I have at least a dozen portable wireless speakers kept across my small living room and a little cabinet for storing gadgets, and I have tried them all in bits. Each has a strength or two, but you hardly find a complete all-rounder to use in different scenarios. Some are good for their audio-listening experience with their signature sound quality, some others are compact and can be carried along for trips or poolside parties. But Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ seems to have a fair bit of every attribute.
Theis newly announced portable tube-shaped wireless speaker unit from Studio19, a London-based premium audio accessories maker, appears to be a notch above other portable wireless speakers that I have used so far. This is not too bulky, and can fit comfortably in any part of your room. Its aluminium built gives the speaker a premium look from all sides and the use of subtle white lights at the bottom accentuates that.
It is true that portable speakers are only as good as the connectivity options it offers: This speaker covers most options. It has separate AUX in and out ports. The AUX in port makes it compatible with other devices, and the AUX out port allows it to redirect audio to other supported speakers. It also has HDMI ARC allowing it to double up as a sound bar when connected with a television. There also is a built-in Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
In terms of audio output, this compact low-rise speaker impresses with its quality signature sound. It is is loud and clear and has ample bass to make you wonder how such a small unit could make such loud impressions. This speaker has three built-in graphic equalisers, along with three pre-set ones. The pre-set equalisers are tuned for movie, game and music genres. However, with built-in graphic equalisers, you can further finetune the output by manually changing bass, treble and voice frequencies. Though the speaker throws sound in all directions (360 degrees), the stereo effect is not noticeable until it is connected with another Solo speaker that then makes the two work as separate right and left channel units for stereo output.
Though the Solo E500X-EQ is a capable portable speaker, it has some downsides like the lack of FM and AM connectivity, which might not go so well with Indian consumers. The speaker has no remote control, so you need to manually operate it to change connectivity options, modes and switch on or off. The sound quality is exceptional with Bluetooth and HDMI (ARC), but the lack of premium codec support, such as apt-X and apt-X HD, hinders its overall capabilities.
Overall, the Solo E500X-EQ has a solid all-round performance with a premium outlook, and signature audio output. The speaker is portable and has a built-in rechargeable battery of 8,800 mAh. But it is not compact enough to take everywhere. Priced at Rs 42,500, the speaker seems to be a bit overpriced, but if it is the experience that matters, this one is a perfect choice.