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So close, but yet so far: Bluetooth NFC Speaker from Monoprice

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High Performance Bluetooth NFC Speaker


Monoprice makes a lot of products. Almost all of them are excellent. Occasionally, though, they will make something that is perhaps a bit off the mark and that’s what has happened with the High Performance Bluetooth NFC Speaker (10619).

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It’s not that it is a bad product, not in the slightest, as a matter of fact. It’s just that its list of modern features which includes Near Field Communications for dead simple pairing, A2DP profile for stereo sound, and two big 45mm drivers for maximum volume and sound quality are hampered by the slow throughput speed of 3Mbit/s of Bluetooth 2.1 compared to the 24Mbit/s of Bluetooth 4.0 which is widely available on many comparable devices, and the low capacity BL-5C 1000mAh rechargeable battery. This hodge-podge mix of new and old technology just doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when Monoprice already sells the positively excellent NFC Brick Speaker (10949) for $9 less with a list of features that is on par with the latest and greatest speakers that cost much, much more.

The High Performance Bluetooth NFC Speaker (10619) sounds good, has respectable bass response, makes decent phone calls, and certainly has a fun, retro style all its own, but I think it may be suffering from an identity crisis. Pairing a small battery with the somewhat power-hungry Bluetooth 2.1 and big drivers doesn’t help, either. I can’t help but think of it as a good apartment in a bad neighborhood. You’d live with it if you had to but if something nicer came along, especially if that something cost a little less, as is the case with the NFC Brick, you’d likely jump at the opportunity to make the switch.

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**Full disclosure: This speaker was provided at no cost for editorial consideration, to think otherwise would be unsound.