crystal-clear but bulky, or lightweight but tinny. For home use there are some fine options, from the pricey Bose SoundDock to the cheaper but equally capable Klipsch iGroove SXT.
But if you want your music to travel with you the options become more limited. The relatively new audio upstart Divoom aims to improve the image of travel speakers with the Bluetune Solo, a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker system.
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The Bluetune Solo is approximately the same diameter as a soft drinks can and roughly as tall as it is wide. The Bluetune also has a reassuring heft - at 230g it's around half the weight of a can of Irn-Bru.
Sound quality from the Bluetune Solo is surprisingly good. Despite its diminutive size, the speaker was able to fill the room with sound, with clear treble and reasonably deep, rich bass. Distortion is kept to a minimum, only becoming apparent at fairly anti-social volume levels.
Battery life is claimed to be up to eight hours, although that estimate drops significantly as the sound volume increases - in testing I found four to five hours achievable at higher volume levels. The device is charged by the included USB cable, which can be powered from a computer or from the type of USB mains adaptors typically shipped with mobile phones.
The system relies on Bluetooth so the wireless range is limited to 10 metres. In testing I found it to work reliably throughout the house, although the range dropped significantly through solid walls.
Controls on the Bluetune Solo are limited to a power switch hidden on the underside of the unit and a single "call answer" button on the top. That button hints at a hidden party piece of the Bluetune: as well as working as a speaker, the unit can act as a handsfree speaker-phone, using a built-in microphone to pick up nearby voices. In practice I found the speaker-phone feature quite limited - although the speaker could project the caller's voice a fair distance, the microphone required everyone at the local end to be huddled closely around the device, making it little more useful than the speaker-phone option built into most modern mobile phones.
Despite these limitations, the Bluetune Solo is a hit. Its portability, sound quality, excellent build quality and keen pricing make it the obvious choice for anyone who wants music from their phone on the move.