Today we’re looking at the A.M.P. SP1 bluetooth mobile speaker from Antec.
The black SP1 bluetooth speaker from Antec features a red speckled grill surrounded on all sides by midnight black. It will sit on your shelf like a small piece of sculpture and most wouldn’t expect it to be more than decoration. It’s much more though. The SP1 uses dBs1TM technology to “bring rich vocals, warm mids, and deep bass in a small and powerful package.” It hides itself neatly right on a shelf full of modern appliances but at the same time it adds a little subtle interest with the nicely designed grill. The surround is all silicone rubber and it adds the lightest bit of shock absorption while adding a nice matte black wrap to the slightly shined black grill.
The sound is above average and definitely fits the price range. It doesn’t have the bass of things like Jabra’s Solemate or FoxLv2 by soundmatters nor will it really fill a room with sound like those speakers can. This speaker isn’t meant to fill a room though, it’s meant as a small personal accompaniment to a tablet or phone to watch movies or listen to light music while working. Vocals can strain a bit at the highest volume and the sound can become a little muddy overall. This speaker has such a small footprint, and that’s an advantage, at the same time though, size holds these small bluetooth speakers back at times. Sound can literally feel like it’s trapped in a little box at times. Compare this to a traditional stereo which seems to have a presence far beyond its size.
They advertise up to 10hrs of playback from one 3 hour charge, I found about 9 hours of continuous play in my testing. On the right side of the speaker you’ll find an AUX input, a micro usb charging port, and an on/ off switch that also acts as a notification light. Three now standard buttons on this type of speaker sit on the top middle as you’ll usually find them. Volume up and down on either side of an all-purpose button. It functions as a play/pause button while music is playing, an answer call button while receiving a phone call, and an end call/resume music button while in a phone call. A long press when no device is paired with the speaker will put the SP1 into pairing mode and this is confirmed by a blinking white notification light. Some of these speakers add the functionality of long pressing the center button to trigger a Google Now/Siri search. That functionality doesn’t seem to be built into the speaker though.
Finally, the SP1 is a fairly capable speakerphone. I could hear people clearly and crisply on my side and I had no issue with volume. On the other line, some commented that the sound was extremely clear but the volume was a bit low. I didn’t see it advertised but this leads me to believe that Antec is using some sort of noise cancelling technology, so that’s a bonus feature perhaps. The speaker is available in three colors, magma, snow, and forest (black/red, white/red, and a loud but nice green/white)
Thank you again to Antec for supplying their product for review.
Main advantage: very small footprint, very nice speakerphone capabilities, unique design decisions
Main concern: no voice search functionality, some sound issues at top volume
Unique features: longer than normal battery life among many competitors, fun color choices
How much: $85.88 on Amazon.com
Alternatives: Literally hundreds of different options, very similar to the jambox in size
Is it worth buying: To be clear, I would easily buy this before spending double on a jambox. Some thought went into the development of this speaker and it’s definitely not a marketing heavy shell like some of its competitors. You’ll be happy with your purchase. If you have the money though, consider stepping up to something like the Jabra Solemate, it’s double the price at around 150, but it’s still the best mobile speaker I’ve reviewed on the site to date. If the price is right though, Antec’s A.M.P. SP-1 is a great value. Buy with confidence.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!