Festival season is nearly upon us. So are the school holidays which may involve camping or caravanning. Anyone with children in the house (to be fair, as well as most adults) will know that it doesn’t matter whether you are staying in a tent, a caravan or just sitting in the garden enjoying the evening with a glass or two, the one thing that has to go along with you is your electronic device – generally your phone! Well that’s not a problem, they are small and fit in your pocket so doesn’t really make any difference to your packing. But if you are stuck in the middle of a field how do you charge it?
I was sent an excellent device that solves this issue along with a few added extras – the Lava BrightSounds 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, LED Light and Power Bank. In the box is the Lava BrightSounds 2 Speaker/Lamp, an aux audio cable and a micro USB charging cable.
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.
I have had a few portable speakers in the past and this is up there with the biggest of them, but there is a very valid reason for this. Approx. ¾ of the speaking housing is made up of the LED light with top ¼ made up of the wraparound speaker mesh. 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.
It comes with a very soft leatherette handle that makes it very easy to carry around.
The operating controls can be found on the top of the unit and are very easy to use. There are four intuitive buttons which have different functions; 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 there are so many different varieties one is not supplied), then there is the aux port so that you can connect your phone or tablet via 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 (cable supplied, although personally I would like to see it a bit longer).
Charging is easy. To charge the speaker itself, you can either use the supplied micro USB cable and charge from your laptop or USB plug socket or if your phone has a micro USB charger you can use that. Just open the rubber seal on the back of the speaker and plug in. From empty, it will take around 4 hours to charge. To charge your phone or tablet, again just open the rubber seal and plug in your phone/tablet USB charging cable and that’s it (I charged my phone completely from it and still the battery on the speaker wasn’t depleted).
Connecting to the speaker is simple. As mentioned earlier, you have two options for this; Bluetooth or cable. Connecting by cable is just plugging the aux cable into your devices 3.5mm headphone socket (if your device supports one), but by far the easiest way is to connect by Bluetooth. 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.
Bearing in mind that this is an “entry level” speaker, 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 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 around a picnic table or in your tent or caravan – 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, has excellent build and design, is excellent quality although personally I think the cables could be a bit longer. The sound is distortion free and of a good quality and would be 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 – battery charger, light and Bluetooth speaker, what more could you want?
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 superior to that and the price tag of £40 is a bargain. Just don’t expect the sound from the speaker to power a disco, it is a 5w speaker that is good quality sound for personal use or family and a few friends to enjoy – not to hold your own party in a field!
So whether it’s camping, a festival or chilling in the garden this summer the Lava BrightSounds 2 is the must have accessory.