Nobody Told The Satechi Swift That $30 Speakers Are Supposed To Sound Bad [Review]


Barely bigger than a coffee cup.
Barely bigger than a coffee cup.

Admit it. You took one look at the tiny Satechi Bluetooth speaker up there in the photo and thought “This is going to be a piece of junk.” It probably won’t help your hastily formed opinion if I tell you that it costs just $30.

Don’t worry. I thought the same. I only had the PR people send me one so I could tease, and write a mean but hilarious review about this obviously crappy little speaker. It turns out that I was dead wrong.

The Satechi Swift, to give it its full name, is a little palm-sized speaker which – according to my kitchen scale – weighs 124 grams, or just shy of 4.5 ounces. It connects via Bluetooth in the usual manner, charges its built-in battery via microUSB and has just two controls: a sliding power switch and a mic button to answer calls.

Dense and rich, like an espresso.

The Good

For a $30, pocket-sized speaker, it sounds amazing. It’s nowhere near Braven or Jambox territory, but it then it doesn’t cost $200. If you were to have me listen to the speaker before I saw it or knew its price, I’d say at least $60, maybe closer to $100.

The speaker actually has some bass, mostly thanks to the weight, and because it fires upwards, there is always something behind the speaker to help with a little boost. Indeed, pick the speaker up and it sounds a lot thinner. This is a device to be set down and left there.

It also manages decent separation of sounds. It’s mono, but even so the voices, music and bass don’t get mashed together. Fire up some Sly and Robbie and you’ll mistake this for something a lot pricier.

The Bad

Despite the sound, the speaker looks cheap. The slider switch feels like it came from the same factory as everything in the dime store, and the styling doesn’t help.

The lack of controls is a little annoying, too, until you remember that you paid just $30 for the thing. Still, volume switches would be nice, and I’d prefer the mic button to toggle play/pause instead of answering calls. Then again, I never answer calls.

The USB port is also a pain. Whereas every other USB gadget I have uses the slim microUSB plug, this speaker uses the slightly fatter version. I have adapters for it, but still.

Insert coffee-themed caption here: […]

The Verdict

If you are thinking of buying a cheap speaker for your iPhone or iPad (or anything else that uses Bluetooth), then you should have the Swift on your list. It’s worth $30 just for the six-hour li-ion battery, but if you compare it to the other $30 speakers down at your local crapware emporium, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Plus, at $30, it’s hard to go wrong. If you don’t like it, give it to someone as a gift.

Source: Satechi Swift

[xrr rating=80%]