When it comes to portable Bluetooth outdoor speakers, just a few of them could meet my requirements. I need a compact and durable design, but the speaker must still sound good. Is the J&L BTS12A a good option? Let’s find out.
Unboxing & Sound Test
Design & Features
The speaker comes in an eco-friendly packaging, along with some accessories like a carrying pouch, a USB cable, and a carabiner. It might not look as attractive as some other outdoor speakers but it is quite durable with rubber covering all sides. It actually has an IPX7 rating for water resistance.
The size of the J&L speaker is quite small. I can easily hold it with one hand, or attach it to my backpack or bike with the included carabiner. There is also a mounting hole, so you can fix it on your bike and enjoy music on the go. The small size allows you to toss it anywhere and bring it with you all the time.
The power, play/pause buttons, and volume rocker are placed on 2 sides. When you open the rubber flap underneath, you can find a microUSB-in and a USB-out port. That means you can even use the speaker to charge your smartphone. The battery of the speaker is quite small at 1,450 mAh; it’s not enough to fully charge your phone but it would be helpful in case of emergency. When you just use it to play music, the battery could last up to 8 hours.
Similar to most speakers at this size, the J&L-12A speaker is packed with a 5W driver, so you should expect a very similar sound. However, when I placed it side-to-side with the iClever BoostSound BTS03, I still could see some differences in the sound signature.
The J&L-12A sounds a lot smoother, especially in the midrange frequencies. Therefore, I really enjoy it when listening to some slow ballad tracks. Noticeably, the bass is an improvement here and I’m quite surprised with its performance in small areas, like in a car or my bedroom.
Having said that, there are a few disadvantages. When you play the speaker at a low volume level, you can hear a hissing noise which is very annoying. The noise only disappears when I crank up the volume. Besides, the sound still has some limitations of a small driver; you will start hearing distortion on some busier tracks, and details will be lost also.
- Portable and durable design
- Good sound
- Can be used as a backup battery
- Limitations of a small speaker
- Dull look
The J&L-12A doesn’t look good but it really surprises me with its audio quality. I highly recommend it as a budget outdoor Bluetooth speaker.