Cowon is a name that often comes up in a conversation revolving around media players or earphones. They’ve been one of the few companies that have managed to deliver value-for-money products back when the iPod was all the rage. But times are changing and Cowon seems to be doing what any sensible tech company should. Their first ever venture into the world of Bluetooth speakers is the SP2. This little portable speaker system packs in a good feature set that one expects these days. So, how does it stack up against the likes of JBL and Jabra?
Design and Features
The SP2 is a very sophisticated looking player and will go well with your urban décor at home. The white capsule-like wrapping around the speaker grille looks very classy. It's compact and light weight so you can easily carry it around even in your handbag.
There’s a circular, rubberised dial on the top which houses the volume and playback controls. We have two 2W speakers firing in the front which gives us a total RMS output of 4W. The speaker stands on four rubber feet which offers good grip for most surfaces.
Around the back, we have the On/Off switch, microUSB port and auxiliary connector. There’s a blue LED hidden in the speaker grille that pulsates when streaming music. It can also alternate between blue and red when in pairing mode.
The Cowon SP2 supports a frequency range of 40Hz to 20,000Hz. You also get Bluetooth v4.0, thereby giving you an operating distance of 10 meters. There’s even NFC present for quick pairing with your phone or tablet and the speaker also supports aptX audio codec compression algorithm. The Sp2 also houses a built-in microphone so it can be used as a hands free speaker.
Overall, the SP2 is very well built and is one of the best looking portable Bluetooth speakers around.
The Cowon SP2 handles most music genres with ease. The volume level is not as loud as some of the other players we’ve tested in this price segment but for personal listening, it’s more than adequate. The two 2W speakers do a good job of accurately reproducing higher frequency ranges but falter a bit when it comes to the lower ones. Since there’s no bass port, the speaker cannot differentiate or produce deep bass notes very well. This leaves audible gaps in music with varying bass notes.
Music tends to sound a bit shrill at volume levels over 75 percent. This was only noticeable for certain genres. Another issue we came across was that the player tends to vibrate a lot at high volume levels. Since the SP2 is very light, it tends to move about on the table, which in turn ruins the music quality. Once this happens, lower frequency sounds get muddy and quality goes for a toss.
NFC pairing works well and so does the speaker phone feature. The SP2 has a rated battery life of about 10-hours. While testing, we had the volume up to around 75 percent at all times which resulted in a battery life of around 8-hours.
Verdict and Price in India
For a first attempt, we say Cowon has done a pretty good job with the design and features aspect of the speaker. The audio quality is also good for a Bluetooth speaker but take the volume above 80 percent and the audio quality gets questionable. The SP2 isn’t going to be able to get a party started as it's primarily designed for personal listening and for that, it does a good job. With an online price of Rs 4,999, the Cowon SP2 is a good buy considering its features, design and build quality. Just don’t go blasting your music and you should be fine. If you're looking for a little more oomph though for around the same price, then we recommenced the Jabra Solemate mini.
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