Portable speakers is an area, like keyboards and mice, and for a while SSDs everyone seems to have their own model. Even VisionTek who I would normally associate with video cards has gotten into the market. They have their SoundTube Pro Wireless Speaker with a pill like shape only with a large grill across both the front and back. So they sent one over, curious what we thought of it so today I’m going to see what it is all about and find out if it is a good pickup to take out with you this summer while you are enjoying the weather.

Product Name: VisionTek SoundTube Pro Wireless Speaker

Review Sample Provided by: VisionTek

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Bluetooth Version

Bluetooth V4.1

Input

BlueTooth, 3.5mm AUX, Micro USB for charging

Output Power

12Wx2

Transmission Distance

30ft (10m) (Barrier-free Space)

Battery

4000mAh Lithium

Play Time

6 -8 hours

Charging Time

4-5 hours

Driver Specification

45mm diameter

Max Sound Level

≤ 80db

Impedance

Frequency Response

180Hz - 20kHz

Dimensions

77.8 x 74.7 x 190.8mm

Weight

560g

Water resistance rating

IPX4

Whats in the box

1 SoundTube Pro Speaker

1 3.5mm AUX Cable

1 Micro USB charging cable

1 User manual

 


Packaging

The box for the SoundTube Pro has a white background and a nearly life sized photo of the speaker on the front. For branding everything else it to the left of the photo and it focuses on VisionTek’s Waves Audio sub brand with by VisionTek in tiny letters under it. The side of the box has a list of device features and the photo from the front wraps around to this side. Then on the back, there are photos of the controls side and the top of the SoundTube and with each photo, there are lines pointing out each of its features.

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Inside the box, the speaker sits in a cutout foam tray with foam on top but before you even get to that you will run into this yellow card. It is just a nice thank you for buying a VisionTek product and there is a note that reviewing it on whatever store you bought it from will get you a 2 port USB car charger if you email them the information. Also in the box along with the speaker itself were two cables. You get a USB charging cable. It has a standard Type A connection on one end with a micro-USB on the other end. Then you also get a 2.5mm to 2.5mm audio cable if you want to hook up something that doesn’t have Bluetooth support. Then there is also a small user manual for documentation.

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Photos and Features

So with everyone making their own portable speakers, I was happy to find that the SoundTube is mostly unique. The pill like shape is similar to the Beats Pill but they didn’t focus on the pill shape too much. This is more of a tube that can be sat on its side like in the photos below or up on its end. It has a traditional speaker fabric covering the open areas on both sides and there are apparently three color options with that fabric as well but ours is an old school gray. It reminds me a lot of the gray Fender guitar amps have. The main feature is at the end to the right in our photos or the top if you have it sitting vertically. This is the volume control and it wraps all the way around the speaker so you can always get to it quickly.

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Breaking up the fabric is a line going down the side with the controls on it. This has the Waves Audio branding on the left then in the middle is the NFC logo. This is where you can touch your phone to the device to quickly connect. There is an indoor or outdoor mode button with a pinhole microphone next to it. Then before you get to the volume knob is a power button.

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On the flip side, there is another strip that breaks up the fabric. This one, however, has rubber feet going all the way down it. This is the bottom when you have it sitting horizontally. They slipped in the FCC and CE logos along with the model information as well. Then there is a pull out rubber plug. The plug covers up the Micro-USB connection for charging as well as a 2.5mm audio jack that you can use to directly wire up your audio source. I love the use of micro-USB because most everyone has a charger available and it is nice to have the 2.5mm jack option at least though with it being on the bottom it is hard to get at.

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The bottom of the SoundTube is actually where we see the first visible speaker. This is the SoundTube’s down firing sub. You can see all around the bottom it has a rubber foot material for when you run it in a vertical mode. This will come in handle when space is an issue, when you want the speaker to be down firing on to a desk or table, and anytime you are using either of the charging or aux inputs.

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The top gives us indicators on both sides for the 360-degree volume control on the sides. It also has indicators that show if you are running in outdoor or indoor mode.

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Here is a shot of the SoundTube in vertical mode. It almost looks like a tall soda can. They actually have photos of it in use in a cup holder in a car so that similarity might be intentional.

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Performance

To start my testing I had to get a device connected to the SoundTube, initially turned it on and turned Bluetooth on my phone and searched for it but I couldn’t find it. I then remembered they did include an NFC spot on the side, so I bumped my phone up against that location and after a few seconds everything was up and running.

For testing I was listening to music off of my phone from Pandora and my Google Music so the audio quality wasn’t as high as the FLAC files I use for testing on my PC but they did represent about what you would normally deal with. I tested mostly in the office but I did move it out into the garage and out back to see how it sounded. The backyard and the garage are the two areas where I am more likely to use a portable speaker myself but I know others might use them when hiking, at the beach, camping, etc. In the office, while running the Indoor mode I was really impressed with the bass levels coming out of the small bass driver out of the bottom. This was especially true when I had the SoundTube sitting vertically on my desk, it would shake everything. The audio quality was good, as good as you can expect over Bluetooth and with a streaming source and I would say the SoundTube was on par with the other portable speakers I have used.

Moving outside I tried both inside and outside modes. The main difference was in outside mode the bass driver on the bottom is turned off. When it can’t shake your desk it doesn’t really do much and I suspect this might also save battery life. Audio quality was still good and the volume levels were good enough to fill the garage up and to be heard anywhere in the yard. Enough for a small get together or cookout at least, not a concert or anything.

Beyond audio performance, I liked that they went with Micro-USB for the charging port but I do wish it was in a different location. You can't charge and sit the speaker flat on its feet so it rolls around a little and covers up the speakers as well. Beyond that, the only other issue I ran into was with the volume knob. I love that you can reach it from any angle because it wraps all the way around but even with a grip on both sides it was a little hard to hold on too. More traction would be needed to spin it easier from just one side, for example when you have the speaker sitting flat.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

So I will be the first to admit that portable speakers aren’t exactly the best fit for me. I don’t get out that much in situations where having a speaker with me outside or even in gathers would be helpful. Typically I normally only use them when I’m outside in the garage working on something or from time to time I have used them with a projector for improved audio. That said I have had more than a few come into the office including speakers from big names in the industry like Bose and Creative Labs. In the last few years, they have all been of good quality, unlike the older ones I would get as swag at events. Of course, the pricing of them also reflects that. The Waves Audio by VisionTek SoundTube Pro was in line with what I have experienced from the other speakers. Audio quality was good, more than good enough for small get togethers, outdoor use, audio around the house for anyone without a stereo, etc. I was especially impressed with the amount of bass when in indoor mode with it sitting on my desk.

Now the NFC connecting was extremely quick but I wish I had the option to sync without it as well. I also liked that they went with micro-USB for charging as most people have those charging cables all over their house and cars. The location of the charging port, as well as the auxiliary port, however, could use work. It was on the bottom of the speaker so you can’t sit it on the horizontal feet and charge at the same time. The 360-degree volume control was also nice but could use a little more grip/traction to make it easier to use one handed.

Overall I found VisionTek’s portable speaker to be good, but I do hope they continue tweaking it in the future as a few small changes would make it much easier to use. The $99.99 MSRP isn’t out of line compared to all of the other portable speakers or the performance of the SoundTube but I was happy that looking online I could find it much cheaper ($67.99). At that price, they don’t have to have a big name like Bose and it brings it more in range as a gift or pickup before vacations.

fv5

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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