There are several options to choose from when looking for a standalone Bluetooth speaker. A strong option at the $50 level is the SuperTooth Disco4, or D4.
SuperTooth is a French company, more popular in Europe than the US. Regardless, I have to say I’m impressed with the 500 gram (one pound) speaker. Its design is reminiscent of a loudspeaker. The casing is made of plastic, but it has a solid feel despite the light weight. A strap on the top makes a nice handle.
Solid Sound in a Small Package
The sound is impressive for such a lightweight speaker. I like most music genres, but prefer to test audio with classical music because of its range, layers, and complexity. For testing this time I used The Piano Guys and orchestral renditions of Franz Liszt. One thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the clarity at even a very low volume. I could easily pick out instruments and the notes played despite the volume set at just a barely audible level. No “mumbling.” Using an equalizer on my iPhone, I pushed heavy bass to the speaker, and as expected, there was a lot of distortion. A subwoofer it is not. But then again, at one pound, it is not meant to be.
This wireless speaker has a built-in Lithium-Ion power pack battery with a twelve-hour battery life when playing audio at medium volume, two-three hours at high volume. Charging time takes two hours if charged from a powered USB port. A micro USB cable is included, but unfortunately a charger is not. The speaker charged just fine with my iPad charger.
Indicators, Ports, and Connectivity
The back is home to an On/Off switch, which has audible tones for power on and power off, an LED indicator light, micro USB port for charging, and an audio in port.
The LED indicates:
GREEN: Fully charged
BLUE: Connected to Bluetooth device
PURPLE: Connecting to device
The D4 uses NFC (Near Field Communication) for Bluetooth pairing. My NFC enabled iPhone 5 paired in maybe a second. From powered off, press the power button on the D4 for 8 seconds to enable pairing mode, hold or place the smartphone an inch away or less from the speaker and it’s connected in a blink.
Stereo streaming uses Bluetooth A2DP. The 8 watt speaker frequency range is 2.4GHz.
The specs state a range of 10 meters (32 feet), but when I tested the speaker in our two-story house, I was able to reach 40 horizontal feet without a loss in sound quality. When tested downstairs with my phone upstairs, though, interference was nearly immediate. That may just be my house. I get a lot of interference from my kids.
The D4 is available in five colors with cute names:
The speaker is available direct from SuperTooth for 49.90 Euros, or $49. The speaker I reviewed was the Meteor color which has speckles that reflect in direct light. Sparkly!
Overall I’m impressed with the lightweight speaker. Highs and mediums are clean and there is enough bass to be distinct without carrying around a five- or ten-pound speaker.