Motorola EQ7 portable wireless speaker

Coming in at the top of Motorola’s Motorokr EQ range is the EQ7, which offers all the features of its smaller sibling the EQ5, but in a larger format. With a footprint that measures approx 15 x 17cm, can it deliver the goods? We get listening to find out.

Before anyone had even thought of the iPod, we used to walk around with portable CD players – "Discman", if you will. Well, if you fancy a little unintentional retro action, then maybe the EQ7 from Motorola is right up your street. From a design and size point of view, that’s what it looks like.

The top of the device is the grill with the ominous JBL logo in the centre indicating their involvement with this particular model of speaker. Hiding under the grill are four aluminium dome "Odyssey" transducers pointing upwards, which is where JBL have gotten involved. They are surprisingly powerful and volume is certainly not a problem here.

Connections consist of Bluetooth and a standard 3.5mm input, catering for mobile phone users or standard MP3 players. A supplied cable caters to this requirement as well as doubling up as an FM receiver for radio-equipped devices, which we tested with the Creative Zen Mozaic. Power comes from either the 12V DC in on the rear, or from four AA cells which can be neatly slotted in through the base of the device.

Buttons on the EQ7 give you control over volume, play/pause, as well as track skip. To use the EQ7 as a speakerphone there is also a call button, and as with the EQ5, gives you access to last number redial as well as voice-dialling and simple call accept or reject when combined with other buttons. You can also mute the speaker in-call by pressing the play/pause button.

As a speakerphone we had no problems with the EQ7, with technology on-board for the normal noise cancelling and anti echo and so on. This is one of Motorola’s strong points, so you won’t be surprised to hear it works pretty well. Too well, in fact, and once you are in speakerphone mode, it is difficult to think of the EQ7 as anything other than a device for boardroom conference calls.

The styling doesn’t help either. There is nothing particularly notable about the EQ7, it is flat and black and looks like a CD player – not quite the flashy centrepiece you’d want on your table at a dinner party, softly playing swing classics and auto-pausing so you can talk to your mother. It looks at home in the office, but at home, well, it’s just a touch boring.

Sound quality is also not a great point. Despite wide-ranging proclaimations there is little in terms of sound quality here. There is volume, yes, and at higher volumes you get a wider-ranging distortion. This isn’t helped by the design again and we spent some time watching the EQ7 vibrate around the table on full blast.

What is essentially missing here is any depth to your music. There is no bass to speak of; mid-ranges are not too bad although music loses any sort of subtly as it beats you around the face. This fact reminds us that the EQ7 is a portable device and yes, if you want volume on the move then this will deliver it. It won’t do your music justice, but it will blurt it out for all to hear.

Verdict

We can’t help thinking that the EQ7 is more at home in the back of a Ford Mondeo travelling to a sales conference in Norwich. It has that business look and feel to it, a naughty speakerphone that wants to play with the cool kids down at the beach, but can’t quite deliver the goods.

There is also the price. At £119.99 you are paying out a fair sum of money. If you are certain that you need the speakerphone functions, then yes, this redresses the balance somewhat, but as a portable music speaker, better sound and better value can be found elsewhere.


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