In an increasingly crowded market, a Bluetooth speaker needs something special if it is going to stand out. The JawBone JamBox stands out by having largely set the stage for this line of small speakers. The Braven 600 stands out because it also serves as an external battery to recharge your phone on the go. The Jabra SoleMate stands out with its huge sound and ruggedized design, and the JBL FLIP draws attention thanks to its low price and excellent sound-quality. How does the NYNE NB-200 Bluetooth speaker carve out its space? Read on to find out.
NB-200 proves that you can take it with you – in your bag, on your bike, or poolside. You can even attach NB-200 to your handlebars with the provided custom clips. And what you will be taking with you wherever you go is robust, room-filling sound with incredible detail and convincing lows.
Advanced acoustic engineering derived from years of experience results in a combination of high-quality proprietary acoustic speakers with an innovative passive radiator in an airtight housing that delivers in-home quality audio that is capable of filling a room, but petite enough to carry in a handbag.
As an extra you can use NB-200′s powerful, built-in microphone for hands-free and conference calling. Charge your NB-200 using your USB connection, and synch your iPod, iPhone, or iPad via Bluetooth. Start experiencing cordless, crisp, grab-and-go sound for up to five hours with the rechargeable lithium batteries. All of this in the ultra mobile NB-200, a powerful light and compact design proving that good things do come in small packages.
Coming in at just 5.7” x 3.38” x 2.8”, the NB-200 is small and light. It offers an unusual shape that stands out from the crowd and, at least to me, is visually appealing. It is, however, so light that is feels a bit on the cheap side. That’s not a good thing, since this speaker has an MSRP of over $150. (Although it is under $130 at all Authorized Dealers.) I can’t help but compare it to the JBL FLIP which, at a sub-$100 price looks and feels more substantial.
Like similar BT products, the NYNE offers A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) Bluetooth so you can wirelessly stream your music. Sure, you can also use the included 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable to make the connection physically, but that defeats the purpose of getting a Bluetooth-enabled speaker.
Bluetooth v2.1 isn’t the latest and greatest, but it does mean you can control your music remotely using the buttons on one side of the speaker.
And, similar to other speakers in this space, the NB-200 includes a built-in noise-cancelling microphone for hands-free calling and conferencing.
Two interesting design choices are apparent when you look at the back of the speaker. First, NYNE used a miniUSB connection for charging the 800mA/h Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery that provides 5-hours of music. That’s striking since microUSB seems to be more the standard these days. While it isn’t an issue it does strike me as a throwback to 2009 or so.
The second design choice was a welcome one. This speaker has a sliding on/off switch. And while this too seems to be a throwback to years-gone-by, I do prefer it to the current approach that requires you to press and hold a button in order to turn a speaker on or off.
The list of feature “conveniences” include an adjustable handle bar mount. Since none of the others offers any sort of on-the-go mounting system, this certainly helps the NB-200 stand out from the list of similarly sized and priced speakers. It does, however, open the door to a serious health and safety question – just how safe is it to ride a bike with a speaker mounted on your bike?
I called my buddy Andy, a serious mountain bike rider, to find out. His response, “Thanks but no thanks. It just isn’t safe.” And while that is just one man’s opinion I can’t help but agree with him.
When it comes to the actual audio put out by the NYNE NB-200 I have to, once again, be a bit on the critical side. The audio output is good and, were someone to give this speaker to you for Christmas, I suspect you would be quite happy with it. I, however, have the luxury of having a number of other speakers that sit in the same space as the NB-200. That meant I was able to play the same songs through each of them. My testing was unscientific, but to both Elana’s and my ears the NB-200 came in at the lower end of the list. In fact, the $99 JBL FLIP pretty much blew it away. And while the FLIP doesn’t offer a mounting feature, I’m left wondering just how useful that feature is for anyone who is safety conscious.
UPDATE: After this review went live the company reached out and shared the following with us.
Customer research that was done prior to and during the product development for the NB-200 showed the following:• The handlebar mount was something that was strongly requested by consumers because using earbuds or headphones to listen to music when you are out and about can be very dangerous since you cannot hear anything going on around you. Moms were especially concerned about their teenagers using headphones while biking since they can’t hear traffic, trains, etc. around them. Three examples of uses from the research are:—> Riding on your beach cruiser, you want to listen to some music as you go down the boardwalk. With the speaker on your handlebars you can hear your music and what is going on around you.—> Mom taking her kids out in the stroller for a walk. She can put the speaker on the stroller handlebars and then listen to music, hear the kids and everything going on around her.—> A teenager riding their bike to and from school. They can put the speaker on their handlebars or attach it to their backpack and listen at a low level while still being able to hear traffic, other pedestrians, train horns, etc.• For the weight of the unit, they found that consumers wanted a unit that was as light as possible. So the product was developed to have a stylish appearance, and constructed to be as light as possible since it is meant to be portable.
If you want a small Bluetooth speaker that is light, offers an unusual look and is “handle-bar mountable”, then this might be a good choice. But in a crowded space, I just wasn’t overly impressed. You can learn more and order yours here.
MSRP: $129 at all authorized retailers (Get them here in our Amazon Affiliate Store.)
What I Like: Small and light; Physical on/off slider switch; Use with Bluetooth or the included 3.5mm cable; Mountable; Unusually design
What Needs Improvement: Sound is okay but not great; Mounting on a bike raises safety issues for some