This is a pretty decent idea if you think about it. Having a Bluetooth speaker is good, but you’ll find that your phone is usually placed on a worktop somewhere. Listening to podcasts, streaming media or internet radio is a little better if your phone is propped up, and if you have an old tablet or phone that you’d like to dedicate to this task, you want it too look good in your kitchen, bedroom or living room.
Now, I’ve got a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen and we used an old Android smartphone in just this way. The reason, put simply, is that we had an FM radio, then a digital radio, and the choice of stations is all a bit “samey”. So, we use TuneIn on the phone and pipe it out through the speaker. Trouble is, I had to get a little stand off eBay to prop the phone up and it usually ended up in a slightly different place to the speaker itself.
So, if you’re looking for a solution for that, or you want to watch TV on your tablet / phone and listen to the audio comfortably, check out the solution we’ve got here. This is the LugaLake Bluetooth speaker, which is available from Amazon for $34.99 at the moment, and on the UK version of Amazon is £29.99 with free delivery.
The unit weighs in at 399 grams and is 20cm across. It’s a very nice design and is tough enough to hold your phone, a phablet or a big tablet. Here, as an example, is our busted old iPad sitting portrait-style in the holder.
You can sit the bigger iPad landscape-style too. It’ll stick out a bit either side but it still looks good.
At the back there’s a power switch, a microUSB port for charging and a 3.5mm audio port should you not want to use Bluetooth.
This darker section moves below and there’s a couple of rubber feet which really does hold the whole unit in place. Ideal for slippery tray tables if you get an empty carriage perhaps. That 3.5mm audio port is for input only, but of course if that train carriage fills up you can plug in your headphones to your tablet or phone directly.
The sound quality is decent enough, but there isn’t a great deal of it. Each end of the main tube contains a speaker but there’s a lack of bass and, even at full volume, you can pretty easily have a conversation over it in ta normal-sized room.
That said, the pairing process and notification system is pretty cool. It’s actually speak to you and say “Power on” or “Pairing in process” and the likes of “Disconnected” etc. I found the whole pairing system to be pretty easy and the battery life on the in-built batteries was pretty epic.
If you’re stopping in hotels and want something to play tunes or a small unit to sit in the corner of your kitchen with a stylish appearance then this’ll do you. It’s got enough volume to suffice but if you are looking to crank the volume up when your favourite tune comes on then you’ll find it a little tinny and short on “oomph”.
I did also find that, if you want to charge your phone or tablet on here, you had to reposition your device. Imagine the array of phones and tablets with the power lead at the bottom. Put those devices on here and, if you want to charge your device whilst it’s sitting in the stand, you need to rotate the device around which might not be ideal. In one case I found that rotating a Samsung Galaxy S3 around wasn’t a massive deal-breaker, but when I hit the volume control buttons it’d inadvertently hit the power button on the other side and turn the phone off. A little thing, but worth noting.
Overall, a very nice idea, a nicely designed unit which is both strong and lightweight, a great notification and pairing system with an OK sound output.