Antec AMP SP1 Mobile Bluetooth Speaker Review
The SP1 is available in a range of colours (green, white, blue, pink, black, red and orange) with all but the red and orange having matching speaker grills. Given the need to combine portability with the robustness and simplicity necessary for something that will mainly be used out and about, it's a decent compromise. It's hardly going to win any design awards, and we'd much rather it had rounded edges to fit more easily into a pocket, but it's fine enough. The casing is a soft-touch rubber affair that grips well to shiny tables and things, and the two grills are decent quality plastic.
Usability is extremely simple, with the pairing process taking a few seconds if you wish to use Bluetooth, and it supports a good distance between device and speaker. Certainly you can get far enough away that you'll worry someone will nick it if you're in a crowded place.
Sound quality is good. It's often the case that manufacturers believe lots of bass is the key to a product that sounds more expensive than its price point, but Antec have resisted this temptation and given a more midrange tuned setup. It also can function as a speaker phone so you need not fear for missing a vital call because you're jamming out. Quality of the microphone is average and we wouldn't recommend you use the SP1 primarily as a speaker phone, but of course that's hardly what it's designed for. It's not outstandingly loud either. Consider it more as something to share a song with a group of friends round a table, than as the centrepiece to a party.
There are a couple of niggles. When you turn it on and off it plays a four note melody that is extremely annoying and loud, with no way to disable it that we've discovered. Secondly it's designed to be taken out and about, but it's not small enough for anything other than a jacket pocket and it's a large pointy box rather than a pebble like smoothness. You're far more likely to use it in the summer than the winter, and yet if you were wearing a t-shirt and jeans you'd definitely have to carry it, which defeats the object of casually using it when the moment arises. You're far more likely to use it in the kitchen or bedroom as an extension of your MP3 device of choice, than blasting tunes on the beach. Finally pricing is extremely variable, but in general it's available online for around £70, with some colours costing more than that.
If you want a simple way to boost the volume of your media and aren't desperate for either design flair or sheer volume, then the Antec SP1 is a good starting point. The sound is nicely balanced, it doesn't distort even at maximum volume and it's small enough to fit in a bag or coat pocket. The batteries will last nearly all day and thanks to the USB charging you can recharge it almost anywhere. We'd definitely like a more literally rounded design, a way to turn the melody off and we think that it's pretty expensive when compared to some other options around, especially as the price seems so fluid. If you can find it around the £50 mark then it's definitely worth a punt, and with reasonable expectations it does exactly what it says on the tin, so for that reason, and the flexible connectivity, we're awarding it our OC3D Bronze Award.