Roberts TravelPad Bluetooth Speaker

Here we have a bluetooth speaker. "Not another one", I hear you cry! Yes, there are plenty! So important then to seek out those which have a difference or unique selling point or stand out in some other way. The quest here was to find one well priced, but as compact as possible, that still sounded good and had a reasonable battery life.

So, to the size. Height and width are slightly bigger than the Nexus 6P but three times the depth. Certainly compact but cargo trousers or coat pocket sized, rather than jeans back pocket.

One of the nice things about this unit is the physical buttons array. They feel solid and well placed, attractively laid out. There are LED charging and battery level indicators (three, reducing as it goes down) and a maximum volume indicator, a nice touch. There's a Power Lock switch to prevent accidentally switching the power on in a beach bag! What is rapidly becoming the old standard MicroUSB charging socket is present, but at least it's not a propitiatory one like many others. There's an Auxiliary input socket too, so you can plug in non-bluetooth enabled devices.

The sound is big, for the unit's size, particularly if you can lay it on it's back on something it can resonate through. I found that I really needed to employ my phone's equaliser though in order to turn down the bass at full volume as, although pretty loud, it tended to distort when wound up. Reduce the bass on the phone and you can get round it. Something to consider when deciding what this might be paired with and what controls you have available on that unit. Talking of which, the pairing process is faultless via Bluetooth or NFC and can hook up with 8 devices before running out of memory. Bluetooth 4.0 APT-X is supported. It is claimed that the rechargeable battery is good for 12 hours, which, in my tests it seemed pretty close. Play/Pause a connected Phone by tapping the phone button. You can also answer and cut off phone calls with this button.

There's an awful lot here for £45 in an attractive package from a manufacturer with a sound reputation. OK so it's not the most powerful and loud unit out there, but it is compact enough and good for many situations, has plenty of bells and whistles and a good battery.

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