Pros: Shockproof, waterproof, good sound quality, good battery life, rugged (did I mention it floats?), solid build quality, affordable!!
Cons: Soundstage not as expansive (single speaker).
Review of the J&L Real 12A Sport Wireless speaker
Disclaimer: J&L contacted me - asking if I could review their bluetooth speaker. They send me a sample for review that I did not pay for. At no time they asked me to write a positive review, so what you get here is my as honest as possible opinion. I didn’t have any high expectations - after all, how good could a bluetooth speaker be that is shockproof and waterproof, that retails for $39? But I was wrong….So thanks to J & L Real to give me the opportunity to change my mind.
Here is the link to the product page on amazon: http://amzn.to/2gSl2xy
Get full size images with a click - these are the thumbnails....
Appearance and Packaging:
The speaker comes in a cardboard box, with nicely padded foam to keep it safe, while the pouch works as the top protection, very clever designed. There is only the carabiner hook to attach on the top, a carrying pouch and a USB Cable for charging in the box.
The speaker itself has a nice heft to it - so you don’t feel anything flimsy. It’s all feeling good to the touch and the rubber and metal housing feels like it can withstand a beating.
The buttons are all rubberized to be waterproof and there is one covered opening for the charing port and full USB connection to charge other devices (and use the speaker as an emergency power bank.
The build quality feels rock solid. Every part feels like it can withstand quite some beating. By the way - the photos were all taken after I dropped the device plenty of times and even kicked it around a bit. After all - if I review something - I want to do it right.
Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth V2.1+EDR Speaker Output: 5 Watt*1 Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz Water Resistance: IPX7 Built-in Microphone for Hands-free calling Built in Battery: 1450mAh Power Bank:1450mAh Battery Life: Up to 6-8 Hours Charging Time: 2-3Hours Bluetooth Range: up to 33 feet Dimensions(L*W*H)：Φ104*48.5mm
Using it as power bank:
Well, I would call that an emergency feature as this is clearly not it’s primary use. It works but has limited capacity for a power bank. Good in emergencies though.
Pairing & Voice commands:
Bluetooth pairing is completely straight forward - it’s in pairing mode if it can’t find any already paired device. If you want to pair it to another device just hold down the power on button for a few seconds. It's very intuitive and straight forward - if you have used another bluetooth speaker you won't have any issues.
Handling as a “sport wireless speaker” (waterproof)
Now this is a big deal - it opens up this speaker to a whole new level of use. In the shower, in the pool, during any kind of “extreme” adventures, this will be a good companion. It’s shockproof and I dropped it a few times from carrying height as well as from head level and it took this without a breaking a sweat. The sound signature with extended highs and solid low end works well outdoors. I also found it helpful that the carabiner thread is standard size so you can actually use the speaker mounted on a tripod or any other photography equipment.
Water: This speaker actually floats in water - which is surprising as it feels quite heavy - I submerged it fully in water (see video) and it continued to play just fine.I have not listened with my ears under water - so can't comment on the quality as an underwater speaker for dolphins. But it does play in the rain, the shower and in the pool.
Here is the manufacturers info: it's waterproof according to IPX7 standard floating and waterproof for up to 30 minutes with a depth of maximum 1 meter.
VIDEO - WATER TEST:
Handsfree usage: Again - for the price - amazing. Of course the microphone could pick up voices a bit better from different directions and be more omnidirectional but we are talking about a $39 speaker. And given the purchase price, it performed admirably well. Voices were clear and very easy to hear and understand. I used it as a business handsfree for a day - and had no complaints from people I called. Sound quality from callers (speaker part) is excellent, clear and powerful.
That’s what you are all waiting for. And it won't let you down. In short: I have not heard this kind of performance at this price point. My experience with Bluetooth speakers is limited but I have had my fair share of them. foxl Soundmatters V2 Platinum, Bose Soundlink and B&O Beoplay Beolit 15 are the ones that I either own or have spend some considerable time with.
Compared with the more expensive players you might notice a bit of graininess in the highs, a good, solid low end… again it won’t dethrone a Beolit 15 that is 10 times the size of the J&L 12A but it does gets amazingly loud and stays clear and detailed - which does make it a really perfect outdoor companion.
Again - it punches way above it’s price and provides a pleasant and impactful sound given its size and price point. Since it’s a single speaker it cannot provide the largest soundstage, but place it properly in a room (corner, close to a wall etc.) and you can feel the sound expand and fill the room.
Claimed 3-4 hours of playtime - confirmed. I actually never ran completely out of battery in my tests - so even after 4 hours of playing music at moderate volume it kept on going the next day for 2 hours on quite loud volume before I recharged it to take it with me to another outdoor activity.
- after being under water - wet but works!
So - for $39 this device is a complete no brainer. This is the speaker for the bathroom - or for outdoor activities or even a pool party or for any environment where you don't need the style of a Bang and Olufson but just a speaker that works - and won't break. It’s rugged, it’s waterproof. It sounds really, really good. And the purchase price makes it so easy to oversee some little flaws. Soundquality wise it came very very close to my foxL V2 Platinum and that says a lot!!
If you don’t require the best audio quality and you don’t want to spend a lot on your wireless speaker - this is it. For $39 it’s the little audiophile carry on to a pool party at a remote lake or to a picnic.
I give this speaker 4,5 stars reviewing it as a "Sport Wireless Speaker" - because I feel that the value for money is outstanding. It does not mean that this speaker can beat a Riva - so please take this rating in the proper context.
Thanks to universal mounting screw - easy to use on a tripod