I test a lot of Bluetooth speakers, and for the most part they communicate with you in the manner of R2D2 -- a bunch of bleeps, bloops, and flashing LEDs. When I powered on the Inateck BP2109 Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($37.99, Amazon affiliate link) and heard the charming voice of this little portable speaker, I was hooked. Let's take a look!
Bluetooth speakers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the BP2109 is what I'd call a "midrange" speaker. It's not tiny nor tinny like some of the little cylindrical speakers we see, but it's not a heavy monster either. It's a black rectangular shape with dimensions of 2.56 x 2.56 x 6.85 inches (6.5 x 6.5 x 17.4 cm), weighing in at 17 ounces (481.9 grams).
Most of that mass is thanks to a 4,000mAh battery pack that allows the BP2109 to either run for over 30 hours playing your favorite tunes or charge your iPhone. There are dual 5W drivers that produce surprisingly good sound, and a built in swiveling aluminum handle does dual duty as a carrying grip and an iPhone stand.
A row of silicone covered buttons atop the speaker provide controls for power, next/previous track, and volume. A single LED shows status of charging and connection, and a built-in microphone provides speakerphone capabilities.
I like products with a little personality, and the "obviously not a native English speaker" female voice of the BP2109 that prompts you to pair the device with your computer or smartphone is just plain charming -- I couldn't help but smile when I heard her talk! "The Bluetooth - waiting for connecting device! Bluetooth connection succeed!"
Charging is done through a standard 5V micro-USB port, and as mentioned earlier you can charge other devices from the BP2109 battery using a supplied USB Type-A port. Should you decide to use the Portable Bluetooth Speaker as an auxiliary speaker for something like an Amazon Echo or Dot, there's even an included 3.5mm cable.
The BP2109 also has something I've never seen on a Bluetooth speaker before -- a slot for a TF (micro-SD) card! This is a really good idea for truly portable use if you don't want to draw down the battery on your iPhone; just load a playlist of songs onto a micro-SD card, pop it into the speaker, and use that as your audio source.
The volume on this little speaker is surprisingly loud and has solid range. As with most speakers of this type, however, it does a lot better job as a speaker than as a speakerphone. The recipient of a test call said the audio was quite muddled when I was speaking, something I've seen even with much more expensive Bluetooth speakers.
One feature I was happy to see was a set of silicone "feet" on the bottom of the speaker. I've tested other speakers that don't have these, and there's a tendency for those speakers to "buzz" on hard surfaces.
Any negatives other than the microphone? The finish does seem to pick up fingerprints quite easily, but that's about it.
For $38, the Inateck BP2109 Portable Bluetooth Speaker brings a lot to the table that more expensive speakers don't. Its ability to be used as an external battery pack is quite useful, and the micro-SD slot and 3.5mm input mean you don't always have to rely on an iPhone or other smartphone as a music source. The swiveling handle is quite handy, and that cute voice prompt is the icing on the cake.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★