Bluetooth Portable Speakers Final Thoughts
It looks good, it sounds great, and it has excellent battery life. Isn’t that the description of the Bluetooth portable speaker we are all looking for? The Microlab MD312 is one of the portable speakers that should be seriously considered when someone is in the market for such a device. Sure, there are others that may look cooler or may have more features, but this one has it where it counts.
One item I found curiously missing from the Microlab MD312 is a small microphone so it could be utilized as a speakerphone. Well, it can be used in that capacity, but not without deploying the paired smartphone for microphone duty. Obviously, this is not that big of a deal, but considering that the lower-end MD212 has a microphone, I think that Microlab could have thrown one on the MD312. I guess the focus was more on overall audio quality, which is apparent.
Another item that I would urge Microlab to consider is providing consumers with either a better user manual or more online information regarding its products. The included user manual for the MD312 provides a very basic overview of the device. Individuals that are new to Bluetooth technology or are just not that technologically savvy may have some unanswered questions due to the lack of information in the user manual.
Microlab MD312 Conclusion
While testing the Microlab MD312, I focused on audio quality, battery life, and Bluetooth range when considering the performance of this portable speaker. In all three aspects, the MD312 performed beyond expectations. The audio quality is what you’d expect to find from a device twice it’s price, having clear, crisp treble and thumping bass. The battery life of the BL-5C 1000 mAh 3.7V rechargeable battery will extend well past Microlab’s estimate of four hours, plus it is easy to track down inexpensive replacement/backup BL-5C’s. Finally, the Bluetooth range of the MD312 is very impressive, maintaining clear audio and without volume degradation when the separation between it and the paired device remained within a floor in a 3800 sq. ft. home.
I would describe the Microlab MD312 as simple, clean and elegant. Of course, everyone has an opinion, but I think the round shape, glossy exterior, and single-color design is very aesthetically pleasing. Currently, the MD312 appears to be available in only two colors (black and white) through Amazon and Newegg.
The Microlab MD312 is clearly well-made and will hold up to the abuse it is sure to experience while traveling with you. Even though it is relatively light, it still maintains a solid feel; nothing shakes or rattles. I also appreciated the fact that the entire bottom is covered by a rubber surface, which eliminates slipping and sliding on a smooth surface.
Whether the MD312 is in Bluetooth mode or utilized via auxiliary connection, it functioned very well. Pairing the Microlab MD312 with another device is very simple and is almost immediate. Also, this speaker has volume controls and a convenient dual-role button that can mute the speaker or put it into pairing mode. It might not be exactly feature-rich, but it has the features you need from a portable Bluetooth speaker.
If we were to consider the audio quality alone, the Microlab MD312 would be worth every penny of the sub $60 asking price. Couple that with the impressive battery life of the rechargeable/replaceable BL-5C, the ease and simplicity of Bluetooth pairing, and the range of the Bluetooth, then the MD 312 is an absolute steal.
As of October 2013, the Microlab MD312 Bluetooth wireless portable speaker system was available online for $55.27 (Amazon / Newegg). Microlab might not yet be a premium brand here in the U.S.; emphasis on the “yet.” I can assure you that the Microlab MD312 is a high-quality Bluetooth portable speaker that will not disappoint. If you only plan on having one Bluetooth speaker, this might just be it. It is small and portable, yet it produces fantastic sound.
+ Sound quality
+ Deep bass
+ Ease of pairing
+ Bluetooth range
+ Battery life
+ Rubber-coated bottom
+ Affordable price
- No microphone
– User manual
Final Score: 9.3 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Do you prefer to play mobile audio through the device, or a wireless speaker?