There is no doubt about it, the speakers that come on smartphones just don’t cut it. Then add on a case to further muffle the sound and listening to music, streaming video, or anything else for that matter becomes difficult. I have personally been looking for a good quality wireless portable speaker that not only functions well, but has great sound and a decent look about it. When I cam across the Sony Ericsson Wireless Portable Speaker MBS-200, I had high hopes this would be added to my Dell Streak accessories! So I got this from our friends at MobileFun.co.uk and thought I would give it the once over and share my thoughts on the MBS-200 Wireless Portable Speaker in another edition of Mobility Digest Reviews!
The Sony Ericsson MBS-200 Wireless Portable Speaker which is also compatible with most business phone systems, uses A2DP Bluetooth and works on a variety of different devices including the Dell Streak and the iPhone 4 which I will be using to test the MBS-200 with.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Portable Bluetooth™ Speaker MBS-200
Charger (I got the Euro Plug by accident but was lucky enough to have a spare SE Charger about)
The MBS-200 is a small round speaker that is only 4.1 inches in diameter. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is the size of an official softball. And you would have been pretty close because and official softball for ages 12 and over is 3.8 inches which would make the MBS-200 just lightly larger. The MBS-200 feels solid like a softball as well. This is not a cheap piece of plastic, but a very well made wireless portable speaker system.
In the front of the device there is the obvious black speaker grill with a nice black fabric covering. Just under that is the famous Sony Ericsson raised logo. Surrounding the speaker is a darker gray color bezel that has a hidden secret until powered on. There is an LED screen at the top of the bezel that flashes the power status, Bluetooth icon and status, music title, and volume position when there is a change being made. You will also notice a neat little animation that appears and flashes across the width of the LED for effect.
On the back side of the MBS-200 opposite the speaker is the manual volume up and down button. The bottom side of the device has been made flat to sit still on your desk or where ever your music listening fancy takes you. This is where the controls are located to:
Power on and off the device
Enable the Bluetooth function for pairing.
The Sony Ericsson proprietary plug end for charging the MBS-200.
3.5mm audio plug line in
3.5mm audio plug line out
The Sony Ericsson MBS-200 Wireless Portable Speaker is a very straight forward and easy to use device. The molded gray color make sit less noticeable and it does blend in well to it’ surroundings whether it be on your desk at work or at home.
If there was one complaint however, it would be with the Sony Ericsson proprietary charging plug needed to power this device. I have never been a big fan of these types of plugs and it always seemed that they would break or prematurely fail because of wear. I would have liked to see Sony Ericsson use a mini USB that is readily available and make things easy for the device owner instead of forcing them to carry a plug and car adapter if needed that are different from the majority of their devices. Rating = 8/10
WIRLESS AND PAIRING
I had no problem at all pairing the Sony Ericsson Wireless Portable Speaker to either my Dell Streak Android Device or my iPhone 4. Both paired very well and connected quickly when reestablishing the connection after powering the device off. all the user has to do is make sure that the smartphone or MP3 player with Bluetooth has it set to the on position prior to turning on the MBS-200. After turning on the MBS and a short wait, your phone or personal media player will spot the the MBS-200 and pair automatically. If you have an older device it may ask you to enter a security code and like most things, it is “0000”. Rating = 8/10
This was another area of the MBS-200 that I was very impresses with. The build quality was very good and I never had a sense that I ad to be careful because of cheap construction. The MBS-200 feels very solid and I especially liked the front bezel around the speaker screen. Both were very nice and made to last. I have no doubt that MBS-200 is a portable wireless speaker that you will be punish throwing in and out of your back pack and rest assured that it will always hang together. Rating = 9/10
HOW DOES IT SOUND?
The Sony Ericsson MBS-200 was both good and okay for me. The sound level that comes from this little sound sphere was surprisingly loud. Judging a book by it’s cover, my expectations where that the sound quality would be limited to just the immediate area, but that is not the case. The MBS-200 is quite loud actually, so much so that I could hear it throughout my house reasonably well. It was also very clear at louder ranges where other speakers in the category tend to get distorted. So that was the good, the okay for me was the bass and mid range. The sound quality is not where it needs to be and since there is no adjustments or equalizer settings, there is no tuning for better bass or mid range. For as good as my review of the MBS-200 started out with design, build quality, ease of use, and loudness, all those were quickly over shadowed by a very mediocre overall sound quality. Rating = 5/10
Sony Ericsson did a lot of things right with the MBS-200 that I have taken into consideration writing this conclusion. The Design of this portable wireless speaker is really nice, and I especially like the color scheme and bezel around the speaker. The adding of the LCD readout and making it inconspicuous until powered on was also very nice. The build quality was excellent. My first impression was that this was going to be a homerun and would solve all my portable sound problems with awesome sound in a small, well built little speaker, but this wasn’t the case. As much as I liked everything else about the Sony Ericsson MBS-200, there is no getting around the fact that the sound is not that good. Just because it is loud does not mean it is good. Overall, if you are looking for a small well built portable wireless speaker to listen to talk radio, or listed to while you work out and sound quality is not an issue, then the MBS-200 is just the ticket for you. But if you are looking for decent sound and more bang for your buck, then I would continue to shop around.
COST & AVAILIBILITY
If you are interested in the Sony Ericsson MBS-200 or you are on the fence after my review, then I might have some good news for you. MobileFun.co.uk have got the MBS-200 on sale right now for 19.99 (euro) which works out to be $27.95 dollars USD. I have seen these as high as 49.99 (euro) or what would be $69.99. Now might be a pretty good time to pick one up if this is what you are looking for.