Boy are there a lot of portable speakers around. We’ve covered our fair share of them too over the years, so we must take a bit of blame. There’s clearly a demand for amplified speakers to boost the sound of our phones, but up till now they’ve all had one major hassle, you have to connect them in some way. Either by Bluetooth pairing, or by plugging in a cable of some sort. Well no longer, peeps.
The new Touch Speaker from Thumbs Up features a brand new tech called Near Field Audio or NearFA (developed by Hong Kong company SmartV), which picks up the audio resonance from your handset speaker and amplifies it out to the room. Anyone who’s ever had to faff around trying to pair or re-connect a Bluetooth speaker or locate a missing 3.5mm cable will appreciate the simplicity behind this concept.
Just drop the phone on top of the speaker and it will automatically send out the amplified sound from the two 2W (RMS) speakers. It’s great for using in a house with multiple phones, because you can have the speaker located somewhere like the kitchen or bathroom and anyone can come in and drop their phone onto it and start enjoying instantly.
So what about sound quality, we hear you cry. Well, it’s definitely not the best sounding portable speaker out there, but then again it’s not aimed at the high end audiophile. This thing is designed for the casual listener, who just wants to boost their sound enough to be heard around a room, and in that respect the speaker does extremely well. See our video above for an idea of the boost and audio quality.
The Touch Speaker is compatible with iPhones, Android and any phone with an external speaker, the 3 AA batteries will deliver 15 hours of play and 6 months of standby, and you can use rechargeables to make life easier if you want. Oh and we’re not really sure about the rubber band that comes with it. It’s either for protection or securing the phone, neither of which seems to be essential as far as we can see. The product is available in the UK for £29.99, and in the US for $39.99.
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Pros: Boosting your phone or tablet audio couldn’t be easier, literally drag and drop. The side benefit of improved battery life is also a big bonus.
Cons: We’ve heard better quality audio output, but typically from products which are three times the price. If you really want quality audio, why choose a portable unit at all?