Samsung DA-F60 Portable 20W Bluetooth Speaker Review @ ModSynergy.com
Over the past couple of reviews here at ModSynergy, you may have noticed that we have been focusing more on portable Bluetooth speaker solutions, and for good reason; they are popular and quickly becoming increasingly present in the marketplace. These Bluetooth speaker solutions have been popping up all over and being offered in many different sizes, shapes, colors, quality, and with many different features and technologies embedded inside. Part of the reason why these Bluetooth speaker solutions have been increasingly popular is because they offer wireless audio along with the portability for the everyday folk who like to get up and go to the park, beach, and have some fun listening to music; something that is prevalent in our daily lives.
The main reason for this growth in portable Bluetooth speaker solutions have been because of the high demand of Bluetooth enabled devices such as the Smartphone, Apple iPad, iPod, and the like. The cell phone industry is a hot commodity, more so than ever with the booming popularity of Smartphone's in everyone's hand it seems. The continued rise is expected to grow even further within the next couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. Even the Chinese are helping the cause by bringing low cost Android Smartphone's that have surprisingly respectable and growing performance to the masses.
Most if not all cell phones on the market today come with Bluetooth technology, even the cheap ones have it. It's a wireless technology and feature we all love because it allows the convenience of hands-free calls for example, which has been an ongoing problem with distracted driving. Bluetooth can and is also used for transmission and streaming of music wirelessly to a Bluetooth speaker, and everyone with a cell phone has come across the infamous issue with their phone speaker not giving them any depth and enjoyment.
This is where Bluetooth accessory makers are clamoring for your hard earned money. The iPhone and iPod were the first ones to really push the idea of a speaker dock with great success. With these speaker docks you could finally enjoy music coming from the iPod because it's being outputted through a larger speaker designed for music. The drawbacks to these speaker docks are that they are simply stationary and not portable, they become impractical for on-the-go use. Bluetooth speaker solutions aim at solving that issue.
Samsung, a worldwide powerhouse producing a wide array of products, contacted us to review their newest and first portable wireless speaker, the Bluetooth enabled DA-F60 with NFC (Near field communication) and 20 watts of power pumping through in what basically is the size of a 3.5" hard drive enclosure. Read on to know more of the Samsung DA-F60 portable 20W Bluetooth speaker, its unique features, its cost, how well it sounds, and whether or not this might be worth checking out.
About Samsung - "Inspire the World, Create the Future."
From its inception as a small export business in Taegu, Korea, Samsung has grown to become one of the world's leading electronics companies, specializing in digital appliances and media, semiconductors, memory, and system integration. Today Samsung's innovative and top quality products and processes are world recognized.
For over 70 years, Samsung has been dedicated to making a better world through diverse businesses that today span advanced technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels, and more. Our flagship company, Samsung Electronics, leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media.
Through innovative, reliable products and services; talented people; a responsible approach to business and global citizenship; and collaboration with our partners and customers, Samsung is taking the world in imaginative new directions.
Samsung DA-F60 Product Overview
Whether you're having a picnic with your family or camping with your friends, music always adds to the enjoyment. With the portable design of these Samsung Bluetooth ® wireless technology enabled speakers, you can bring the power of an entire stereo system wherever you go. Weighing only three pounds, it's light enough to go anywhere. And with an 8-hour battery life, you and everyone around you can enjoy incredible wireless sound without having to worry about running out of power.
Entertain yourself in style and take home entertainment to the next level. Using the most powerful magnets possible, the DA-F60 features neodymium speakers in order to produce pure, crisp and clear sound in a compact solid-metal design. SoundShare enhances the sound of your favourite TV shows and movies with greater clarity without making it louder. NFC activates the speaker in one simple touch. Superior sound quality, one-touch connectivity, sleek metal design and SoundShare are just a few qualities that make this speaker a great addition to any room.
Samsung DA-F60 Product Features
Experience powerful sound anywhere: Listen and discover newfound clarity and depth in your favourite music. Each Neodymium Speaker is specially crafted to be very compact, yet extremely powerful to produce warm and detailed sound. Even in the tightest of spaces, the Passive Bass Radiator enhances bass levels to transform the sound layout of your living room so you’re delighted by your favourite movies and songs. Change the way you think of compact sound systems and experience pure sound quality at your disposal
Looks as good as it sounds: Samsung Bluetooth® wireless technology enabled speaker systems are stylish accessories. The gunmetal design gives these speakers a sleek look that you can take anywhere, and the two fold-over covers ensure that they stay protected. The portable size and weight also allow you to take your Bluetooth® wireless technology enabled speakers anywhere you go.
Easy connectivity is just a tap away: Pairing your Samsung Smartphone with the new Samsung Bluetooth® wireless technology enabled speakers is as easy as tapping your phone. By using NFC (Near Field Communication) the Bluetooth® speaker system is able to read the playlists on your phone by simply touching the two devices together. NFC makes sharing your music easier than ever before.
Sleek, sophisticated and portable: Sleekly refined and constructed of metal, the DA-F60 is designed to suit the layout of any room. The compact metal body comes in a clean and sophisticated white silver colour that seamlessly enhances the décor and functionality to any room that it's in. It also comes with a fabric case which makes it easy to take good care of it when carrying it on the go.
The easy way to listen to music: The enhanced auditory UI and LED indicators eliminate the need for physical buttons and add more function and style to your portable sound system. The conveniently placed LED indicators allow easy access and visualization of the speaker's operating status, while the Auditory UI helps you fine-tune settings. Now, listen to music with perfect sound from the perfect speaker system.
Enjoy fast and high-quality music: Play and listen to whatever you like with the perfect bass level for you. Easily control the bass sound with the one button on the Portable Speaker. Once the bass level is adjusted to your liking, the passive bass radiator will ensure that anything you listen to will be rich with sound. It also features a LED light that clearly displays the status of the bass setting tailoring the sound experience to you.
Studio quality audio, anywhere, without wires thanks to apt-X codec technology: The DA-F60 portable wireless speaker connects wirelessly to almost any Smart Phone (Bluetooth required) to allow you to listen to your favourite tunes in outstanding quality, wherever you are. apt-X technology means there’s no loss of quality when streaming from your phone to the speaker - a technology that’s derived from and been proven in broadcast studios around the world.
Controlled bass effect to your liking: Play and listen to whatever you like with the perfect bass level for you. Easily control the bass sound with the one button on the Wireless Audio - Portable. Once the bass level is adjusted to your liking, the passive bass radiator will ensure that anything you listen to will be rich with sound. It also features a LED light that clearly displays the status of the bass setting tailoring the sound experience to you.
Samsung DA-F60 Product Specifications
ModSynergy has been reviewing Samsung products for about as long as we've been online, with my first ever Samsung product review back in 2004, if I recall correctly. I look back and realize now that I have never reviewed an audio product from Samsung before in nearly 10-years! It's incredibly to believe that I've simply never reviewed an audio product from Samsung...I don't know how that was even possible. But today in 2013 will mark the first time ever I will be reviewing a Samsung audio product in the DA-F60 portable 20W Bluetooth speaker!
The Samsung DA-F60 portable 20W Bluetooth speaker comes in a large rectangular corrugated box with an outer paper cover design. The design looks very expensive and modern looking, showing off its sleek design in the front of the box in a black background. Flipping over to the back of the box reveals another image of the portable Bluetooth speaker and some of its features such as the included woven textile cover, premium metal grill, and Hi-Fi volume dial, along with features of SoundShare technology, Bluetooth 3.0, Smartphone charging, controlled bass sound, support for aptX audio decoding codec for better sound quality, and NFC technology which makes pairing and playlist sharing as simple as touching the a NFC enabled Smartphone to the side of the DA-F60 Bluetooth speaker where the NFC tag is placed. This feature rich Bluetooth speaker comes at a premium list price of $299.99 CAD or $279.99 USD through Amazon.com.
Slip off the paper cover to reveal the contents of the DA-F60's bundle which includes the following items...
The woven textile cover that is included with the Samsung DA-F60 is of fantastic quality, you can really appreciate the intricate design which helps protect the metal grille when the DA-F60 is at the beach or near sources of water. It magnetically locks in place with magnets that are on the edges of the cover. The woven textile cover does block some amount of sound that is coming forth from the DA-F60's speakers, so keep that in mind, it muffles the sound a bit, a compromise to be made with protection in mind.
The first time I lay eyes on the DA-F60, it immediately reminded me of a 3.5" hard disk drive enclosure. It's an interesting design choice to say the least, and Samsung has really made it work visually as it looks bloody amazing. It really looks like a premium product with it's beautiful metal grille, brushed aluminum silver side accents, even the brushed Hi-Fi volume dial is a throwback to audio gear of the past, nostalgia in other words. The volume dial is unique because it sits flush with the enclosure when not in use, but when pressed inwards, pops outward in order for you to utilize.
On my digital scale the DA-F60 weighs 2.277lbs or 1033g or 36.43oz.
The Samsung DA-F60 is at this point, the best looking Bluetooth portable speaker I've ever seen.
Coming to the back of the DA-F60 we find that it stands upright the same way as a picture frame does. The rear of the speaker has black aluminum looking accents, though this piece is plastic. The stand folds outward at an angle and contains sticky rubber feet at the bottom to prevent it from sliding and also has ability at preventing unwanted vibrations.
At the back we see a few ports that include the DC 14V 2.5A power charge jack, AUX IN, and USB port that offers a standard 5V 500mA charge rate. The manual makes it clear to the user that charging a Smartphone will drain the DA-F60's Lithium-ion battery quicker, and that if a quicker charge is required for your Smartphone, then to use the Smartphone's provided wall charger. This USB port is labeled SERVICE and can be used for future firmware updates to the Samsung DA-F60.
Feature wise the DA-F60 has them in spades. One of the features that sets it apart from others is obviously its NFC capabilities, where people with NFC capable Smartphone's will simply tap their phone on the left side of the Bluetooth speaker labeled "N" to pair automatically.
The second great feature not present on most other Bluetooth speakers on the market is the USB port at the back where you can recharge your Smartphone or USB enabled device, this is very convenient to have.
The third is the inclusion of support for the aptX decoding codec technology which makes the DA-F60 capable of playing music at high-bitrate, or at the highest quality possible, making the sound clearer and as close to wired audio quality wirelessly than other Bluetooth speaker solutions without this codec technology. But that's the theory behind it. We'll see if that translates into real world difference. It's supposed to offer superior dynamic range and better audio streaming over Bluetooth, but this codec alone does not mean audio will sound better, it's just a piece of the puzzle.
The forth feature the DA-F60 supports is Samsung SoundShare, which allows you listen to your TV shows and movies with the Bluetooth speaker. But you will require a Samsung HDTV that supports this feature as it will synchronize with the DA-F60 through its auto-pairing function and Bluetooth connectivity.
What is inside?
Spec wise, the Samsung DA-F60 is a little bit of a mystery to me in terms of what it is comprised of. The specifications on Samsung's website does not reveal and make clear to the types of components inside such as the size of the woofer/speaker or tweeter. All it mentions is that the DA-F60 contains speakers that use powerful neodymium magnets to give high fidelity sound and contains a passive radiator to help with low-frequency bass response. This sounds like marketing speak to me to be honest.
From what I can see in person, under certain lighting conditions, one is able to notice three outlines of square boxes lined up horizontally, the middle being the largest. If I had to guess, I would say the small squares are the high-frequency driver or tweeter, and the middle square being the low-frequency driver or woofer. But this is all me guessing, I really would have liked Samsung to have given clearer information about this.
Samsung does provide information on the capacity of the built-in Lithium-ion battery. They say the DA-F60 has a 2200mA capacity Lithium-ion battery and that it can last up to 8-hours. Though there's some confusion as the product features portion of the website mention 8-hours, but the technical specifications mention 12-hours of continuous play, so which is it? From flat battery to full charge should take about 3-hours.
Streaming Music Through Bluetooth...Some Background Info
First of all let me start off by saying that streaming music wirelessly through Bluetooth is very convenient. However, music that is streamed wirelessly always ends up compressed to a certain extent. This is more true if you have a FLAC music collection on your device, it's almost pointless in a sense as to expect the true FLAC bit-rate to be broadcasted in its entirety...it's not happening. Therefore as to talk about sound quality through Bluetooth, that's a hard thing to point into words because at the end of the day sound will be degraded to an extent over Bluetooth. I'm not sure how hardcore Audiophiles can cope with this as they are meticulously obsessed with sound quality!
This is almost (but not quite) the same thing if you've ever used an FM transmitter, where signals can leak from one frequency to the next affecting the sound quality. However, the biggest difference is that Bluetooth is digital while FM is analog, Bluetooth by nature of being digital can transmit more data. Unlike leaking frequencies in FM transmissions affecting sound quality, none of that happens (very rare) with Bluetooth because of something called SSFH or Spread-Spectrum Frequency Hopping. SSFH makes it very rare for any two Bluetooth devices to be transmitting on the same frequency channel at the same time and they are ever changing.
Don't get me wrong, music can sound excellent via Bluetooth, it's significantly and vastly improved over an FM transmitter solution in every regard. Though all I'm saying is that it depends on so many variables, for example your Bluetooth device. Cheap Smartphone's broadcasting music over Bluetooth versus good Smartphone's make a difference to the sound quality, loudness and clarity, believe it or not. I've personally experienced this using a cheap Chinese Smartphone versus a decent Samsung Galaxy Smartphone, there was a clear and noticeable difference and it was not placebo effect.
But this is where the Samsung DA-F60 shines with its built in aptX decoding codec technology, its purpose is to allow the DA-F60 portable Bluetooth speaker to play and be able to stream higher-bitrate audio files to the speaker, so in theory you should hear CD audio quality.
How to pair Smartphone with Samsung DA-F60
Pairing to the Samsung DA-F60 with your Smartphone is very simple. With my Android Smartphone I was able to pair with my Samsung Galaxy under 15 seconds, obviously your results will vary depending on the device used.
With Bluetooth already enabled on your device, turn on the Samsung DA-F60 and wait until it gives an audible tone notifying you Bluetooth and the unit is turned on. Now you simply search for BT devices on your Smartphone, the DA-F60 being found as [Samsung] W_Audio. Press OK and the unit is now paired and the process is complete. In the event that you are asked for a PIN, it is simply 0000.
You only need to pair the first time and after that the Bluetooth speaker will automatically connect each time your Smartphone's Bluetooth is enabled.
Using the Samsung DA-F60
When the Samsung DA-F60 is turned on for the first time, an introductory tone is heard to let you know the unit is turned on and that BT is activated and actively searching for nearby devices.
On the right vertical strip beside the metal grille there is a see through user interface in the form of symbols with LED backlight. There is a battery indicator (red, yellow, or green depending on state of battery) and depending on which functions and features are enabled, indicators for Bluetooth mode, AUX IN, SoundShare, Mute, and Power Bass.
How does it sound?
To be honest I wasn't sure how the Samsung DA-F60 was going to sound as I've had zero experiences with audio products from Samsung. It looks fantastic visually, but I was not convinced how dynamic sound would fair coming out of something that looks essentially of a 3.5" hard drive enclosure. Though I have to say I was surprised!
The sound coming out of the Samsung DA-F60 though not perfect, has very good vibrancy to its sound signature making it feel rich and vibrant, it's quite pleasing and enjoyable listening to. It has a crispness to a part of its sound that you have to appreciate. Compared to the $69.99 Genius SP-960BT portable Bluetooth speaker, the Samsung DA-F60 is obviously a great deal superior, but that should expected as it comes in at more than 4-times the cost of the Genius!
The Samsung DA-F60 excels in vocal clarity making it very revealing to the ears. The high-frequency range on the Samsung DA-F60 is very good allowing you to hear subtle details and nuances other speakers often leave muddled and unclear. Though on the flipside, the high-range on Samsung DA-F60 at times when listening to powerful singers such as Celine Dion, almost teeters on the edge of piercing or discomforting, but the Samsung manages to keep that fine line from happening.
The Samsung DA-F60 also does quite well with bass, or the low-end of the frequency range. The amount of bass coming out of the Samsung DA-F60 is quite surprising considering the size of the speaker unit. With the Power Bass function off by default, the bass is tight, quick, and noticed. I would classify it as above average, easily the best bass I've reviewed in a Bluetooth speaker at this point in time. This is only my third Bluetooth speaker review, so I've yet to encounter bass as good as the Samsung DA-F60.
The sound at this point is well balanced, though not perfect, as the high-frequency is more prominent than the rest. When the Power Bass function is turned on though, the DA-F60 transforms and the bass becomes even more and verges on impactful. You can hear it punching and thumping its vibration on the table the speaker sits on, a good thing that the DA-F60 has rubber on its bottom side to prevent unwanted vibrations. The change and effect is not placebo effect, the change is actual real and convincing. Even as I was surprised about the general level of bass the DA-F60 offers, I can say that the DA-F60's bass does not reach down low as it could have. Some songs that contain even lower-frequency bass effects, you can hardly hear it on the DA-F60.
Bass Rating (From 0-10, 10 being the best): 5.5/10
I have to mention the drawbacks though with the Power Bass function. I feel that when Power Bass is turned on, the mid-range suffers a little and ends up feeling slightly more muddy, as if the details and finer details are being suppressed or drone over by the additional bass. The details are still somewhat there, but not as revealing as it is with the Power Bass function off. So there is some compromise.
As far as volume goes, the Samsung DA-F60 with its two drivers and specification of 20 watts of power, can belt out loud and frankly no normal person is going to use all of this power as its simply too loud.
What I feel is missing from the Samsung DA-F60 is a manual setting dedicated for adjusting bass and treble, it would have been great if these features were added, but that was not the case. You'll just have to live with adjustments made to the sound in the software equalizer on your device.
About the only feature that could have set the Samsung DA-F60 over the top would have been an integrated microphone which would have allowed it to act as a speakerphone when picking up phone calls and being able to communicate with the person on the other line for a truly hands-free, no use for the Smartphone experience. However, that was also not the case.
Bluetooth Range - How Far Can It Go?
Samsung actually does not specify any ratings or expectations on wireless range of the Bluetooth enabled DA-F60. Though pretty much all Bluetooth speakers have a wireless range of 10 meters or 33 feet.
With my Samsung Galaxy Smartphone playing music in my room wirelessly to the Samsung DA-F60, (in the second floor of a 2-story home) I left the phone there, shut the door and headed down past the first floor and then head straight into the basement. The Samsung DA-F60 continued to play without any change to the volume, without any skipping, without any abnormalities. It was only until I opened the door to the cold room and stepped inside that the Samsung DA-F60 portable Bluetooth speaker began to skip or cut completely its music playback.
Mind you the basement cold room is surrounded by super thick concrete that is essentially the foundation to a home. I would estimate that from my room to the basement cold room was at least between 10-15 meters, which makes reception from the Samsung DA-F60 excellent. It can definitely meet anyone's wireless range requirements without much issue. Considering that the signal travelled through wood, metal, a variety of materials, that's super impressive. As always your mileage may vary depending on your Bluetooth device, I was using a Samsung Galaxy Discover Smartphone.
Where To Buy
The Samsung DA-F60 has an list price of $279.99USD. For the time being it is now on sale at Amazon.com for only $247.99 with free shipping! The product is sold by and shipped directly by Amazon so you can buy with confidence. I love Amazon and their service.
If you are thinking of purchasing the Samsung DA-F60 portable Bluetooth NFC speaker, please use our Amazon link, it will help us out greatly.
Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!
The Samsung DA-F60 is easily the best portable Bluetooth speaker I've heard thus far in my only third review of such a product. The amount of features and technologies it contains factors in to this decision as well, the DA-F60 is just feature-packed!
But the real question is if the Samsung DA-F60 is worth the hefty price tag of $299 CAD or $279 USD.
Considering the audio performance, aptX decoding codec support, NFC technology support for quick pairing and playlist sharing, SoundShare support, USB charging port for Smartphone's, AUX IN, and other features the DA-F60 offers, it's not hard to see why the price tag is high, the DA-F60 lots of premium features other Bluetooth speakers on the market simply do not have. But for others, the Samsung DA-F60 is simply overpriced, and I'm part of that thinking. I'd simply wait for the DA-F60 to go on sale between 25-50% off before making the purchase.