Last month, the Monoprice Portable Bluetooth NFC Brick Speaker (10949) made its way to the pages of this column. That article was an introduction to what has turned out to be a downright nifty little musical companion. Read on to find out how well the little brick fared while living in my big black bag.
The reason something like this ends up in a menswear column is simple. Despite the fact that it is something that isn’t exactly worn, it has been carried about in my big Mission Workshop messenger bag known as “The Shed.” Life in The Shed is not easy by any means. Its contents are constantly jostled, the bag is regularly tossed and/or dropped with little regard to what may be inside and yet the little speaker did not complain at all.
The 10949 isn’t touted as tougher than the average NFC (near field communication) pairing, 3 watts per channel, Bluetooth 4.0 wireless speaker, but it is. After a month of bouncing around in my bag, nothing has shaken loose from this little black brick. The sound quality is as good as it was on day one, and thanks to its grippy, soft-touch exterior, it has yet to show any signs of wear.
Pairing a mobile phone to the Brick using the NFC feature is about as easy as anything could be. All you have to do is turn on the NFC feature on the phone, then turn the Brick on, then touch the two together. Once that is done, you can wander about blasting The Cure feeling good about yourself while looking a little morose.
The overall sound quality of the 10949 is really good. No weird buzzing, hissing, wow, or flutter emanates from its two speakers, and it can handle everything but the deepest of bass notes at maximum volume. Where the Brick has a bit of an issue is when it comes to call quality, which would be a bummer if the great majority of the Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested over the years didn’t have the same issue. The called sounds far away and is always asking for you to repeat whatever it is you just said because the very small microphone that has to pick up sound through a tiny hole cannot do so with the kind of clarity of a mobile phone. To put this in perspective, the best performing Bluetooth speaker/speakerphone I’ve ever tested performs only moderately better than the Brick and it costs three times as much.
All in all, the Monoprice Portable Bluetooth NFC Brick Speaker (10949) is good all around performer with a tough exterior that sells at a price that no other manufacturer can touch. Not only that, it would make a great gift for your nearest grad or dad, if you happen to be in the market for that sort of thing. For more information or to make a purchase of the Monoprice Brick, click here.
**Full disclosure: This Bluetooth speaker was provided at no cost for editorial consideration. To think otherwise would be silly.