Maxell MXSP-BT03 full review

Maxell MXSP-BT03

This petite portable speaker from Maxell will appeal to those who value style, ease of use and true portability above audio quality. It's by no means a bad little speaker set for your smartphone or tablet or laptop.

Maxell MXSP-BT03: what it is

This Maxell device is a portable speaker set. It pairs with a digital music source via Bluetooth or the provided 3.5mm cable - if you have a smartphone, or a music player with a headphone socket you'll be able to use the Maxell MXSP-BT03 to amplify your sound.

The portability comes from petite size and a built-in battery. The Maxell MXSP-BT03 comes fully charged out of the box and when drained takes between two and three hours to charge using a provided mini-USB charger cable that plugs into your PC or most phone charger plugs. (You don't get a dedicated charger plug.)

Pair it with a smartphone and you get call answering function via the built in microphone. We didn't test this function: are you really going to use your Bluetooth speaker to answer a call?

Maxell MXSP-BT03: build and style

We tested out the white version of the Maxell MXSP-BT03, there are black, blue and pink models too. The white one at least is as nice a looking Bluetooth speaker as we've seen of late. A small and light oblong of rubbery plastic with mesh sides. The buttons and ports are a discreet black, signage a mute grey. The overall effect is of an iPhone-like style.

And a lot is crammed in to a small device. It weighs just 278g, and we were surprised at that as things are put together in such a way as to make the Maxell MXSP-BT03 feel lighter. It's a very well balanced device.

Well put together, too. This 154x59x46mm device doesn't rattle when you shake it, even if you (as we did) accidentally drop it from a great height. See all speaker reviews.

Maxell MXSP-BT03

Maxell MXSP-BT03: performance and battery life

The Maxell MXSP-BT03 comes with a built-in DC 6V 12000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. In our tests this took from two to three hours to fully charge from completely drained. That's a lengthy charging period, but you won't be doing it all that often. Also in our tests we ran out of interest way before the 15-hour playback battery life mark Maxell claims. Your phone will need recharging before the speaker. And you can see the speaker's battery level on the device with which you pair it: that's pretty neat.

Audio is less impressive, although no worse than you might expect from a device such as the Maxell MXSP-BT03. The Maxell MXSB-BT03 is a 6w output wireless speaker set, with two cones and no subwoofer. To make up for that it features apt-X audio coding technology. Apt-X is (almost always) lossy, not lossless, so music information is being discarded to reduce data rate. We don't want to be too down on apt-X, however, as it's perhaps the least-worst of such wireless audio codecs. This is not a good speaker set for lovers of bass, however.

Instead it is exactly what you would expect of something at this price, size and specification. Audio is clear, certainly, over Bluetooth 4.0 and via the 3.5mm cable. Mid tones have devent clarity, but the bass is a little lacking. Unless you are a dedicated audiophile you won't want to clasp your hands over your ears in agony, but don't expect to be blown away.

The same is true of volume. The Maxell MXSB-BT03 is plenty loud enough for most domestic use, but you wouldn't want it as the principle sound system of any party you host before the age of 35. It's nowhere near as loud as the more expensive Scosche BoomBOTTLE or the new Jabra Solemate (2014), for instance.

Maxell MXSP-BT03 It is just as easy to use as you'd hope, however. Press and hold the multi-purpose button and the Maxell MXSB-BT03 enters pairing mode. Then you simply find it with your Bluetooth-enabled audio source, and pair them up. The volume buttons work in exactly the way you expect. The off/on button, USB charging port and Line-in port are self explanatory.

Maxell MXSP-BT03: value

At £44.99 the Maxell MXSP-BT03 represents good value, in our view. It's not the best quality- or the loudest audio we've experienced in a portable Bluetooth speaker. But it is very portable, and the audio quality is good enough for most users and most usage scenarios.

Build quality is good and the Maxell MXSP-BT03 will look good in most home settings. Finally, battery life is very good. See also Group test: What's the best portable Bluetooth speaker?


Maxell MXSP-BT03: Specs

  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dual passive radiator
  • aptX 'lossless' audio transfer technology
  • 6W output
  • Rechargeable battery with up to 15hrs life
  • 3.5mm Line in (3.5mm audio cable included)
  • Available in Pink, White, Blue and Black
  • 278g
  • 154x59x46mm
  • 2 year warranty

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