If you recognize the name Edifier, it is likely thanks to the brand’s high-end home audio gear renowned for its outlandish designs and solid sound quality.
In many ways, the company’s Extreme Connect (MP260) is a departure from that tradition with a comparatively boxy form factor designed for portability. Although the squareish design might not be what you expect from Edifier, the Extreme Connect still packs a punch in terms of sound which the company hopes is enough to differentiate it in the competitive sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker space.
As far as design goes, Extreme Connect is compact. It measures 2.4″ x 6.3″ x 1.7” and weighs in at 1lb making it small and light enough to use as a decent travel speaker.
It’s constructed out of rubber on the top and bottom and a metal grill wrapped around its midriff covering the speakers. The material choices add to the rugged, durable feel — and there’s a neat little carry pouch provided — although the Extreme Connect lacks any real shock or water resistance that others in this product category might afford you. There’s a small break in the grill on one end where a rubber flap covers micro-USB, auxiliary and micro-SD slots and an on/off switch resides.
On the top, you’ll see an LED indicator light on one side with playback controls on the other. As an attempt to break the monotony of design, Edifier has seemingly decided it would be a good idea to place these buttons at jaunty angles rather than in straight lines which does nothing to aid usability or indeed add any value visually. Personally, I’d prefer to not have to look every single time I want to change a track or adjust the volume.
Of course, the design isn’t everything and that’s good because Extreme Connect’s certainly isn’t anything to shout about. Sound quality is a bigger concern and Edifier’s portable offering offers decent sonic performance for a speaker of its size.
In the mid-range and at moderately high volumes, Extreme Connect performs very well. You can push the speaker to an impressively loud full volume, but there is some distortion at this top end as you might expect. Around 80-85% is probably the sweet spot between volume and sound quality.
Extreme Connect isn’t particularly bassy, but it isn’t lacking in that respect either. There’s a dedicated rear-facing bass radiator on the back which adds a feeling of depth to your music which is nice. Only on the bassiest of tracks did I find Extreme Connect to be less than satisfactory. Listening to spoken word media like audiobooks or podcasts through the Extreme Connect is an adequate experience, although it can sound a little thin depending on who’s speaking.
Inputs include Bluetooth-connected devices, the auxiliary port or music stored on an inserted micro-SD card. You can easily switch between inputs using the top buttons and the LED flashes a particular color for each input. The micro-SD input is particularly pleasing and an addition that you won’t find on many Bluetooth speakers in this range that makes it really easy just to store music and play it without worrying about connecting a device.
Edifier claims that the Extreme Connect can last 12 hours on a full charge with music playback at 80% and I have no reason to dispute that. I had no problems with the battery in my testing and only had to recharge it once during a lengthy on-and-off trial period.
Extreme Connect also works as a speakerphone, which is a bonus, but call quality isn’t as good as a dedicated solution so I wouldn’t buy it for that purpose exclusively.
Edifier Extreme Connect is a solid choice for a portable Bluetooth speaker to throw in a bag and take with you. The design might be a little bland, but it offers decent sound, in terms of quality and volume, has a lengthy battery life and the added bonus of multiple inputs including micro-USB.
Extreme Connect is available in red, blue, yellow, gray and black and retails for $99.99 but you can snag it for around $80 on Amazon.