There is no time like the present if you are in the market for a portable bluetooth speaker, as there are some great choices out there, and Bayan is hoping to be in the forefront of peoples choice with their new Bayan Soundbook portable bluetooth speaker.
For those familiar with the other Bayan speaker docks, the Soundbook is a step away from that style of design, having more similarities with some of the main competitors in the market, like the Bose Soundlink and the Philips Fidelio P9. With the external casing in aluminium and balistic nylon, it should make for one sturdy portable speaker. Available in either black with yellow trimming or white with blue trimming, the overall style of the speaker has a certain charm to it, an element that makes it slightly different despite the many similarities with the aforementioned competitors.
Bayan has crammed a lot of great technology into the Soundbook speaker as well, including latest Smart Bluetooth v4.0, auto connect for NFC enabled smartphones and tablets, integrated FM radio (no DAB), a rechargeable battery that handles up to 10 hours of streaming audio, and for AptX enabled portable media players, advanced audio streaming at a higher quality. The Soundbook also supports hands-free calling and auto switch between calls and music. Besides the streaming option, the Soundbook also comes with 3.5mm aux input for a wired connection, and 3.5mm audio output for connecting more than one speaker together (which I found very useful). The audio set up includes dual 1-inch neodymium drivers and a 2-inch passive driver, combined delivering 15W power output.
Having put the Bayan Audio Soundbook through some hours of music by now, I’m pretty impressed by the performance for a speaker this size, as it has a true portable size and a well balanced sound. In my opinion the Soundbook can hold its own against the key competitors in that particular part of the market, and does so with a style that appealed to me.
The sound feels well balanced with clear mids- and highs, and bass that works well across most genres of music that I had on rotation during testing. Don’t expect club-thumping bass performance, as the Bayan Soundbook feels like it is set up for a more all-round performance, and from a speaker this size, that feels just about right.
With the Soundbook having both audio in and out connections at the back, I wished I had two of them to test together, as when I connected another portable speaker that I was testing out at the same time, the combined audio was at another level. Granted, the other speaker was in a higher price bracket with a more bass heavy sound, the combination gave what felt like a more rich sound stage. Something to consider if you are looking for both portability and home audio.
FM radio might for many be an afterthought when it comes to portable speakers like these, but unlike many others that deliver a rather terrible radio experience, the Soundbook brought FM radio with clear reception and sound.
Size and simplicity is a big plus in my book. The speaker is easy to carry around with you, feels sturdy, and the cover that folds back to become the stand works like a charm. NFC pairing was as simple as expected, and so was normal Bluetooth pairing. Battery life performed as expected at around 10 hours after a full charge.
I can’t really find many negative points about the Bayan Soundbook. If anything, there could perhaps be questions about the durability of the nylon based cover that is used for the cover/stand functionality, although it feels quite sturdy. The only reason I mention it is because that is also how the speaker goes into sleep/off mode (it wakes up when you fold back the front cover).