Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC Portable Speaker Review

    Hi Geektimes!

    We continue to acquaint you with the gadgets of the American company Monoprice, the distributors of which are our company SOUND4YOU. Today we will talk about the budget portable wireless speaker Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC.
    At the moment, a huge number of different portable speakers for our smartphones and tablets are presented on the market. Each manufacturer is trying to win the attention of the buyer: someone is doing a premium stylish thing with the highest sound quality, as in the example of the Fugoo column, which I talked about in one of the latest reviews . Someone on the contrary is looking for a niche in the budget columns, while infringing on the column in sound quality.
    The developers of Monopriсe decided to prove themselves on both sides and made such a “middling”, stylish Cradle Bluetooth NFC speaker with a classic design with decent sound for this price range. Below I will consider this column in more detail in terms of external and technical parameters, compare it with the nearest competitors and present the strengths and weaknesses of this column.

    The Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC speaker is supplied in a regular cardboard box measuring 23x17x7 cm and weighing 640 g. I am not one of those people who judge "by the bag by the bag." For his considerable experience in buying various gadgets, he came up with the following pattern: if the product is expensive, then the box should be uniquely quality. If the goods are budget-friendly and at the same time quality packaging, then most likely the manufacturer has greatly saved on the contents.
    Given that the Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC column belongs to the budget class, the presence of a simple box did not bother me.
    On the front side of the box through the transparent soft plastic the column itself is clearly visible, so a potential buyer can evaluate the size and have an idea of ​​the appearance.

    Contents of delivery:
    Everything is modest and “no bonuses” in the kit: the speaker itself, AUX 3.5 mm wire and microUSB cable for charging, and I almost forgot, a brief instruction on two sheets.
    Where is the cover? It seems that the manufacturer is positioning this column for home and office use. But I believe that, at a minimum, there should be a simple fabric cover in the kit, in case I decide to take a column with me on a business trip to spend time at the hotel.
    Cords for workmanship are very simple. Braid - a traditional black soft plastic. The plugs are not gold plated and are therefore subject to corrosion.

    Case, material and shape:
    Now directly about the Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC column itself. It is made in the form of a flat plate measuring 19x11x3 cm and weighing only 440 g. The shape is slightly different from the usual cylinder or bar. Laconic rounded corners and at the same time straight shapes give this portable speaker a stylish and classic look, which makes it noticeably distinguishable from hundreds of other speakers on the market. Easy and convenient to fit in your hand.

    Each Monoprice product has its own chip. In this column, the developers added an opening shelf for a smartphone or tablet on the case. The thing is very convenient, in my opinion, since in the standing position the shelf will act as a support.

    The inner part of the shelf is completely rubberized, which is very practical and with constant use with a smartphone or tablet, will avoid scratches. In addition, rubber pads give a generally pleasant tactile feel when placing a smartphone on it. The folding mechanism is quite practical and there is no feeling that over time it can become loose.

    The case of the speaker is plastic, the front part, where the speakers are located, is covered by a metal mesh over the entire surface. The back wall is almost completely covered with a rubber pad, which performs not only anti-slip functions, but also absorbs vibration when playing music.
    A significant drawback of this column is the lack of waterproof properties, so the column is definitely not intended for street use.

    The speaker has two 40 mm active speakers and two passive reflectors for better sound. For the main parameters, see below.
    Frequency range:
    The frequency range is perhaps the most meaningless parameter in the characteristic and is used more by marketers. A person hears in the range of 20Hz - 20kHz, at the beginning of this range are low-frequency sounds (bass), at the top - high-frequency sounds. The task of any acoustics is to correctly reproduce this range, without failures, without wheezing and a bass rumble, without hissing and rattle on the treble. This ability reflects the amplitude-frequency characteristic (AFC) and is usually presented in the form of a graph of the dependence of volume on frequency. Therefore, the smoother and smoother the curve, the more accurate and clear the sound. The frequency response column is in the range of 100Hz - 18kHz. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not provide the schedule either on the box or on the site.

    Sensitivity (sound pressure) and power:
    Sensitivity is the efficiency of acoustics: the larger it is, the louder the speaker sounds, regardless of the source. The Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC speaker can hardly be called very loud, but as the manufacturer indicates, this parameter should not be less than 75 dB, which in my test at the maximum volume at a distance of 50 cm from the speaker is quite consistent (measurement was performed using the VUMeter program).
    The power column has 4 watts (2 watts per channel), which corresponds to the average of this class. And then you should not chase after watts, especially when the sound source is a smartphone or player. With high sensitivity, a few milliwatts is enough for the music to play loudly, and the gadget's amplifier does not overload and consumes battery power, the battery does not quickly sink.

    My personal opinion is that the sound is strong, but at maximum volume it starts to choke a little and the juiciness is lost. According to the frequency response, the averages are well disclosed, but this column cannot be called bass, everything is in moderation. I personally prefer a smoother sound, without inflection at low frequencies.

    Handsfree and buttons:
    All buttons are placed on one of the side panels, in the “standing” position the buttons will be on top, which is very convenient for control. Only five buttons: two for volume and the traditional three buttons for managing songs. The central button is used to receive and end an incoming call.

    The speaker is equipped with a microphone and supports an HPF (Hands-Free Profile) profile for connecting to a phone and smartphone. The speakerphone in this column upset me, although, to be honest, I did not expect for the money that the interlocutor would hear me without complaints. As I previously wrote in one of the reviews, the speakerphone in general for all low and medium budget speakers is disgustingly implemented. I can say for sure that the quality of the speakerphone at Monoprice Cradle is absolutely at the same level as that of the well-known JBL Charge 2 speaker. Connections to the speaker

    The speaker connects to the phone and any other device via a Bluetooth wireless connection, also supports the A2DP profile, which is designed to transfer two-channel stereo audio stream to a wireless headset or any other device. The profile fully supports the low-compressed Sub_Band_Codec (SBC) codec and optionally supports MPEG-1,2 audio, MPEG-2,4 AAC and ATRAC.
    “Steaming” with the device occurs instantly, and on the column itself it is not necessary to press any button for the initial “steaming”.
    In addition to Bluetooth, there is NFC technology, which is designed to exchange data between devices located at a short distance (no more than 10 cm). To activate this type of connection, simply click on the NFC logo at the top of the speaker.
    It is also possible to connect any sound source that does not support Bluetooth using a cable through AUX.

    Power supply:
    The manufacturer does not indulge us with a battery, the battery column lasts only 4-5 hours, this once again emphasizes that the manufacturer designed the Monoprice Cradle column for desktop use at home and in the office. Charging takes place via a USB-microUSB cable for 4 hours. It will not be amiss to remind you, and this applies in general to any batteries, in order to extend the battery life the first three times after a complete discharge, it is very important to charge at least 12 hours.

    Price and warranty period: You
    can find out the availability and price directly from the distributor by the link
    Supplied in two colors: black and white.
    But for all Monoprice models, the distributor provides a 12-month warranty.

    The Monoprice Cradle Bluetooth NFC column is an inexpensive gadget, so you need to be objective with your expectations. For little money you get an original classic look, a good loud sound, which will be more than enough for an average room up to 20 sq.m.
    A speaker can also be a good gift, as it has a stylish appearance that will leave few indifferent. In general, we can say that the column is worth the money.

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