Here’s another crack at the portable speaker segment, this time from Edifier who claim to have made something with a sound quality twice its size. The £49.99 MP233 boasts audio playback from many sources including Bluetooth, NFC, microSD and the traditional aux input.
Edifier have a tradition of creating very solid speaker products and their MP233 only continues this trend. Its plastic body and rear and front speaker grills produce a clean appearance. There are white, black, yellow, red and blue colour options to choose from. It’s the kind of portable speaker that you could just throw into a backpack and not worry that it would come to much harm. On the back there’s a microSD card slot for playing/saving music, an aux cable, a micro USB input for charging the battery and finally a power switch.
A fairly straightforward arrangement of control buttons are spread across the top. Music playback controls are for the most part responsive, although the volume controls don’t actually designate to synchronise with the paired device's volume but instead independently adjust the Edifier MP233's own speaker volume. Lastly there’s a button to take incoming calls via speakerphone mode - the inbuilt microphone is entirely sufficient for the task.
The volume is boosted from the 2x 4.5W twin 48mm neodymium drivers, easily capable of filling a reasonably sized bedroom. The definition is fitting, but not as powerful as the wireless and portable SACKit WOOFit Jam speakers that can project ear-wrecking sound. To be fair though, the Edifier offering is £50 cheaper, lighter and a great deal thinner, and when we take all this into account the audio output isn't too shabby. Despite an open back passive bass radiator design to encourage stronger bass response within this slim profile it could definitely be more forceful for our tastes and doesn’t outrun the identically priced Creative MUVO mini portable speaker where bass is concerned. For example, playing 'Here' by Alessia Cara retains the hugely energetic spectacle, with her muscular vocals tapping across the high ranges and the piano within the background stands out too, but the the deep bass tones become wishy-washy. It’s a mixed bag because we’d say that across the mid to high ranges, and in terms of volume too, the Edifier MP233 comes first place. But when bass is brought into the picture it falls short by comparison and can leave bass leaning poppy tunes to sound a little on the flat side.
When we steer away from music with heavy bass emphasis towards the acoustic 'Diamonds' by Ben Howard, our ears are genuinely treated to musical renditions that could easily be broadcast from speakers twice their size. Ben’s raspy vocals come through front of stage and are richly detailed. The simplistic instrumental arrangement of a singular guitar and continuous mellow drumming are notably distinct to demonstrate a soundstage of sorts - and in this instance via rewarding stereo separation. In fact, we thought the general fluidity within the definition from the guitar strings within this song was truly remarkable! Throughout our weeks of listening to a wide selection of music through this speaker we feel acoustic renditions are its best friend.
Put simply, the battery didn't hit the 12hr claim and instead hit about 8 hours of audio playback over the course of many weeks with volume set around 60%-80%. Continuous playback may well reveal different results but we believe this is how most people use such speakers in the real world.
The Edifier MP233 Speaker is certainly particularly adept in the variety of mediums via which it can play audio. The design is nice and its integral build quality is backpack ready. However, whilst it projects volume of a level that certainly sounds twice its size we have mixed feelings about the weaker than expected bass; although this is definitely a portable speaker option that truly captures the spirit of acoustic music brilliantly.