Many of the Bluetooth speakers that we review here at Apple World Today are luggable -- you can pick them up and carry them, but you can't just drop 'em into a pocket. Today's review is of the Archeer A110 Ultra-Slim Wireless Speaker (US$22.98, affiliate link), which is not only slim enough to carry in your pocket, but surprisingly versatile in operation.
At just about 2 cm (.79 inches) thick, the A110 is thin. The front of the device features an all-metal design with a grey grill on one side and a bass radiator on the other side. A silver-colored metal side wraps around the device, and the back is made from a durable polyurethane material.
The back has three buttons -- one to change modes, one for the LED lighting on the device, and another for pairing or disconnecting Bluetooth. On top of the device is a red charging LED and blue Mode LED, as well as previous/next volume-/volume+ toggles. There's also a power button that is also used to play or pause playback. Finally, the right side of the device (as you look at the front) has a headphone jack, a TF card (micro-SD) slot, a micro-USB charging port, and an AUX port for connecting the A110 to another source with a cable.
The ring around the bass radiator speaker has an LED ring that can be set to cycle through the spectrum of colors, flash in time with music, and so on. I was getting a little mesmerized by the slow change of colors from red to purple, from blue to green, and so on. The flashing LED mode is great with rock music as it matches the rhythm of the tune you're listening to.
The A110 uses voice prompts to tell you which mode you're in and whether or not the device is paired. The Modes include "Wireless Speaker" (used for streaming music from your Mac or iPhone to the speaker), FM radio (which initially scans the local FM spectrum and identifies radio stations that can then be switched using the previous/next toggle), AUX mode, and TF Card mode for playing music stored on a TF (micro-SD) card.
One final and very handy feature is a pop-out speaker stand that can also hold your smartphone.
After charging the Archeer A110, I turned it on and listened to the fun startup sound. Pairing to an iPhone just took second; I had to identify the A110 in the list of Bluetooth devices, then tap on it to pair. Once the sexy voice told me that the device was "paired", I used my iPhone to send music to the speaker over Bluetooth.
I then pushed the Mode button to go to "FM Radio Mode", dutifully announced by the speaker. pressing the top power button initiated the station scan, and the stations it found were stored automatically in the device. I found that plugging the USB cable into the device improved reception by acting as an antenna!
I did not test the TF Card Playing Mode, but I find it fun to know that you could save up to 128GB of music on one of these cards, then pop it into the slot to enjoy months of music.
How did the A110 sound? It had surprisingly good range for a small speaker, and the bass radiator worked well when listening to bass-heavy music. Of course, this is not a stereo speaker, so the sound is a bit one-dimensional -- kind of like listening to a monaural car radio.
Like most other Bluetooth speakers, the A110 can be used as a speakerphone when paired with your iPhone. I found the sound quality to be quite reasonable, and a call recipient said my voice was loud and clear.
The name "Ultra-Slim Wireless Speaker" describes the A110 quite well. While the sound quality might not be as awe-inspiring as you'd hear from a larger or more expensive speaker, it's certainly loud and clear. I like the ability to use the A110 as an FM radio, to play back sound stored on a micro-SD card, or listen to music from my iPhone, iPad or Mac. At $23, the A110 is a bargain for what it does, and it feels like it will last for years.