Verbatim Bluetooth Speaker 

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The handy-sized Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Speaker, 44404, is a practical means of providing decent sound for the traveller.

Verbatim 44404 Bluetooth Speaker
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This stylish battery-powered speaker has a choice of inputs: Bluetooth or direct via a 3.5mm audio port. It is cylindrical in shape – 7cm in diameter and 5.5cm tall and weighs 257g. The bottom cm or so is black in colour with a red styling line running around it. The remainder, a metallic grey in colour, is covered in etched vertical lines. The base is cloth covered while the top is a robust metallic grill, with the Verbatim logo at its centre, covering the 40mm speaker driver.

The connections and controls are around the base. There is a micro-USB charging socket and a 3.5mm audio connection as well as the on/off slide switch and multi-purpose control with its "+", "-" and play/pause buttons. While these are all quite visible, the LED and the microphone aperture are less so. The LED, which glows red while charging, goes out when fully charged.

When using a 3.5mm audio cable to connect to one's phone the unit acts as a simple speaker with an on/off switch. The volume then being adjusted by the control on one's phone. By connecting it directly to my phone without anything else interposed I was able to hear that the sound quality is quite smooth and more than just acceptable for most music genres.

When the audio cable is not connected, as one as one switches the speaker on one is greeted by a female voice loudly saying "Hello" and there is similarly "Good bye" when switching off. With a nearby paired Bluetooth phone, when one switches the speaker on, it connects and the voice says "Hallo, your device is connected". Similarly, when switching off, there is the message "Goodbye, your device is disconnect".

Pressing the "+" or "-" buttons changes track when playing music and the play/pause acts as one would expect. Adjusting the volume is by pressing and holding a "+" or "-" button. As the volume steps up or down each change is accompanied by a sound beep. Even though the phone's internal speaker is muted, the phone's volume control still works.

Incoming phone calls are answered or terminated using the play/pause button and conversations are carried out using the built-in microphone.

I found that the Bluetooth line-of-sight range was in excess of 30 feet and generally over 20 feet though an internal house wall. This it did not appear critical although coverage suffered when the speaker was laid on its side.

A full charge (about 3 hours from completely flat) of the internal lithium battery is claimed to give up to 8 hours play time. While this is obviously dependent on the sound volume this duration is more than adequate for most people. This speaker, product reference 44404, provides a pleasant way listening to music while working or watching movies or videos and a practical means of handling phone calls and at it is a useful piece of kit and, available on Amazon for £26.99, it won't break the budget.

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