Bluetooth speakers are two a penny, right? All the same. Perhaps not. As the Edifier MP280 shows, the specification we can expect from portable Bluetooth speakers is evolving all the time. The MP280 offers a combination of features we’ve not seen before on a device of this size.
Firstly, the basics. This is a slim, matt black cylinder with rubberised ends and a metal mesh middle that has become fairly typical for such devices. The MP280 is slimmer than most though perhaps marginally more densely weighted at half a kilo. Output comes from two four watt speakers and pairing is by way of the now ubiquitous NFC, though as usual I’m not totally convinced of the utility of this: pairing just isn’t the pain it used to be.
Sound is pretty much what we’ve come to expect. There’s a sort of breathlessness to the bass that these Bluetooth speakers kick out. It sounds incredibly impressive on first listen, and there’s no doubting that the MP280 is competitive in this class. But it lacks a little substance.
Mids and voices are solid and treble particularly sharp. As with the best in this class, there’s a surprising sense of space in the sound from such a tiny speaker.
That’s the basics. Now onto the differences.
The Edifier MP280 offers a USB charging port, something we usually only see on much larger or more expensive devices. This may be ambitious with its stated 10 hour battery life, but it’s a simple but low-cost addition that brings a smidgen extra value.
Then there’s the MicroSD slot. You can add up to 32Gb of storage to the MP280 and have it play tunes without draining your phone battery. This again is a simple touch but it’s a nice idea: stick a playlist on an SD Card for a party or just out and about and you don’t need to worry about internet connections for streaming, or dying batteries.
These little extras combined with solid build quality and competitive sound lift the Edifier MP280 marginally above the competition at the £60–80 mark. But it does have a weakness: waterproofing. If you want something for the wet winter, you’ll have to look elsewhere.