Reviewed by David Savage
With everybody seemingly owning a Smartphone and tablet these days, there are lots of charging ports around in shopping centres. But now we are entering summer, people like get outdoors and maybe do a bit of camping, especially now that festival season is approaching. So with all these phones and tablets, charging them in a field in the middle of nowhere can be a problem. The are plenty of portable power banks available but I was delighted when I received one to review that is just perfect for camping, the Lava BrightSounds 2.
The Lava BrightSounds 2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a LED Light and Power Bank. The perfect must have accessory this summer for festival goers, camping or even just for enjoying the summer nights in the garden!
The Lava BrightSounds 2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker (5w full range speaker driver) that has a large vivid LED light with ambient dimmer and a Power Bank to charge those all-important phones and tablets. It comes with a rechargeable battery that can get up to a massive 36 hours of use (depending on what functions you are using). It is also rated as IPX4 water resistant (splash proof). And it even comes in 5 different colour options. It measures approx. 19 x 9.5 x 9.5cm (7.5 x 3.75 x 3.75”) but is surprising lightweight at only 0.624kg.
Approx. 75% of the speaking housing is made up of the LED light with top 25% made up of the wraparound speaker mesh. It comes with a very soft leatherette handle that makes it very easy to carry around.
It is very easy to use with only having four intuitive buttons on the top that each have more than one function. The on/off button is also the play/pause button and the button to answer telephone calls when connected to your phone. The + and – buttons are used to skip tracks backwards and forwards but by holding the button will increase/decrease the volume (volume can also be controlled from your phone or tablet). Finally, the lamp button, pressing it turns the LED light on and off or by pressing and holding will increase/decrease the brightness of the LED.
The charging ports and aux port can be found under a tight fitting rubber seal on the speaker mesh; there is a port to charge the device itself (or power the device from a USB power source) as well as a USB port to charge your phone/tablet (you will need to have your own charger cable for your phone or tablet as one is not supplied), then there is the aux port so that you can connect your phone or tablet to the speaker via an audio cable if for some reason you didn’t want to use Bluetooth, or the device you want to plug in doesn’t have Bluetooth such as a MP3 player or if going old school, a Walkman or portable CD player (a short cable is supplied, although personally I would like to see it a bit longer).
Charging the device or your phone/tablet is very easy. A micro USB cable is supplied to charge the speaker from a USB port on a laptop or wall charger, but as mentioned earlier you will need your own cable for your phone or tablet. Just open the rubber seal on the back of the speaker and plug in. From empty, it will take around 4 hours to charge the speaker. To charge your phone or tablet, again just open the rubber seal and plug in your phone/tablet USB charging cable (I charged my phone completely from it and still the battery on the speaker wasn’t depleted).
As it has a Bluetooth connection connecting to the speaker is simple (or you can use the supplied audio cable from the aux port if your phone or tablet has a 3.5mm headphone socket). To use the Bluetooth connection, power on the device and a blue LED will flash on top on the speaker, turn on Bluetooth on your phone or tablet and select the BrightSounds connection (if asked for a pin code, use 0000), you are now connected and ready to play your favourite tunes and even takes calls through the speaker.
The Lava BrightSounds 2 is an “entry level” speaker but that doesn’t mean the sound is poor. In fact, the sound is of extremely good quality, even turned up to full level it wasn’t tinny or distorted. It is only a 5w speaker so don’t expect to be running a disco, but the sound is more than loud enough for personal use sitting around a campfire or chilling with friends in the garden. Because of the design of the speaker the sound comes out from every side of the speaker housing so no matter where you sitting around it you get the same quality of sound.
Controlling the volume level and skipping tracks can be controlled by your phone or tablet by pressing the buttons on top of the speaker (as mentioned earlier). Very simple to use.
If you receive a phone call while your device is connected just press the button (on/off, call answer) on top of the speaker and you are then on speaker phone. I found the sound to be excellent on my end through the speaker, but it was a bit low on the other end, although not so low as I couldn’t be heard – but then I was always sitting at least 1m away from the speaker.
Finally, the lamp. The LED is quite bright and is perfect for outdoors (especially should you need to find the toilet at night on a campsite) – it can also be dimmed to make a great night light for the younger members of the family.
Overall, the Lava BrightSounds 2 looks great and has excellent build and design quality. The sound output is distortion free and of a good quality and is perfect for camping or even for just a group of friends chilling at home. The addition of the lamp is a great idea but the Power Bank to charge your phone is brilliant. Having all three combined into one device makes this the must have accessory for camping and festivals this year. 3 devices in one lightweight housing, what more do you need?
The Lava BrightSounds 2 is splash proof so would be good for around the pool, using with wet hands or dodging the British summer showers.
Despite it being considered entry level, it is far superior to other entry levels speakers I have previously used and the price tag of £40 is a bargain, especially as you also get a built-in LED lamp and power bank.
So whether it’s camping, a festival or chilling in the garden this summer the Lava BrightSounds 2 is the must have accessory.
For more information or to buy online visit www.lavaaccessories.co.uk.