Adin S7BT Vibration Speaker review
With more of our music and video now being stored or streamed on smartphones and tablets, there's been a surge in portable speakers to beef up their often weedy output.
From multi-room, costly systems such as Sonos, down to a simple battery-operated glorified headphone that keeps you up to date with the latest audiobook while you're washing up, our sounds are with us now wherever we go.
The Adin S7BT embodies this freedom in a compact and attractive design. The top-hat shaped device features a wide metal base that houses the speaker components, with a smaller column rising up from it bearing a control panel. It feels weighty and solid, like a good piece of audio equipment should, with the metal construction suggesting a decent chance of survival from any drops that a portable speaker can expect in its lifetime.
The only styling issues are the slightly cheap-looking plastic top – which houses the controls for play/pause, volume, track selection, plus hands-free telephone operation – and the even cheaper feeling switch on the back that selects between Bluetooth or line-in modes.
See also: Speaker reviews
One nice feature is a transparent plastic strip on the centre column which glows different colours depending on the mode you're in, blue sensibly representing Bluetooth.
Under the unit there's what at first appears to be a mini stand. In fact this is the vibration speaker that's at the heart of the S7BT's design. Rather than relying on a traditional pistonic speaker cone to generate all of its sound, this device interacts with any surface it's placed on by sending strong vibrations down through the stand.
The upshot of this is that the sound varies quite considerably depending where you sit the unit. On a large wooden table the S7BT emits wide, bass-rich tones that can fill a room convincingly. Move it a few feet to a smaller table, window sill, or cabinet and it can sound quite awful. The manufacturer recommends trying it in many different places in the home, including on doors and walls, although in our experience this isn't really how people use speakers.
Bluetooth connectivity is very easy via the CSR 2.1 chip, with the unit being detected by our various Android and iOS devices without issue.
But the sound quality through Bluetooth is not good, with the S7BT emitting a constant background whine when streaming any audio. It's more acceptable on loud music, but for delicate compositions, or any spoken word, it's quite irritating.
Plugging devices directly into the unit via the 3.5mm input jack solved this problem, and the sounds it then produced were very impressive. Adin boasts that the S7BT has a 360-degree projection and in the right conditions this can certainly be heard to good effect. Battery life was solid, if not remarkable, returning around three hours of play from a single charge.
The S7BT is a curious device. At times the sound is excellent, especially when connected via a lead and seated on a resonant surface. Moving away from this perfect scenario, as you would expect to with portable speakers, things quickly become a lottery. Too often the tones produced were unbalanced, quiet, or just bad, and the bluetooth whine further reduced the placement options available. Make no mistake the S7BT can be an impressive way to hear your audio collection, but it’s just too inconsistent to comfortably recommend.