SPIDER POCKET SPEAKER E500 SPECS: · Dimensions: 68.5 mm (L) x 68.5 mm (W) x 42mm (H) · Speaker: 40mm · Input: L / R 360mV · Power output: 3W · S / N: ≥ 80dB · AMP Freq Range: 180Hz-16KHz · For charging voltage: 5V ± 0.5V · Cable: 3.5mm audio embedded I usually hate surprises. I like to have things planned out and I usually know what to expect out of most situations. Every once in a while (rarely) I have what most people call “a pleasant surprise”. The pleasant surprise for me is a very rare occasion but one which I actually cherish. Today, I was pleasantly surprised by the Spider Pocket Speaker E500. I attended an audiophile meet and decided to buy some raffle tickets to support the event. I usually buy them only for this purpose as I never win. This time though, I won a small prize. Not only did I win a small prize, but the win was directly proceeded by mocking and sneer comments about the prize I won…the Spider Pocket Speaker E500. Everyone commented that it looked like an alien toy and that you can’t really expect much from a portable speaker as they suck and are lacking in audio fidelity. In general I agree. After being mocked I was urged to plug it in to try it out to see how bad it sounded. I really wasn’t expecting much as I have never heard a portable speaker that I liked….until today. To everybody’s amazement, not only did the speaker NOT sound bad…it sounded FANTASTIC. There was bass, clear mids and good highs. The bass was tight, deep and tactile. This small speaker truly has no right to sound this great being this small and at such a low price. The MSRP for this tiny marvel of sound…only $39.99USD!!! So what do you get for two $20 dollar bills aside from the amazing sound? Well, the Spider E500 has an internal battery that is good for up to eight (YES…8!) hours of playback from a two hour charge. The Spider E500 can be charged with the included USB cable which can be attached to any USB port on a laptop or main computer system. You can also get audio from a laptop using the USB port. The Spider E500 weighs in at a paltry 96g, which makes it very portable and pocketable. A neat addition is the button design. Those silver accents on the bottom of the speaker are actually buttons that you use to turn it on/off and to control the volume! Another awesome addition is that the Spider E500 portable speaker has a telescoping speaker design. This allows it to remain small and portable when not in use. It also comes with a neat little pouch where you can store it when not in use. IN DEPTH DETAILS If you are tired of reading, skip ahead to the conclusion. If you want more details...read on... As many of you know, I have many preferred tracks that I use for demo material. Once again I reached for many a favorite track to see exactly what this thing could do. I put on "Graceland" by Paul Simon and was actually shocked to hear the drum hits at the beginning of the track. This thing is supposedly only able to go down to 180Hz but it sure didn't sound like it. The impacts were tight, deep and clear. Cycling through the album it became rather clear that the strong point of the Spider Portable Speaker E500 is the mid-range. Vocals sounded very lifelike, especially for being a single speaker this size. I proceeded to cue up a favorite song called "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford. This was the point when my jaw hit the floor. Now, I have heard this song played on high-end, multi-thousand dollar mastering systems and it is always a nice listen. However, what really impresses once again, is the size and fidelity of this tiny speaker. Ford's bass-baritone range is clear and precise throughout the entire song. The bass and other instruments sound very nice as well. Inspired by this oldie but goodie, I fired up The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds". Once again, the Spider E500 came through as an impressive tiny speaker. The complex vocal harmonies were loud and clear and I heard no hint of distortion or break-up during the more complicated parts. It became very clear to me after this album that the Spider E500 shines with mono material....it should...it's only one speaker....but how about some more stereo material? I proceeded to play "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. There is a nice synth beat on the left speaker during the songs chorus and it can sometimes sound buried within the mix. This was not the case with the Spider E500. It sounded clear, loud and punchy. Phil Collins sounded very natural and dynamic. Another problem you run into with mono speakers is comb filtering or phase problems. Track after track the Spider E500 demonstrated no such problems. If the Spider E500 sounded bad it was because the actual track being played sounded bad (Californication anyone?) and the better the track was mastered, the better it sounded on the Spider Pocket Speaker E500. CONCLUSION To me it is obvious that the Spider E500 was engineered to provide the best portable sound from a single speaker which is small and pocketable. I also wouldn’t hesitate to use the Spider E500 as a laptop speaker. I can see many future owners using this speaker at home, social outings and even using it as an office system because it is perfect for providing rich sound in small space like an office or waiting room. If you value good sound, this is a speaker you can cherish. I have heard portable speakers that cost many times more than the Spider E500 that cannot provide the fidelity that this tiny thing can. If you read the above, it’s obvious that I love this little thing. Considering its size, it produces amazing sound. Considering its price, it’s an amazing bargain. Amazing sound at an amazing bargain is something you seldom find in any area of life, much less audio. Now...keep in mind that you have to be realistic with such products and know you will not be able to master anything on this speaker. This will not be a substitute for great headphones and it will not be a full range high fidelity system. What it will be is an amazing sounding portable boombox that you can use at the office, park or yes, even the restroom. I strongly urge anyone who is looking for a portable speaker system to look into the Spider E500 as I know you can’t find anything close to this quality even remotely close to this price. This is truly an ultra portable boombox that will knock your socks off and make you wonder how a company can squeeze such sound quality from such a tiny speaker. It truly boggles the mind! However, instead of thinking about how this thing works, I’d rather listen to the great sound it puts out. I know I won’t be bored at my next family picnic wishing I had a good speaker rig. I can only hope that this company eventually releases a stereo version. That would just be icing on the cake! HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!