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Microlab H21 Bluetooth Powered Speaker Review

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Bluetooth Powered Speaker Final Thoughts

There are many varieties of Bluetooth powered bookshelf speakers on the market today. Some are very affordable, but fall short in terms of features and audio quality. Other bookshelf speakers have desirable audio quality and features, but come with a hefty price tag. The Microlab H21 is both feature rich and great sounding, yet it can be acquired at a reasonable cost.

A minor point of contention, yet one that I felt compelled to mention is the location of the controls on the Microlab H21. Being on the top of the main speaker, the positioning of the unit is limited. In other words, the H21 needs to be placed in an area that provides easy access to the controls. Of course, the paired mobile device can always be used to control the volume and the media. Placing the controls on the front of the unit would make more sense in terms of access, but would detract from the aesthetic quality of the Microlab H21.

Another insignificant issue that is barely worth mention is the length of the included speaker wire; it is just short of 10 ft. and could be a bit longer. However, considering the fact that the Microlab H21’s speakers are connected via speaker wire, it is possible to use any length desired.

A suggestion that would benefit consumers is providing a more informative user’s manual. The information provided is very basic and may lack necessary tips and troubleshooting instructions for individuals that are new to Bluetooth technology.

Microlab H21 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Microlab H21 Speaker Set Conclusion

The Microlab H21 Bluetooth powered speaker is an impressive performing unit. The range of the Bluetooth exceeded expectations. While positioned in a centrally-located position on the second floor of a three story home, it maintained a connection with a paired mobile device no matter where the device was placed. The audio quality is outstanding, providing great highs and mids while delivering thumping bass. If you didn’t know any better, you may ask where the subwoofer is located.

The aesthetics of the Microlab H21 are very pleasing and would look great in any room in the house. The leather-bound speakers with the beautiful stitching will make your friends think you paid way more than you actually did for this unit. It also comes in a variety of colors; Black, White, Coffee, or Red. Even though the controls would be better served on the front, placing them on the top helps to preserve the clean and simple look.

The speaker cabinets are constructed of wood and, as I mentioned above, are wrapped in leather. My first impression of the Microlab H21 when removing it from the box was that this unit is clearly well made. Even the weight lends one to believe that the H21 is a solidly constructed device and will provide its owners with several years of enjoyment.

There is plenty to appreciate in terms of the Microlab H21’s functionality. Maybe the controls may not be in the ideal location on the unit, but they provide everything you need in terms of manipulating your media. The USB power port was a nice touch, giving you the ability to keep the paired device charged while enjoying your favorite music, movies, or TV shows.

The positive attributes of the Microlab H21 far outweigh the very minor demerits that I listed in the “Final Words” section. There are many Bluetooth bookshelf speakers from which to choose on the market today, and considering the price of this unit and all that comes with it, the H21 is definitely one that should be strongly considered.

As of October 2013, the Microlab H21 Bluetooth wireless speaker kit was available online for $128.80 (Amazon / Newegg). Considering all the it has to offer in terms of functionality, aesthetics, overall performance, and impressive sound quality, the aforementioned price is very reasonable.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Sound quality
+ Impressive Bluetooth range
+ Powered USB port
+ Leather-bound construction
+ Thumping bass
+ Simple pairing

Cons:

- Location of controls
– Length of speaker wire
– User’s manual

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 8.50
  • Value: 9.00

Final Score: 9.1 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Did we offer a fair review of this product?

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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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