TWS a nice touch
Ugly as sin
Summer is upon us.
No, I’m not trying to write a catchy, seasonal lede. You know the kind. One that, with the superficial charm of a sociopath, awkwardly segues into some lurid spiel about trips to the beach with your friends.
Ledes that describe why you absolutely must have a Bluetooth speaker, before artlessly introducing the subject for this review: namely, the TronSmart Element T6 Plus.
I’m no hack. I’m British. Seasonal changes are an alien concept to my people. You might as well explain the theory of relativity to a labradoodle.
Sorrow aside, the TronSmart Element T6 Plus is a surprisingly capable portable Bluetooth speaker. Despite its budget-friendly price and drab aesthetics, it delivers a strong (albeit bass-heavy) performance whether you’re at home or relaxing on the beach somewhere.
Cheap and cheerful
It’s entirely plausible you’ve never heard of TronSmart before. They inhabit the middle of the Venn diagram between “obscure” and “prolific.” Amazon is replete with their products.
But they lack the same household brand recognition as other audio marques, like Bose or Sennheiser. “Obscure” doesn’t necessarily mean “crap,” however.
READ MORE: Review: Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC Bluetooth Headphones
Even though TronSmart would feel more at home on the side of a milk carton than on the shelves of your local Best Buy — and the fact that Element T6 Plus sounds like the name of a rejected antagonist from Terminator — this Bluetooth speaker stands tall in its own right.
It includes features that you wouldn’t instinctively expect to find in its price bracket: like the ability to use the speaker as a portable charger, or the option to pair two Element T6 units into a single ad-hoc stereo system.
If you don’t feel like taking your phone to the beach, you can even play music from a USB stick or MicroSD card, breathing new life into the library you downloaded from LimeWire as a teenager.
Accompanying those “nice to haves” are the fundamentals of a good outdoor speaker, like weather resistance and loudness. The TronSmart Element T6 Plus is IPX6 rated, meaning it can withstand rain and spilled pints of beer. That said, you’d be well-advised to leave it behind when you go for a swim.
While it’s unlikely to win any beauty contests, it’s undeniably hardy
The TronSmart Element T6 Plus’s rubberized exterior feels reassuringly sturdy. Additionally, the areas most vulnerable to water ingress (like the USB and MicroSD ports) are covered by a protective flap.
It’s also wonderfully compact. You can easily grip the TronSmart Element T6 Plus with one hand, and you could conceivably chuck it into a handbag or rucksack without even realizing it’s there.
READ MORE: Review: The Intelli StepUp wireless charger
Carved into the speaker’s sides are a handful of buttons responsible for things like EQ settings, pairing, track selection, and power.
One nice touch with the TronSmart Element T6 Plus is the inclusion of a dial that serves two functions. The dial lets you adjust the speaker’s volume on the fly, and wake your chosen smart assistant with a short three-second press.
As mentioned, you can use the TronSmart as a portable powerbank, albeit by reducing the Bluetooth speaker’s playtime — which stands at a respectable, although hardly industry-leading, 15 hours.
Each speaker contains two 3,300mAh cells, providing enough juice to fully recharge an iPhone 12 at least twice.
All about that bass
The TronSmart T6 Plus boasts an output power of 40W, meaning loudness is never an issue. Sound quality is middling, and will do nothing to satisfy audio purists, but is perfectly acceptable for casual use.
Its twin side-mounted passive radiators deliver audio with a bass-heavy profile that is immediately recognizable to anyone that owns a Bluetooth speaker in the TronSmart T6 Plus’ price bracket.
It competently delivers earthy, ground-thumping beats, but struggles when it comes to the trebles and mids.
Given my Spotify listening history consists primarily of bearded blokes in knitted sweatshirts warbling about their divorce over the gentle plucking of an acoustic guitar, the TronSmart T6 Plus didn’t exactly rock my world.
It struggled to show the complexity in more elaborate songs like Night Mail from Public Service Broadcasting. But if your musical fare consists primarily of Skrillex and other bass-heavy artists, you probably won’t mind all that much.
Admittedly, pairing two TronSmart Element T6 units in a True Wireless Stereo (TWS) configuration improves the sound quality significantly, delivering a richer and more vibrant profile. TronSmart sent two separate units to test this functionality, and I was impressed.
As I wasn’t able to establish a stereo connection using a wired 3.5mm cable, I can only assume TWS works exclusively with Bluetooth.
Solid bang for your buck
The TronSmart T6 Plus isn’t the best speaker on the market. It’s not an audiophile’s wet dream. But, in fairness, I didn’t expect it to be.
It retails on Amazon for the low price of $60 — almost 1/8th the price of a Sonos Move. It is also available on Geekbuying for the same price. If you want something that doesn’t look ugly as sin, you could always go with this alien contraption from GravaStar.
But while it doesn’t push the bar when it comes to sound quality, TronSmart should be commended for the vast smorgasbord of extra features in the Element T6 Plus — like USB/microSD support, TWS capability, and the ability to use the speakers as ad-hoc charging banks.
For those looking for a cheap speaker for casual outdoors listening, it’s hard to fault it.
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TWS a nice touch
Ugly as sin