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Microlab H21 Bluetooth Powered Speaker Review

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Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

The Microlab H21 was tested for a period of approximately 12 days utilizing a number of different mobile devices. These devices included a Motorola Razr Maxx, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, an Asus Memopad HD, and an Apple iPod Touch. A variety of different audio apps, such as Pandora and Tunein, and video apps, such as Netflix, were used to test the quality of audio. Also, several different genres of music were played in order to get a true sense of the audio quality delivered by the H21. Keep in mind that the results are highly subjective.

Results

Pairing the Microlab H21 with all of the aforementioned devices presented absolutely no issues during this testing phase. The pairing process is very simple. First, turn the AC power on and the pairing sequence will begin after 10 seconds. At the point, the Bluetooth light will blink rapidly and alternate between red and blue colors. Once the H21 finds the mobile device, the Bluetooth light will blink once every five seconds or so.

The performance of the Microlab H21 performed perfectly while in auxiliary mode as well. Setting up the H21 for auxiliary mode is equally simple. The 3.5 mm to RCA cable, which is supplied, should be plugged into the back of the main speaker. The 3.5 mm end of the cable goes into the mobile device. After connecting the devices via the cable, then the source button must be depressed, which places the speaker into Line in mode as indicated by the light on the control panel. The volume of playback in auxiliary mode was noticeably louder than the playback in Bluetooth mode. However, the quality of the audio was the same.

One of the features that I really appreciated was the USB port that powers a mobile device. This is another example of the intelligent features that we’ve come to expect from Microlab. Any device that was plugged into this USB port either remained fully charged or was able to regain its fully-charged status.

The Bluetooth range of the Microlab H21 was the best I had personally ever seen. With the H21 centrally-positioned on the second floor of a 3800 sq. ft. home, I experienced no connection issues whatsoever no matter where I took the connected mobile device within the home. Even walking outside the home, the connection was not effected until moving past approximately 30 ft. This is with the exterior door being closed and being separated by an additional wall.

The final phase of testing to mention is the overall audio quality of the Microlab H21. All of the above testing really loses its value if the unit’s sound is underwhelming. However, this is not the case. The H21 has fantastic overall sound regardless of the music genre or the mobile device delivering the audio. Experiencing absolutely no distortion no matter what level of volume was set, the Microlab H21 delivered booming bass as well as clear, crisp mids and highs.


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Comments

comments

2 comments

  1. rjdriver

    Greg,

    I’m wondering if when used in auxiliary mode, the Bluetooth radio in the unit is turned off. I don’t imagine you tested for that, and one can assume that if the “Bluetooth ” light is not lit, that the radio is off. But I’m wondering if you can confirm this by hooking up one device by auxiliary and trying to hook another using wireless.

    The reason I am asking is because I am looking to buy a home speaker system for my phone that uses a direct connect method rather than Bluetooth. Most of them are junk. This one sounds impressive. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. Greg Schepers

      Sorry for the delay in my response. If you plug in a device via the auxiliary cord and then press the “Source” button on the control panel, the H21 will now be ready for wired audio playback and Bluetooth will be off. You will notice that the “Line In” LED will be lit up rather than the Bluetooth LED. However, I think that you will be very, very pleased with the performance and range of the Bluetooth on the H21 and will forego the use of the auxiliary connection.

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