Let me begin this review by admitting that seeing the words “electric” and “British” close together always seems to conjure up images of an MG or Triumph on fire, with flames pouring out of the engine compartment (apologies to British readers, co-workers, editors or friends I may have offended with this statement. Also my mom).
UK-based DBest’s tiny single, and stereo, Bluetooth speaker models — respectively named PS4001BT ($60) and PS4003BT ($70) — didn’t spark; in fact, apart from a lack of sophistication, the tiny dynamos were surprisingly powerful, packing a powerful audio punch into an almost unbelievably minuscule package — especially in the case of the single-speaker unit, the clear winner of the two models.
As mentioned, these speakers won’t woo you in terms of sophistacted controls or features. A power switch is the only control on the single-speaker model — that’s it. The stereo model adds a volume wheel. Both units charge via mini-USB. Because there’s no Bluetooth pairing button, the units immediately entered pairing mode when turned on. Bluetooth devices have developed to the point where pairing is usually a non-issue; but a prolonged and frustrating battle to pair the 4001 (the single-speaker model) with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus prompted a raised eyebrow. Oddly, pairing the 4001 with an iPhone was painless, as was pairing the 4003 with either phone.
With pairing done, my eyebrows shot up again (this time both of them) as sounds started pouring out of the little speakers: I couldn’t believe such loud sound was coming from such tiny units. Not only loud, but clear too — I’d expected a buzzy, anemic sound similar to noise dribbling out of the loudspeaker at your local fast food joint’s drive-through lane. Nope, performance was easily crisp and loud enough to make the speakers an excellent choice to watch movies with, listen to streamed talk radio or play games. There really wasn’t enough bass to make either model really enjoyable enough for music except in the most desperate of situations.
I didn’t actually time battery life in detail, both units lasted the good part of a week, under moderate-to-light use, without having to refuel.
So which one to get? Without doubt, the tiny, pocketable 4001 is the clear winner here. The twin speakers of the 4003 stick together magnetically to keep them together, which is a cool trick; and of course, they have the advantage of stereo. But I could find almost no difference in sonic enjoyment between the two, and dealing with the aux cable needed to connect the 4003’s two speakers is a pain in the butt; and the 4003 is not nearly as portable as the 4001. I’ll take the extreme pocketability of the 4001 and the extra $10, thanks.
DBest PS4001BT Bluetooth Speaker:
DBest PS4003BT Bluetooth Stereo Speakers: