the box is the help sheet, a micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable for the aux in port.
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The speaker uses a distinctive cube design. The speaker grille is positioned up top and pumps its sound upwards into the environment. It looks smart and is adorned with a small Bluetooth logo in the centre. The sides of the speaker are finished in glossy black which looks nice but attracts greasy fingerprints very easily.
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The speaker's controls are spread across its surfaces. Power, play/pause and next and previous track are located on the base of the device so you will have to lift the speaker up to use them while it is in use.
On the front, a single button with a built-in LED indicator can be used to accept phone calls or disconnect Bluetooth devices, but not play or pause music or turn the speaker off. The rear of the speaker houses the micro USB charging port, 3.5mm auxiliary in connection and an additional small red light to show charging status.
This control arrangement can be a little frustrating. It is annoying to have to lift the speaker up just to turn it on and off which also makes the play, pause and previous/next track buttons somewhat redundant.
It is easier to control the music directly from the phone. It seems as though it would have been more logical to have the front-mounted Bluetooth button act as the power button when long-pressed and as play/pause when short-pressed rather than an infrequently used Bluetooth disconnect key.
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
This annoyance aside, the IC-BTS02 does its job well. Pairing with Bluetooth for the first time was very simple, although it did take a little while for the iClever to appear in the list of available devices. This seemed to be a quirk of using the device for the first time though as it re-established connection within a few seconds on all subsequent occasions that it was turned on.
Once paired, all sound from your phone will be routed through the speaker. If you receive a call, you can accept it with the button on the front of the speaker and then use the iClever as a speakerphone. A small microphone on the front should be adequate to make yourself heard but it seems unlikely that you will use the speaker for making calls often.
More important is the device's ability to play music. The IC-BTS02 certainly makes itself heard and on maximum volume it could be comfortably used even in the noisy outside school environment that I tested it in. The maximum output is quoted as 5W.
The speaker has very good bass levels with strong vibrations. Unfortunately, this can often drown out the more precise treble end of the sound.
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
The iClever IC-BTS02 Bluetooth speaker
Although the quality of the music is good, when listening to some more classical sounds by Ludovico Einaudi the treble of the orchestra got lost beneath the deeper chords of the piano. Although a portable speaker isn't likely to be your main listening device, the iClever is more suited to bassier pieces as this is the area that it excels in.
Watching movies brought about a similar issue. The bass of the soundtrack tended to obscure dialogue, making it hard to hear what was going on. The speaker was much more adept at listening to louder pop tracks or game background music though.
This seems to have been overlooked in other reviews online. Although not many may use a Bluetooth speaker for such listening, I do feel that its tendency to obscure some of the finer details of a piece with overwhelming bass could become frustrating for some. At least the bass continues to sound good at maximum volume without any distortion or pitch bending.
Overall, the iClever is a competent Bluetooth speaker. Its compact size — it fits in the palm of the hand — is joined by punchy sound quality that holds up well at very loud volumes. It has a frustrating control layout however and the very strong bass output can dwarf subtler tones in the mid-range and treble.
Still, if you are looking for a loud, compact portable speaker for listening to typical pop tracks with then you should go and check out the iClever IC-BTS02. It is currently on Amazon for £23.99 or $29.99 which I think is a fair price to ask for.
More about Bluetooth, Speaker, Portable, Sound, Music
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