There are a few issues that come with living in an apartment in Sydney. Quite a few, actually. But one is the inability to have happy neighbours and enjoy kick-ass speakers simultaneously. For a few minutes this past week, two BlueAnt X4 speakers tested my rental agreement.
The Bluetooth speaker market is pretty saturated. You have the likes of Sonos and JBL to compete with, you also have the masters in sound Bang & Olufsen to consider if you want to make a name for yourself. The key to making a good Bluetooth speaker is bringing to the device something your potential customer doesn’t know they want, as well as making sound, well, sound good.
The BlueAnt X4 has done both of those things, here’s what I think of these cute little party soundgasms.
WHAT IS IT?
Portable Bluetooth speaker from BlueAnt
They’re just oozing in fun, they also sound dope
They don’t match any ‘normal’ decor (except my bedside table)
Who are BlueAnt?
The appeal straight up with the BlueAnt X4 speaker is that BlueAnt is an Aussie company – they’re based in Melbourne. BlueAnt has been in business since 2004 and is run by a team of passionate music-lovers. This also means their gadgets are 100 per cent Australian designed and owned.
BlueAnt X4 is tasty ear, and eye, candy
Speakers that match your décor (read: bland enough so they suit everyone’s taste) have been all the rage the last few years. The BlueAnt X4 rejects this, completely, and I actually really like that about them. It’s a speaker and it does speaker stuff. It’s not out here pretending to be art.
The BlueAnt X4 looks like a party in a box. It takes you right back to the 90s when a spruiker would stand outside a shop telling you there’s a sale going on – well, if you could make out what they were saying over the screeching interference. Oh, my school used them, too. Wild times. Anyway, the BlueAnt X4 reminds me of that, but in a good way.
I made a big mistake. When I was asked what colours I wanted to review, I chose black and aqua, because black is my life colour scheme. I should have gone pink for the full experience. The BlueAnt X4 speakers come in pink, purple, aqua, black and white. If you end up getting yourself one of these, go something OTT.
The company’s marketing line makes it clear why: “With a range vivid colours to brighten any room, the X4 takes the party to another level with lights that groove in time to the music”. Unavoidable visceral trip to a room with colour-soaked backdrops and bright candy spread across a table. Ear candy, if you will.
The speaker itself is pretty chunky. It weighs 2.6kg.
And they have five LED light show modes.
The speaker specs at a glance
- 50 Watt speaker
- Up to 12 hours play time (at 50 per cent volume)
- Fast charge
- Continuous AC play
- 110dB+ output (dynamic HQ audio)
- Bass boost
- 133mm woofer
- 51mm tweeter
- One-touch controls
- Bluetooth (obviously)
- 25 Watts power consumption
- 55mm AUX jack
- 5 LED lightshow modes
- You can connect up to 100 of them (!!!)
- Comes with a mic
- Weighs 2.6kg
- Built-in carry handle
Setting up the BlueAnt X4 speaker
Setting up the BlueAnt X4 is as straight forward as you want. You open the box, take the speaker and mic out of the plastic and open the instruction manual (no one is doing that last part, I know).
Turning the device on gave me a pleasant surprise – it plays a sound bite of a didgeridoo. And yells at you “BLUETOOTH”.
The LED lights run through while the BlueAnt X4 is waiting for you to continue. The speaker appears instantly to connect to my iPhone and the speaker yells “CONNECTED” to let you know it’s, um, connected.
My dumb ass spent too long looking for the volume control – it’s the big circle on top of the speaker. The dial is an ‘infinite scroll’ in that it will keep going once you’ve reached minimum and maximum volume. But it ‘dings’ when you’ve reached both and once you’ve gone to MAX SOUND, continuing to turn the dial will send the volume back down to low.
BlueAnt reckons you can connect up to 100 (!!!) of the X4 speakers together, but I just settled for two.
Pairing them is easy. Turn on second X4 and hold down the ‘party mode’ button. BAM. Two-times the fun. The second device elevates to the same sound as the first and it also automatically switches on Bass Boost (I had this activated on the first speaker).
Setting up the mic is also straightforward. You plug it in and you can start singing some terrible karaoke. I absolutely did not start singing karaoke to my cat alone at home. Nope. Definitely not.
There’s a little bit of feedback, a little bit of reverb, but no static. When the mic is resting next to the speaker it’s not a good time, but 5cms away we’ve got no problem.
The first speaker you connect is the master. Volume/bass/mic level is all controlled by this speaker. This is fine but also annoying when you aren’t near the master and want the volume tuned down.
They also chime in to tell you the ‘battery is very low’ and battery life is pretty impressive for such a chunky device that is being punished with music play.
The party launch of the party speaker
Conveniently, it was the 30th birthday of one of my pals over the weekend. We gave the two BlueAnt X4 speakers a test drive at his party.
First noticeable change is the difference in sound quality in an undercover outdoor area versus my apartment. It sounds PHENOMENAL. The need for more than one speaker is truly evident in this type of environment – with one speaker, parts of the room miss hearing the music due to the open space, and of course a lot of people. They could do with going louder, but the sound quality itself is great. I guess this highlights the need for more than two speakers.
Unfortunately, someone at this party found a karaoke version of I Will Always Love You. And as you can turn the mic up to be louder than the music, this was not good. But this isn’t a BlueAnt problem.
But how do they sound?
The BlueAnt X4 speakers sound great.
There’s consistent bass and clarity across all genres. They handled everything this weekend threw at them.
They’re everything I want a speaker to be when it comes to sound quality. In a bass-heavy song, the speakers didn’t shake on the table or ground, avoiding that awful resonance vibration so many speakers get with a song like that.
Full volume does not distort the song, which I think is why I want it to go higher – I’m used to the highest volume sounding bad. The BlueAnt X4 stops before it gets bad.
In my apartment, the sound fills a room well before hitting max; outside, you need more than one if you want loud music.
The sound is clear at all levels, there’s no splashing of tones and every instrument or beat can be heard without overpowering the other.
BlueAnt X4, the verdict
At the start of this review, I said the BlueAnt X4 has brought something to the speaker the potential customer didn’t know they wanted. This was a 2021 candy-coloured party box. I didn’t know I wanted a super fun speaker that I can sing with, and I didn’t know I would be so patriotic that the folks behind the tech are from Melbourne.
They also sound great and despite these being safely back in my apartment on the floor in my ‘office’ (read: junk room), I’ve been listening to everything through them as my main speaker.
I wouldn’t recommend these to someone who is looking for a Bluetooth speaker they are leaving in the one spot of their house. But I’d recommend these to someone who wants a fun, portable speaker that has great sound quality.
The BlueAnt X4 speaker is a super fun, colour-drenched $299 soundgasm.