Indoor / Outdoor iLive Bluetooth Speakers Review: Stereo in Play


ILive’s indoor / outdoor Bluetooth speakers are reminiscent of those solar-powered walkway lights that they sell in the lawn and garden department at the hardware store. Not because they shine at night, but because these waterproof Bluetooth stereo speakers come with solar panels to charge their batteries and removable stakes that you can drive into the ground to keep them upright.

It’s an interesting idea, no doubt, but the best news is that these speakers (look for iLive’s model number ISBW240BDL) sound much better than you might imagine for their $ 70 price tag (Walmart was selling them for $ 50 at the time. writing this article). And when you’re not entertaining outside, you can separate the stakes and bring the party home.

Design

Cylindrical speakers (you can also compare them to beer cans) have circular solar panels on top that will charge your batteries slowly when it’s sunny outside. Without the stakes, each 3.03-inch diameter speaker rises 6.57 inches tall.

Each speaker has an identical set of controls (they were probably sold individually at one point): Volume up, volume down, Bluetooth pair, and stereo input / pair selection; plus a multi-function power button and next track / previous track. There are also two indicator lights for Bluetooth and stereo pairing, as well as a microphone directly above them. The opposite side of the speaker houses a large plug that conceals a micro-USB charging port, 3.5mm auxiliary input, and a microSD card slot.

As you may have guessed, one of the ISBW240BDL’s nifty tricks is playing music from a microSD card. This lets you set and forget your playlist, and eliminates the party failure of interrupting playback when your phone turns back to a phone. But there is a problem: it only works on one speaker at a time.

ilive outdoor bluetooth primary I live

Pair of iLive ISBW240BDL stereo speakers. The stakes, not shown here, are hidden within the sticks that you can see.

And that’s my main complaint with these speakers – they work like a stereo pair only when using Bluetooth. If you use the auxiliary input or card slot on any of the speakers, you will only be able to hear from that speaker. Journal. The reason is obvious: it is the Bluetooth signal that is separated via TWS (True Wireless Stereo, or something similar). However, it is disappointing.

On the other hand, you may coordinate the music of the ISBW240BDL other cool trick: FM radio. In this case, you must configure each speaker to the same station. FM is invoked by briefly pressing the “connect speakers” button. You’ll hear a lot of static the first time you do this, but pressing and holding the power button for two seconds will search for local stations. Once the scan is complete, a two second press on the plus / minus buttons will change the stations.

The manufacturer claims that the ISBW240BDLs are waterproof, but does not provide them with an IP rating. Judging from the build quality, design, and port connector I would guess they would survive just about anything other than full immersion. But that’s just a guess, because iLive didn’t return my datasheet. Based on my listening tests, I am also assuming that each speaker box houses a single approximately two-inch full-frequency speaker with an amplifier that delivers 7-10 watts of power to it.


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