Ultra-sleek, lux design; Grip on bottom protects furniture; Decent audio performance; Speakerphone capability
Speaker grill cloth could rip in transport; Annoying beeping sound when not in use; Volume cuts in half in low-battery mode
The Genius SP-900BT Bluetooth speaker lets you listen to music and take calls, but it doesn't offer the best sound.
With a retro-style conical shape, the Genius SP-900BT definitely has a funky design. Plus, unlike some other palm-size Bluetooth speakers, this one can be used as a speakerphone because it has a built-in microphone. But is this $49.99 device the best of the bunch?
In the middle of the speaker is a silver circle with the Genius logo, and surrounding it is black speaker grill cloth. We worry about accidentally ripping a hole in this material. In fact, after a few days of use, we noticed slight tearing in the fabric. Fortunately, Genius includes a small drawstring pouch.
The round front slants toward the back, and features a USB port and an aux-in jack. In front of that are four silver buttons: Volume Up/Down, Power On/Off/Call/Answer and Bluetooth pairing. An indicator light lies above the buttons, and a rubber pad rests on the bottom of the speaker, so it won't slide around or damage any furniture.
After charging the Genius SP-900BT, we turned it on and held down the Bluetooth button. When the LED light started flashing quickly (which means it's in pairing mode), we went into our iPhone 4's Settings, tapped General, then Bluetooth and looked for SP-900BT under Devices. Once we saw the device, we tapped on it to pair. We knew the speaker had successfully paired with our iPhone when the blue LED light resumed its slow flashing.
We then accessed our iPhone's music library and played the track we wanted to hear. Audio instantly erupted from the Genius SP-900BT.
While playing Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" the bass was a bit hollow, but the piano riffs came through beautifully, almost like we were sitting on the bench with the pianist. Adele's mezzo-soprano vocals were crisp and rich, reaching the highs and nailing the lows. But when we played other tracks such as Katy Perry's "California Girls," the sound was more muffled. Perry's strong vocals sounded a bit tinny when belting out the popular lyrics.
We appreciate the SP-900BT's speakerphone capability. When receiving calls, we had the option to answer via our smartphone, speakerphone or through the actual speaker. Calls came through clearer than with the iHome iDM11.
Genius says the SP-900BT should get 8 hours of playback time, but we got only about 3 hours and 30 minutes before it automatically cut the volume in half. After that, we got approximately another three hours of playback before the volume got even softer. The speaker lasted for another 10 hours after that before finally dying.
While this was only trumped by DBEST's PS4003BT Duo's battery life of 22 hours, we weren't fans of the automatic volume lowering. We'd prefer a device with a shorter battery life that lets us blast out our favorite tracks.
When left on and not in use, the SP-900BT beeped annoyingly until we turned it off. In fact, one night after using it, we were woken up by the random, intermittent beeping because we had forgotten to turn the speaker off.
Genius says the speaker takes 3 hours to charge, but when we charged the device, it only took 1 hour and 55 minutes.
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|Accessories Type||Bluetooth Device|
|Battery Type/Life||8 hours of playback time|
|Size||3.2 x 2.9 x 2.2 inches|