I’ve checked out a few BlueAnt products over the years, including both Bluetooth speakers and soundbars alike, and can safely say that the brand is squarely focused on bridging the gap between affordable price points and competitive levels of quality. It is with that sentiment, that BlueAnt’s latest X3i Bluetooth speaker, comes out swinging, providing some impressive audio quality, and huge battery life at A$249.
Available in Slate Black, Ocean Blue & Crimson Red, the X3i falls in line with plenty of other competitors when it comes to both colours and cylindrical design, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Much like the JBL Charge 5, the X3i sits horizontally with volume controls and a play/pause button on top.
There’s a also power button to the left and a dedicated bass boost button to the right, should you want that extra kick. Thankfully these buttons are large and easy to read, while the speaker itself initially boots up into pairing mode when you first turn it on, making the setup process an absolute breeze.
Around the back, you’ll find USB-A and USB-C charging ports, and auxiliary input to plug in any external devices, even allowing you to charge your phone via the included power bank feature, which we’ll touch on a little later. We spent time with the Slate Black option, and can safely say that while it’s not the most striking design in the world, its minimal look is sure to well within most living room settings.
The X3i packs in dual 57 mm drivers that dish out an impressive 30W power. The overall sound stage feels punchy and clear, with hardly any crackling and distortion at louder levels. But even for a speaker of this size, and with this amount of power, the x3i sounds as loud as any smaller Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used.
My only real gripe with the sound quality comes from the dedicated bass boost button, which provides mixed results depending on the track. It’s great for deeper electronic and house tunes, while pop songs and tracks heavier on vocals and instruments can feel a little drowned out.
Bluetooth connectivity is the easiest way to get things going, but the X3i also comes with a USB-C port for charging, a standard AUX port for 3.5mm connections. That included USB-A port allows the speaker to act like a power bank when phones are low on juice. It’s far from the fast charging standard at just 5V 1A, but will at least keep your phone from going flat.
The included 9600 mAh battery will certainly drain faster when used as a power bank, but will generally last around 15 hours when used purely for audio. Its IP67 rating also makes it a solid option for outdoor environments like pools and beaches, although I wouldn’t be testing this underwater for too long.
Verdict & Value
The BlueAnt X3i Bluetooth speaker might not reinvent the wheel, but it certainly gets a lot right. Be it the solid audio quality, extensive battery life, and IP67 rating, to the numerous connectivity options and on-the-go charging for phones, there’s not much that the X3i doesn’t do, making this a solid option when it comes to bang for your buck.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: An impressive amount of features on offer for an impressively low price
Lowlights: Speaker and camera quality hold the experience back at times
Review based on unit supplied by BlueAnt.