LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber Bluetooth NFC Speaker Review @ ModSynergy.com
The last quarter of 2013 we had been focusing more on portable Bluetooth speaker systems, and for good reason; they are becoming ever increasingly popular with people who are interested in having a no wires solution. It's also funny how these Bluetooth speakers still haven't penetrated the market fully as some regular people I've spoken to do not realize what Bluetooth is and what Bluetooth speakers can do for them.
Bluetooth speakers are great gifts to give away, on birthdays, holidays such as Christmas. They come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, quality, price points, and with many different features and technologies embedded inside.
Part of the reason why these Bluetooth speaker solutions have been popular is because they offer wireless audio capability along with the practicality of portability allowing the ease of pick up and go. These portable Bluetooth speakers can be taken with you to the park, beach, or office, all without wires. Add into the mix that some Bluetooth speakers have integrated microphone capabilities, it offers that hands-free experience that is very attractive.
One main reason for this enormous growth in Bluetooth speaker solutions have been because of the high demand of Bluetooth enabled devices such as the Smartphone, Apple iPad, iPod, and more. The cell phone industry is a hot commodity, more so than ever with the booming popularity of Smartphone's in everyone's hand. The continued rise is expected to grow even further within the next couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. The general public have no clue that their devices, Smartphone's for example, even have Bluetooth.
Just about all cell phones on the market today come with Bluetooth technology, even the cheapies 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, in the car, in the home, in the office, even in the showers, and this is becoming an ever increasing trend as you see all sorts of wireless Bluetooth enabled headphones on the market.
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, and they required your iPod or iPhone to be plugged into the dock, basically preventing you from freely using your device to do other stuff at the same time as playing music from your device. In this regard, we now have Bluetooth solutions that aim at solving this issue.
LOGiiX is one of those newer mobile accessories makers based out of lovely Canada, that is on the hunt for your hard earned money. According to their website, LOGiiX makes well-crafted, carefully designed mobile accessories that are meant to perform, attract and impress.
The other day I looked at the super impressive little brother Blue Piston. Today I am given the opportunity to share with you about the bigger brother, the Blue Piston Chamber.
"In a sea of computer and consumer electronic products, it’s tricky to find a line that guarantees quality and satisfaction without an excessive price tag.
LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber Product Overview
"Experience clear sound and super bass with the Logiix Blue Piston Chamber Wireless Bluetooth Stereo. This portable stereo has a glossy, durable shell and custom HD stereo drivers for clearer and acoustic sound. Not only can you listen to your favorite music with the help of NFC (near field communication) function, but you can also answer calls and make voice commons hands free! (*device must support voice commands). Choose your Chamber out of the three vibrant colors."
LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber Product Features
LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber Product Specifications
The LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber Bluetooth speaker comes encased in a two stage package consisting of an cardboard paper outer shell and inner plastic shell container. It's a good choice because it allows all of the relevant information of the speaker to be displayed clearly to the customer along with a fancy design. Slip off the outer core and the inner plastic shell presents the Blue Piston Chamber in all of its turquoise beauty. A plastic tab is present so that the Blue Piston Chamber Bluetooth speaker can be easily hung on store shelves.
This turquoise color is nice visually, though a bit more subdued than smaller brother Blue Piston which has a brushed aluminum shell that enhances the overall color scheme. This bigger brother, the Blue Piston Chamber, the shell is not aluminum, therefore the color effect is just matte. The Blue Piston Chamber logo is embossed on the metal speaker grille.
The Blue Piston Chamber comes in three colors; turquoise, black, and red.
Let's quickly go over the packaging. The LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber is the bigger brother in the LOGiiX lineup. It's a wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker that has integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) function. NFC allows you to quickly pair the speaker to your Bluetooth enabled device by just touching the speaker, much faster than the traditional way.
The symbols at the bottom let the customer know that the Blue Piston Chamber supports Bluetooth, NCC, Hands Free operation, has custom HD stereo drivers, has an internal rechargeable battery, and that the speaker has top mounted touch sensitive panel controls.
Open the plastic shell to reveal the contents of the Blue Piston Chamber, the following items being inside...
The Blue Piston Chamber does not have a brushed aluminum shell such as its smaller brother, however, it's still really nice visually. It's a simple yet elegant rectangular design. The turquoise color is just really nice, it sets it apart from the other bland colors offered on competitor products, it gives it some substance and personality.
The box mentions that the Blue Piston Chamber has a soft rubber coated finish, however, not sure what they mean by that as the paint is smooth to the touch and matte to the finish. The construction of the body is mainly hard plastic aside from the metal grille the dominates the front and sides of the speaker.
The front of the speaker contains the Blue Piston Chamber logo symbol embossed into the metal speaker grille. This protective grille consumes almost half of the whole design front spanning the sides of the speaker. The grille cannot be removed in case you were wondering. The Blue Piston Chamber contains two custom HD drivers (aka speakers).
On my digital scale the Blue Piston Chamber weighs only 324 grams or 0.713 lbs, making it relatively lightweight and easy to carry with you on the go.
Unfortunately there were issues to the body of the Blue Piston Chamber sample I received that makes me question the type of quality control in place.
This unit has multiple paint defects around the speaker. The metal grille has spots where the paint either has not adhered to properly or has chipped off for some reason. At the very top of the speaker grill where it bends, just below the plastic top piece, that portion of the paint has come off exposing bare metal. Also at the bottom center to the right, there's a spot where the paint has chipped off exposing metal and clearly visible. Another paint defect is found on the plastic body, the corners as you see in the gallery, the paint has not adhered to properly and or rubbed off exposing the white plastic body. I spotted about five defects and I wasn't even looking hard enough. To me this is just plain unacceptable, how can these things pass quality control inspection? If it's like this now, how will it hold up down the road?
The top of the Blue Piston Chamber contains five touch sensitive strip panel controls that allow the user to increase or decrease the volume, answer phone calls, play/pause, fast forward or reverse (track selection) using A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) support through Bluetooth. These touch buttons are backlit with blue and red LEDs. The symbol with the phone is the play/pause and call function button. It adds to the flair of the speaker.
Coming to the back of the Blue Piston Chamber we find a basic ON/OFF slider power switch, a Mini USB port used for charging the unit, and 3.5mm AUX-IN jack. I would have much preferred the use of a microUSB port for the charge port, the same type that's on millions of Smartphone's on the market today, so that you can use your Smartphone's charger to recharge the speaker.
The bottom of the Blue Piston Chamber contains two pre-mounted non-slip rubber pads that helps prevent the speaker from being a hockey puck and falling off tables, sliding around, vibrating against tables. It does a great job.
LOGiiX does provide some basic information on the performance of the built-in battery. It doesn't mention the capacity or chemistry of the battery, however, my best guess would be its most likely a small Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer battery.
LOGiiX states that you can get up to 8 hours of play time (music) and that the speaker will maintain its charge for up to 130 hours when turned off. Lastly it'll charge in less than 3 hours. I have gotten more than 10 hours of play time, but my testing was on and off for a couple of days, not 10 hours consecutively.
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.
Factors such as the quality of the Bluetooth speaker and its transmitter/receiver components, other Bluetooth devices transmitting nearby that may be interfering, distances between the two BT devices, signal-to-noise ratio, these all affect the sound quality.
How to pair Smartphone with LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber
Pairing to the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber with your Smartphone is very simple. With my Android Smartphone I was able to pair with my Bluetooth Smartphone in under 15 seconds, obviously your results will vary depending on the device used.
With Bluetooth already enabled on your device, turn on the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber and wait until the lady says Power On. The speaker automatically goes on pairing mode if it hasn't already connected to a Bluetooth device, the red and blue LEDs on the top touch sensitive panel will blink. Now you simply search for BT devices on your Smartphone, the Blue Piston Chamber being found as BP Chamber. Press OK and the unit will message off Pairing. When the process is complete, the lady will say Paring Complete. In the event that you are asked for a PIN, it is simply 0000. You only need to pair the first time. After that, the speaker will automatically connect each time your Smartphone's Bluetooth is enabled.
In the event that you need to manually enter Bluetooth pairing mode, simply hold the Call button for 5-10 seconds until you here an audible tone and the LED blinks between blue and red.
Using the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber
Simply switch the power ON/OFF switch to the ON position. When the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber is turned on, an introductory tone is heard, a lady saying "Power ON" to let you know the unit is turned on and that BT is activated and actively searching for nearby devices (when red and blue LED lights blinks). Once paired, the speaker sounds off another audible message (lady saying "Pairing Complete".
Or better yet use the built-in NFC capable to simply touch your phone on the speaker to automatically pair.
If you want to connect the Blue Piston Chamber to a non-Bluetooth enabled device, simply connect the included 3.5mm audio cable to the device and the other end to the Blue Piston Chamber's AUX-IN jack.
With A2DP support and the top touch sensitive panel buttons, you can increase or decrease the volume, answer phone calls, fast forward or reverse (track selection). Great convenient option.
How does it sound? Any Problems?
The Blue Piston Chamber is the big brother to the smaller single speaker Blue Piston that I recently reviewed, however, truth be told the smaller brother Blue Piston sounds better overall.
In general, yes the Blue Piston Chamber is much louder than any Smartphone or integrated laptop speaker out there, however, loudness is not the issue. The Blue Piston Chamber's sound quality is good, but not great. The speakers top end is too shrill, the highs are just too piercing at times that it just falls off the cliff that it becomes less enjoyable. There's little to no bass, the low end is a bit bleak, the small cylindrical Blue Piston even with a single speaker has more impactful bass than the Chamber.
Vocally the Blue Piston Chamber is good, a strong point in its arsenal. The rest leaves more to be desired, it just feels unbalanced. You have too much treble, a weak midrange and weak low end.
But there's a bigger problem with the Blue Piston Chamber I was testing. Right off the bat when you turn on the speaker, there's a bad high pitch whine when Bluetooth is active. Anytime Bluetooth is on, you can hear the high pitch whine noise at even when taking a few steps back, it's that noticeable. The noise is still very much noticeable under operation when the volume is even at moderate levels, its only either when you blast the volume up to overpower the whine that you can get rid of it. Also the noise goes away 5 seconds after you stop the music, and or when the unit's Bluetooth module sleeps.
Bluetooth devices in general have some variations of noise under operation. It's normal to hear a faint whine when you put your ear next to the Bluetooth device. However, the noise on this Blue Piston Chamber is just too much, it's unacceptable and abnormal.
The AUX-IN on the Blue Piston Chamber exhibits no noise.
Bass Rating (From 0-10, 10 being the best): 3/10
As far as volume goes, the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber plays much bigger than it looks. It can project its sound very loudly, enough for a small size room without fuss.
What I feel is missing from the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber 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.
Bluetooth Range - How Far Can It Go?
LOGiiX does not specify any ratings or expectations on wireless range of the Bluetooth enabled Blue Piston Chamber. Though pretty much all Bluetooth speakers have a wireless range of 10 meters or 33 feet. Again they don't really give any technical information on their website.
With my Smartphone playing music in my room wirelessly to the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber, (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 LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber continued to play without any change to the volume, however, there was some skipping at certain parts of the house, but generally it played without any major abnormalities only until it was when I opened the door to the cold room and stepped inside that the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber portable Bluetooth speaker completely stopped playing music.
Mind you the basement cold room is surrounded by super thick concrete that is essentially the foundation to a home. Cell phones don't work well in basements. I would estimate that from my room to the basement cold room was at least between 10-15 meters, which makes reception from the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber excellent.
It can definitely meet most people's wireless range requirements without much issue. Considering that the signal travelled through wood, metal, a variety of materials, that's impressive. As always your mileage may vary depending on your Bluetooth device.
Where To Buy
The LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber has an list price of $64.95USD. For the time being it is now on sale at Amazon.com ranging from only $17.19USD for the red color, $21.41USD for the turquoise, and 33.43 for the black color version. It is shipping and sold from Amazon directly, no third party vendor.
That red color version for only $17.19USD is quite the value saving 67% off regular price! Better act quick as only 7 are in stock, with more on the way. Just hope that you get a unit that is better than the one I reviewed, maybe I got a one off version, something that obviously fell through the quality control process. Maybe you'll get one with no issues, but if anything, Amazon is good on returns. Who knows, take a chance.
If you are thinking of purchasing the LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber, please use our Amazon link, it will help us out greatly.
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The LOGiiX Blue Piston Chamber misses the mark for me. The smaller brother, the Blue Piston is better than the bigger brother Blue Piston Chamber. The smaller brother impressed me more. This Blue Piston Chamber, the sound quality is good, definitely an upgrade over any Smartphone or integrated laptop speaker, however, the speaker feels too shrill on the highs and needs more low and midrange grunt.
The worst part about the whole thing is the amount of problems I encountered on the Blue Piston Chamber I reviewed. The multiple paint defects along with the abnormally loud Bluetooth whine were the nails in the coffin for me.