Mpow

Mpow Cheetah Bluetooth Sport Headphones Review

The Mpow Cheetah is a sporty set of in-ear Bluetooth headphones featuring Bluetooth 4.1 and integrated controls. How good are they? Read my Mpow Cheetah review to find out.

Read moreMpow Cheetah Bluetooth Sport Headphones Review

Mpow AquaPro Bluetooth Speaker Review: Waterproof Wonder?

The Mpow AquaPro is a rugged IPX7-rated Bluetooth speaker. This means that you should be able to submerge it to 3ft for 30 minutes without any issues – making it the perfect beach companion.

I want to say thanks to Mpow for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at Amazon

What’s In The Box?

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Mpow have included a good set of inclusions in the box:

  • 1x Mpow AquaPro Bluetooth speaker
  • 1x micro USB charging cable
  • 1x 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable
  • 1x English Instruction Manual

There’s no power adapter in the box, but the Mpow AquaPro charges via micro USB so pretty much any USB charger should do the job.

Mpow AquaPro Review: Design

The Mpow AquaPro is a surprisingly compact Bluetooth speaker. At around 100x100mm and being reasonably lightweight, it’s the ideal size to chuck into your bag to take around with you.

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The unit’s square design is dominated by its large speaker grill, its grey contrasting with the bright green casing. The grills and rear plates feature panel detail and fake screws adding to the rugged aesthetic.

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Pretty much everything is hard plastic though so it does feel a little on the cheap side.

The top of the unit houses the  device’s four buttons: power, play/pause and skip tracks. To keep the unit waterproof, the buttons are embossed in the plastic frame. This gives the buttons a cheap feel but it’s an understandable design decision.

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A rubber flap on the right side hides the unit’s micro USB and Aux in ports. There’s also an SOS button which activates an incredibly loud alarm if you need it.

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On terms of build quality, the Mpow AquaPro feels well made though its heavy reliance on plastic does cheapen its feel. It’s designed to be waterproof not ultra-rugged like the Mpow Armor Plus so I can’t image it’ll stand too much physical abuse.

Mpow AquaPro Review: Using It

Charging the internal 800mAh battery via micro USB takes around a couple of hours.

After powering up the unit by holding down the power button, it’s ready to pair. Just select Mpow AquaPro from your smartphone’s Bluetooth menu. The speaker will reconnect automatically to the last paired device quickly.

Music playback is controlled via your smartphone or the onboard controls. The volume buttons also pull double-duty. Holding them down skips tracks.

Aux in works as expected. Just plug the included 3.5mm cable into the speaker and your phone and you can play your favorite tracks from devices that don’t support Bluetooth.

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The SOS function is impressively loud, sounding a siren after holding down the button for a few seconds. However, it can only be triggered when the speaker is switched on which is frustrating. If you were in an emergency situation, I hardly doubt you’d want to both power up the speaker and trigger the SOS function when needed.

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The Mpow AquaPro is waterproof, capable of being submerged under 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. It’ll also float so it’s also easy to fetch if it falls into a swimming pool or river. That’s an impressive feat that makes the AquaPro an excellent candidate for those with an adventurer streak.

The in-built 800mAh battery should be good for around 8 hours of usage according to Mpow. After a week of regular usage, this seems to be about right.

Mpow AquaPro Review: Sound Quality

The Mpow AquaPro’s audio quality is impressive, particularly when you take into account its waterproof status.

At low to moderate volumes, the speaker sounds fantastic. Audio is nice and clear with good mids and highs, though bass may be a little light for some users. I personally liked how it sounded as I prefer more balanced audio than drowning my tracks in bass.

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When you hit maximum volume though, the bass can’t quite keep up, with audio sounding harsher due to dominant mids and highs. Overall clarity is maintained however and I didn’t experience any distortion at all.

It’s important to note that audiophiles aren’t the target audience though, so the waterproofing will be worth the audio quality tradeoff.

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The Mpow AquaPro’s volume is independent from your smartphone’s volume. By maxing out both your phone’s and the speaker’s volume, you can output an impressive amount of sound from the unit’s 3W speaker. It’ll be plenty for a small to medium sized room.

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Mpow AquaPro Review: Microphone Quality

The Mpow AquaPro also features a built-in microphone. The function is a “nice to have” but the tiny microphone isn’t sensitive enough so the person on the other end tended to have difficulty hearing me. Audio quality when receiving a call was excellent though.

Verdict

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The Mpow AquaPro is a great little Bluetooth speaker. It’s compact, well-made and sounds great. Couple that with it’s waterproof design and SOS features, it’s a solid package if you need the extra durability it affords.

Though the plastic feels a little cheap, the Mpow AquaPro is great value and the perfect speaker to accompany you on your adventures.

Getting One

The Mpow AquaPro is available from Amazon.

Check Price at Amazon

Mpow Armor Plus Bluetooth Speaker Review: Battle Ready?

The Mpow Armor Plus is an incredibly rugged Bluetooth speaker packing dual 8W drivers, a subwoofer and aux in. It certainly looks the part, but how does it sound? Read our Mpow Armor Plus review to find out!

I want to say thanks to Mpow for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at Amazon

What’s In The Box?

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Mpow have included an good set of inclusions in the box:

  • 1x Mpow Armor Plus Bluetooth speaker
  • 1x micro USB charging cable
  • 1x 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable
  • 1x Carry Bag
  • 1x English Instruction Manual

There’s no power adapter in the box, but the Mpow Armor Plus charges via micro USB so pretty much any USB charger should do the job.

Mpow Armor Plus Review: Design

Taking the Mpow Armor Plus out of the box, you’re struck by just how militaristic this speaker is. The whole unit’s a stylish gun-metal grey, with strong geometric features. From its chunky style to dark colour scheme to geometric angles and exposed screws, this unit looks ready for battle. I love it.

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The whole body of the unit is covered in thick silicone to protect the unit, including the buttons. The buttons are embossed into the rubber, protecting the electronics from dust and water. There’s all the key buttons here, including power, skip tracks, volume controls and a button to answer phone calls.

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The unit is dominated by the massive metal speaker grills on the front and rear and surrounded by a chunky plastic frame. There’s a massive Mpow logo on the front of the unit. A rubber flap on the right side hides the unit’s micro USB and aux in ports.

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The unit’s heavy, weighing in at a hefty 1.3kg, though that’s not surprising given the large battery and rugged design. It’s not the most portable Bluetooth speaker but that’s not what it’s designed for. It’s designed to be placed somewhere and be ready to take a beating, like on in the outdoors or on a building site.

The unit feels well-made and, whilst I wasn’t willing to try to beat it to the edge of death, it had no issues surviving a few waist high drops with only minor scratches.

Mpow Armor Plus Review: Using It

The massive 5200mAh battery takes a good few hours to charge.

Holding down the power button for a few seconds boots the speaker into pairing mode. Simply pick the Mpow Armor Plus from your smartphones Bluetooth menu and you’re ready  to go. The speaker will reconnect automatically to the last paired device quickly.

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Speaking of pairing, there’s handy spoken cues for turning on the unit and pairing. However, the “Power On” cue always starts a fraction of a second into the sound clip. It doesn’t affect usage at all but it sounds odd and is a disappointing oversight.

Music playback can be controlled via your smartphone or the onboard controls, allowing you to pause or skip tracks easily.

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Audio volume on the speaker is separate from that on the phone so by maxing out the phone and speaker volume, you can achieve some serious volume thanks to the unit’s dual 8W drivers.

Behind the thick rubber flap is the 5V 2.1A USB port that can be used for charging your gadgets. Whilst I replace a dedicated power bank with the Mpow Armor Plus, the feature is definitely handy if you’re away from a power outlet – like out camping.

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The Mpow Armor Plus is water resistant but not waterproof. It’ll handle splashes fine but don’t submerge it unless you want a dead speaker.

Battery life was good. I was easily able to get around a week of regular use so Mpow’s 22 hour estimate seems about right.

Mpow Armor Plus Review: Sound Quality

Sound quality is a mixed bag. When I initially tested out the speaker, I thought it sounded pretty average.  However, later found out there’s actually two audio modes, indoor and outdoor, that sound drastically different.

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The speakers outdoor mode (seemingly the default mode out of the box) prioritises bass over everything else. Music sounds muddy, with subtle elements drowned out by the units surprisingly powerful lows.

This seems to cause an odd fluctuating volume effect, with treble -centric passages appearing louder than those demanding more bass.

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Thankfully, pressing the phone button toggles  the unit into indoor mode. There’s no way to tell which mode you’ve changed to, as a genetic thunk only alerts you that you’ve changed modes.

Indoor mode causes music to sound far more balanced, with treble getting a welcomed boost. The weird volume fluctuations also disappeared too.

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Thankfully, there appears to be a memory mode so it’ll stay in the same audio mode when you turn on the speaker next time.

In terms of volume, the Mpow Armor Plus it’s capable of some serious volume, easily filling a medium to large room with music.

I didn’t notice any clipping or distortion during testing, even at maximum volume which is a massive plus.

Mpow Armor Plus Review: Microphone Quality

I wouldn’t recommend using the Mpow Armor Plus as a handsfree device, despite it’s built in microphone. Audio quality is fine for recieving a call, with the audio being loud and clear enough.

However, trying to speak to the person on the other end is terrible. The microphone is simply not sensitive enough so the person on the end can’t hear you at all.

Should You Get One?

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The Mpow Armor Plus has me conflicted. From an purely audiophile perspective, it’s pretty average – not amazing but not terrible. However, the Mpow Armor Plus is a decent speaker that definitely handles the “Armor” part of its namesake well.

If you’re wanting a speaker that you can throw around and can pump out plenty of volume and bass, the Mpow Armor Plus is a respectable option. Those looking for a solution for listening to music around the house should consider other alternatives.

Getting One

The Mpow Armor Plus is available from Amazon.

Check Price at Amazon

Alternatively, it’s also available directly from Mpow.