Creating the perfect portable Bluetooth speaker may seem simple enough in practice; make it small and lightweight, so it’s easy to carry around; give it a decent battery life, some waterproof-ness and naturally pack it with a sound beyond its size. But in such a crowded market, how do you stand out? Well, Danish tech brand Libratone have gone down the design route with the beautiful TOO speaker.
First of all, let’s get the TOO’s dimensions out of the way. It’s 21cm wide, 6.5cm deep and 5.9cm high. It also weighs just 588g, which a quick Google tells us is around the same weight as a small bunch of bananas – and to carry on the analogy, its size isn’t a million miles off an extra-large single banana. Stop saying ‘banana’.
Striking that sweet spot between practicality and good looks can be a tricky business for a portable speaker. Ergonomics can take over and the bodywork can often be an afterthought. Thankfully, Libratone take our eyesight seriously and have produced something sleek, contemporary and fantastic to look at. Its tubular construction is comprised of soft-touch plastic and a fabric mesh, creating a subtle and refined feel. Basically, it looks lovely.
The TOO’s main selling-point performance-wise is the Libratone’s ‘FullRoom’ technology, which sends sound in every direction. This is thanks to two upwards firing 1.5 inch full-range drivers which send audio out of both sides of the speaker mesh, while the non-directional passive radiator is there for some extra basslines.
So how does it perform? We’d say ‘well’. Given you’re going to be using this portable speaker on the go, drop this beauty in the middle of a summer picnic or outside by the fire, it’ll do exactly the job you want it too. Sound quality is crisp and the ‘FullRoom’ tech was more impressive than expected. We won’t go overboard and say it’s going to compete with your Bose but it’s certainly up there with any small device we’ve used in the past few years.
The battery life was decent enough too with 12+ hours of juice on a single charge, and we’re always a fan of minimal buttons; the TOO’s ‘smart touch’ interface is well thought-out and incredibly easy to use. The only criticism we’d have is that we would have liked a little more bass presence.
Thanks to its ‘splash-proof’ construction and a surface that’s designed to grip, the Libratone TOO is your perfect travel buddy. It’s got an IPX4 rating which basically means you can use it outside when it’s spitting with rain, just maybe not when it’s monsoon season.
Portability-wise, we’ve already established its size is perfect. But while there’s a loop at the end of the speaker meant for carrying, it’s only large enough to carry on your finger and nowhere near big enough to fit around wrist. We are absolutely nit-picking but the loop is almost needless.
Other features include some noise isolating and echo cancelling when using it as a speakerphone – both work very well – and the TOO can also be paired with other Libratone speakers for some surround sound.
Great to look at and ample audio performance, the TOO stands out in a saturated market as one of the best portable speakers we’ve reviewed in recent years. Some extra bass would take it to the next level.
The Libratone TOO speaker is available in Caribbean Green, Cerise Pink, Cloudy Grey and Graphite Grey, with prices starting at £129. Find out more over at the Libratone Website.
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