One of the most hotly contested accessory markets this past couple of years has been the portable front. Ever since Jawbone launched its popular Jambox speaker, companies like Braven have challenged it quite successfully. Bigger brands like Bose and Belkin have been keen to find innovative ways around the challenge of providing great audio in a small form factor.
When I initially got sent the Bric Connect by Edifier, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. On the one hand, it’s much bigger than any of the other portable speakers I’ve tried. It’s big enough that I’d consider it to be more in line with the home iPhone dock. Except, it’s all wireless, and can be powered with just 6 AAA batteries. So, technically, you can take it with you out the house, or move it around the house without needing it to be any where near a mains socket. Would you take it in your back pack on a day trip to the beach, or to the park? Nope. But, if you’re the type that likes to camp for a few days at a time or stay in a caravan or ‘shack’, this is definitely worth squeezing in to your luggage.
Design wise, it’s similar to some of Edifier’s other docks. The front is a gently curved surface covered entirely by a metal grille, behind which are two 70mm speakers. The underside, top and back are covered by a soft touch plastic that curves around the back. On each of the Bric Connect’s sides is a bass reflex port surrounded by a chrome frame. It’s simplistic in its design language and simple to control thanks to its easy access and easy controls on the top, just above the right corner.
I’m a big fan of Edifier’s designs, and the Bric Connect does nothing to harm that appreciation. It looks fantastic, and is light weight. Apart from the chrome surround on the bass reflex ports, there’s nothing I don’t like about its look. Everything from the svelte dark grey surface to the way its tiny remote control slips in to its own holder on the bottom is fantastic. What’s more, I love the way its functions have been designed.
Unlike most Bluetooth accessories, there’s no special ‘pair’ button. There’s no need to press and hold anything until a light switches on and off. If the speaker’s on, it’s discoverable and can immediately be paired with any of your devices. It takes an needless step out of the equation and makes the experience that much more pleasant.
Then I played music through it, and found it a little difficult to believe what I was hearing. Here’s a small(ish) portable(ish) speaker system with sound that rivaled systems much bigger. Thanks to the bass reflex, it produces the lower end frequencies brilliantly, and is equally adept at making the mid/treble spectrum scream if you turn it up loud enough. Now I won’t pretend that it’s up there with the likes of Bose, or Orb Audio, but for $99/£99 you’ll struggle to find anything better.
You can buy one direct from Edifier in the States here: https://www.edifier.us.com/SHOPEDIFIER®/tabid/88/CategoryID/22/List/1/Level/a/ProductID/72/language/en-US/Default.aspx
In the UK you can buy them from Micro Direct for £79.98: http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/57173