With spring finally sprung and Bank Holidays occupying the minds of many of us, the age old problem of how to get your music out into the garden with the least amount of hassle raises its ugly head. AQ think they have the solution with their wireless outdoor speakers.
Shaped like a pair of squared off cones, the black and white plastic construction makes it look a little like something you'd expect to find attached to the top of an Imperial Scout Walker in Star Wars; they look modern and cool, but not quite premium thanks to their all plastic construction.
Inside the unit you'll find a speaker that directs the sound down to spread out in 360 degrees, which it does perfectly well, so you can literally just dump the speaker and it will blast out in every direction. This doesn't however stop the speakers functioning as a pair of stereo speakers, as they are clearly indicated as left and right.
The top of each speaker features the controls with four buttons giving you local volume control, auto tune and power. A central blue LED indicates that you have power, but there is no indicator for connection. There is also a flip up handle on the top too.
Power for the speakers comes from either the included mains power supplies, although that sort of negates the wireless aspect, so you'll find space for 6 AA batteries in the bottom of each. It is a shame that there is no rechargable option here (unless you use your own), as 12 batteries a time is going to cost you a pretty penny if you plan to use them a lot.
Sending the signal to your speakers is via a transmitter which you connect to your music source via a 3.5mm plug. It also comes with an mains power supply. This is a nice tidy solution, as you can simply plug it in and away you go. Also in the box you'll find adaptors for 6.3mm jacks and stereo RCA to 3.5mm.
In practise it all works as it should and connection takes several seconds and viola! you have your music being broadcast around your house. Should you find any problems with reception there are two channels managed by a switch on the back of the transmitter unit. Switch it over, press the auto tune button on the speakers and they switch over to the new channel.
The range is given as 100m, which is a fair distance and we found we could have a speaker at the end of the garden and upstairs in our house with no problems. There was a crackle on the stairs, but otherwise, we were impressed with the general performance.
Each speaker has local volume control on the top too, which means the garden unit can be loud, whilst another, perhaps in the kitchen next to the beer fridge, can be quieter.
So it all sounds good so far. Unfortunately that's the shortcoming of these speakers: the sound. If you are a music enthusiast then you might be disappointed by the overall performance, which is a little flat. There is very little distinction between bass, mid and high ranges, and you'll find a great deal of distortion coming into the music before you start to push the volume up.
The surface you place the speakers on also makes quite a difference. Performance is much better on a hard surface, like a table, than on carpet or grass. We found that the sound was better when on a level with the listener, so again, sitting on a table is better than on a blanket on the grass.
The speakers do claim to be weatherproof (something we didn't put to the test), thanks to the dome design. The controls on the top look to be weatherproof whilst the works are all hidden inside and unlikely to get wet should a summer shower start, although we wouldn't recommend leaving them outside in a torrential downpour.
Aimed at those who want to simply and easily make their music portable, this a convenient alternative and better than many portable speaker systems that are battery powered. The range is impressive too, better than you'd get from Bluetooth options.
However, if you are looking for speaker that you are going to use indoors and outdoors, and want them as part of a regular set-up, then you might not be entirely convinced by the performance on offer here.
Thank you to iwantoneofthose.com for the loan of this product.