Review: JVC ABT-1 Bluetooth wireless speaker system
Date: October 2014
JVC (Japan Victor Corporation) is a well-known company for making audio and video equipment. It recently released a portable Bluetooth wireless speaker system, the ABT-1, to meet the rising demand of portable wireless audio from smart phone users. The retail price is around 100 euros.
This model is compact and elegant. It feels sturdy with its aluminum frame, which can also functions as a carrying handle. Although it is a one-piece unit, it containts two 3-watt speakers for stereo sound. NFC (Near Field Communication) allows the user to connect a device with NFC support to setup the Bluetooth connection by just touching on the speaker's NFC icon. Otherwise an user could setup the Bluetooth connection manually in his smart phone or media player such the the Apple iPod. For those devices do not have Bluetooth audio support, there is a 3.5mm audio input jack for connecting with a cable. Hence it is a very versatile speaker system that supports a wide range of devices.
It weights less than 400 grams and comes with a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery. The battery is rated for ten hours of usage and is not user replaceable. A micro-USB cable and charger is included.
Although two 3-watt speakers may not sound like much, but in reality it can be loud enough to fill a 50 square-meter room without distortion. From my testing using a Nokia Pureview 808 and Apple iPod connected through Bluetooth, and a notebook computer by cable, the sound quality is good for its size. It is surprisingly loud and voices are clear, especially speech. I often found entry-level speakers that are a bit boomy or muddy when watching people talk in a video, but the ABT-1 plays the voice clearly.
The volume control are clearly marked on the top of the frame, with the center button acting as a Play/Pause button when music is streaming to the speaker through a Bluetooth connection. The ABT-1 handle all ranges of music well, the low and mid-ranges are clear, and the bass is tight and not flat, but the bass is also not very strong. For a speaker of this size, also not having a subwoofer port, the bass is very good. Just do not expect anything you can feel, either on the desk or away from it.
Even when the music player's top volume is reached, it is still possible to increase the volume on the ABT-1. When its top volume is reached, it will beep when the volume up button is increased. Start-up and shut-down actions play a sound every time.
The ABT-1 can also act as a speakerphone unit for a compatible phone. The voice is clear, although the loudness depends on the phone and phone call connection. While it connected with all the smart phones I tested (Symbian Belle, iOS, and Windows Phone), it did not connect with a simple Sony Ericsson W502c feature phone via Bluetooth.
Watch the video on the bottom of this page to see for yourself how it is.
|Speaker system||Bluetooth wireless speaker|
|Supporting profiles||A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP|
|Easy connection set-up||NFC|
|Speaker Unit||40mm x 2|
|Maximum output||3W + 3W|
|Passive radiator unit||yes|
Built-in Li-polymer chargeable battery,
DC (when connected to PC or AC adaptor)
|Battery life||Approx. 10 hours *|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||185 x 71.5 x 44mm|
|Accessories||micro USB cable (for charging use)|
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