Review: BlueAnt X5 bloody good Party Speaker
BlueAnt’s X5 party speaker is a great piece of kit that can bring new life to the sound in any room for under AU$400/NZ$500.
It’s portable, battery-powered, small and looks pretty good but still manages to pack a real punch.
You can find a full list of specs at the bottom of the article.
First, let’s talk functionality
When I say the speaker is portable, I mean really, really portable; it’s surprisingly light weighing around 4kg - about the same as your average housecat - and thanks to its small size (36cm high x 26cm wide x 26cm deep) can be put pretty much anywhere.
I live in a small flat and was worried I wouldn’t have space for it but found it fit nicely in a little gap without getting in the way of anything. If I need to store it away, I might have trouble but, as I said – small flat.
Interestingly, the best place to put it is against a wall somewhere because it actually uses that flat space to enhance the sound; placing it in a corner boosts that even more. I’ve got it sitting behind me as I work, connected to my computer by Bluetooth – a little ostentatious for a work speaker, I admit.
Speaking of connections, it eschews the trend forgoing analogue connections with a 3.5mm (headphone) auxiliary input and brings back the ability to pop in a USB flash drive and just play through a pre-loaded selection.
That USB port also allows the unit to operate as a powerbank for when the end of the night rolls around and someone needs to order a ride.
The claim is the battery will last for 20 hours at half volume, with the lights off and no bass boost. With everything at max, it will likely go under for less than 10 hours but you plug into power via a provided DC adaptor to charge while you play without interruption.
There is also an enigmatic USB-C port labelled ‘Service’ with no further explanation. I’m not a fan of having random ports I can’t use in plain view but I’m guessing it was the best positioning for the internals.
Gloriously, volume control comes from a dial, rather than push buttons offering quicker and better control. I can also control the volume from my connected devices which are both Apple products.
The party really begins with the 1/4in inputs on top for the two microphones (included) which will let you and your friends drunkenly butcher Bohemian Rhapsody to your heart’s content (for a more wholesome experience, try taking the unit carolling with your family, maybe?)
It’s actually a pretty cool karaoke machine that allows you to adjust the each microphone’s volume independently as well as adding a little echo when Phil insists on breaking into his version of Hoobastank’s The Reason and you need something, anything, to make his off-key whining a little more palatable.
The speaker has some funky lights that spin, pulse and flash on the front to add a little ambience to the post-potluck revelry.
The X5 is in no way dust or water-resistant so I recommend you keep this bad boy indoors and avoid the beach.
Now - the sound
Once again, I find myself surprised at the quality of the sound that a BlueAnt speaker pumps out.
Even at ‘1am on New Years’ volume, the sound maintains clarity and depth.
BlueAnt’s combination of hardware and software never fails to give a consistent sound that is just stunning at the prices these units go for.
The 156mm woofer (6.5in), 59mm tweeter (2.25in), and BlueAnt’s Psycho-Acoustic Bass Extension give an incredible 110+dB that is truly dynamic, with no frequency left in the sonic-dark.
Playing something with depth and layering of sound (El Mañana by Gorillaz, for example) none of the quality of composition is missed, and with something cleaner but no less complex (like José Gonzáles’ Heartbeats) lets you revel in the simple richness of instrument and vocals.
The powerful bass can be kicked up a notch with the Bass Boost button and, again, by placing it against a wall.
Link a couple of them together for a multi-room or stereo single-room experience.
The X5 is one of those devices that either you are in the market for it, or you are not. And if you are, there’s no reason that this wouldn’t be the product of choice.
It’s a party machine but works just as well as the speaker of choice for a bedroom, den, hobby room or family room.
These Aussie’s know their bloody stuff.