In a break from my usual audio reviews, I am not going to be testing the sound of the EDIFIER MP280 BLUETOOTH SPEAKER in the same way that I usually do. When I test audio hardware I throw a certain set of tracks at it and then base my opinions on how well those tracks are reproduced. This would be an entirely pointless affair because the Edifier MP280 is a portable speaker akin to the Denon Envaya Mini which happens to be the only other speaker in this class that I can compare it to.
What I will do is break my review down and cover areas that are important for this type of system.
The Edifier MP280 is cylindrical and comes in three colours, Red, Blue and Black, however, everything but the black is a little too gaudy for my tastes, despite this, even in the Baby Blue and Guard Red, it is still one of the better-looking travel speakers. The cylindrical shape is key to 360° sound which also means that no matter which way it hangs from its carabiner-like clasp you will get the good sound output and see its best-looking side. On the side of the unit are three buttons which control volume up, down, skip tracks and pause. Above this there are three indicator lights, they let you know at a glance the power level and below the buttons, there is a small indicator which shows the connection type, green is a line in, blue is Bluetooth and red is for microSD card. On the top of the unit, there are two similar enough to get confused when darker buttons, one for power and the other for input selection. This, in my opinion, is a big error. Because of the circular shape and the fact that these buttons look so similar my wife had trouble remembering which was which. I tried to explain that the middle button was for power and the edge for selection but it highlights that those less tech-savvy may find this to be an issue. A quick note here, my wife is smart, she is just not tech smart. On the base of the unit, you will find the shielded inputs for Power, line in and a microSD card slot. The chassis is metal with silicon on usable parts which does mean there are no dirty fingerprints and the metal does give the product a premium feel.
The dimensions are 60 x 190 x 60 mm and it feels solid despite the meagre 422g weight. In fact, in this diminutive case is an Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker contains 2 x 4-watt speakers and the reflective cone structure, professional-grade audio DSP chips, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity means this is a really great speaker for travel. Those audio DSP chips or Digital Signal Processors are not just some gimmicks that don’t add up to any real difference. They take the digitised audio which is now compressed to just a list of 1s and 0s, outputs it to memory and then performs mathematical functions like add, subtract, divide and multiply very quickly so that when it outputs to the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) you get the sound that was actually recorded, not just a computers’ take on it.
Connectivity options mean that no matter where your digital music is you will be able to make use of this speaker. There is, of course, Bluetooth 4.0 so you will have about 10 meters of range from your device to the speaker. There is a line in for a physically connecting to a device from the stone age which has no Bluetooth and you have the microSD slot and your music can be in MP3, WAV and WMV file formats. One note here, I used the speaker by the pool, I had and still have no idea about the waterproofing of the unit. I cannot find a lot of information about it so it would be something to check into if you wish to do the same. I simply hung the unit from the top of the parasol, connected via Bluetooth and had no issues.
The lithium battery claims 10 hours of continuous use but we found that full volume playback over about 2 days use was enough to see the battery need a top up, this totalled around 8 hours of use swapping between the microSD and Bluetooth connections. It does take a couple of hours to do so by the way so might be worth popping it on charge the night before a big day out. Something that I was quite surprised by and thought was a fantastic feature was that you could use the speaker as an emergency charging station for your phone. This was a real boon when we realised one day that our phone was about to run out of battery but that we hadn’t brought any other way of listening to music. It meant we could charge the phone, listen to music and the battery still lasted us through the day. Sound:
Outside of the house, the sound was fabulous. Good volume, clear and clean mid tones and a surprising amount of bass for such a little speaker. I think the vocals could have been a little clearer but the group we were with had no such complaints. I can only compare the sound to the similarly priced Denon Envaya Mini and if I had to put these two in a ring the Edifier MP280 would come out on top every time. Without my usual tests, all I can say is that there is a far richer, warmer tone coming from the Edifier MP280 than a lot of other speakers, travel or not, that I have listened to in my years. For home use, like now when I am writing I cannot fault the speaker. The sound is great, at low volumes, it’s still a very rich and complete sound meaning that you could use the speaker when at a desk. A handy feature is an inbuilt mic. Now I have reviewed the Edifier Bric Connect and this has a similar feature, however, no one asked me to be taken off of speaker using the MP280. Call quality was clear and there was no feedback to the caller. I was told I was coming through loud and clear despite me being a good few feet from the speaker itself.
I am impressed with this speaker. It’s not cheap compared to some travel speaker standards but it excels in nearly every area. I have a £25 speaker that I was bought from Amazon as a gift. Its ok, it’s about as good as I thought a travel speaker needed to be and made me think the Denon Envaya Mini was incredible, but now, after using the MP280 with its surprisingly rich and warm tone I think that Edifier have done it again with this product and made something that is far more than the sum of its parts.