All the wireless world’s a stage and all the speakers merely tools for the music players. At least that seems to be the case given the influx of portable Bluetooth speakers now hitting the market. We’ve certainly checked out our fair share of speakers with wireless capability in these pages such as the iHome iD50 and the Edifier E3350 Prisma. Now we’re looking at yet another contender in the Bluetooth speaker space, the strangely named CUBEDGE EDGE.sound. Whereas the iD50 is an iPod/iPad/iPhone dock and the Prisma is a satellite speaker/subwoofer combo, the EDGE.sound is designed as a portable wireless speaker a la the Scosche boomSTREAM (what is it with all the funky caps/lower case-naming convention going on with devices these days?). This places it smack dab in the wireless mini-speaker category popularized by the Jawbone JAMBOX. It even uses a very JAMBOX-ish brick design.
Features-wise, the EDGE.sound comes with a litany of features now expected in this speaker segment. At the top of the list is wireless connectivity, with the device featuring excellent Bluetooth 3.0 capability. Syncing the device with my Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S3 was quick and easy, with audio quality via wireless sounding good in terms of reception. Wireless range was also good — I didn’t get any noticeable degradation in sound quality until I placed the source device inside the second-floor bathroom of my humble abode. You can connect a music player directly to the speaker via the included 3.5mm headphone jack cable as well.
Another positive for the EDGE.sound is its built-in rechargeable battery, allowing users to easily move around with the device not just indoors but on the go as well. It even comes with a mini duffle bag for folks who like to take it with them while they're out and about. Charging the device takes about 2.5 hours for about 10 hours of play time.
The EDGE.sound works especially well with smartphones, thanks to its wireless calling capability. A built-in mic allows you to use it for phone calls (my Android Jellybean phone automatically designated it as a speaker when synced while my iPhone brought up a pop-up menu for speaker settings when I tried dialing out while synced). It’s especially good for receiving calls because you can simply click the function button to answer even if your phone isn’t immediately within reach. The function button — as well as the volume buttons — are a bit stiff so you’ll want to make sure you only click it once or you’ll end up ending the call instead.
Audio quality itself is marked by nice, clean sound though not quite perfect, especially at the low end: It has a hint of bass but it isn’t that powerful. That’s fine when listening to my sister-in-law’s Michael Buble songs but becomes noticeable when I play my collection of alternative, heavy metal and hip-hop songs. Also, while the device is capable of higher volume compared to some of its competitors, you really don’t want to push it past 70 percent to 80 percent of its range or you’ll get some serious crackling distortion.
Despite its drawbacks, the EDGE.sound remains a worthy entry into the portable Bluetooth speaker space. At $149, it’s still a bit pricey though not as expensive as the $200 JAMBOX, making it a good alternative to the latter. Give it a look if you’re looking for a portable wireless speaker.
FINAL RATING: 3.5 stars out of 5
For more about portable audio devices, check out our Speaker and Headphone Hub.