With a world seemingly entranced by smartphone and tablet technologies, it is more than just a little bit disappointing that many devices including my iPhone 5s and iPad come equipped with a single speaker. They may be adequate for watching the odd short video, to listen to a sample of a song or to converse with friends – however when it comes to listening to music, it doesn’t exactly blow your socks off. True the volume is actually quite impressive on many modern devices these days, yet it certainly won’t fill a room or offer a wide range of frequencies.
We therefore have a few key choices… To equip ourselves with a set of headphones – fine for the personal experience. Secondly purchase a speaker system with an equipped iPhone or even iPad dock, although not everyone chooses an Apple device. For the best compatibility however with a wide range of devices, Bluetooth is the best option and with an Aux-In input also – the Xenta LT-201 Bluetooth Speaker includes the basic requirements that should appeal to any individual who owns a diverse range of hardware.
So let’s take a closer look…
From the front, the Xenta LT-201 includes a set of controls. A master volume dial placed most prominently in the centre and then a button for selecting the input. The volume dial also can be pressed for a few seconds to set the speakers to standby mode, although a flashing red light might encourage you to turn it off altogether. If you are connected via Bluetooth and your device supports the commands, you can also play & pause, and skip back and forward between tracks. You can also alter the volume from your phone, tablet or other connected Bluetooth device – however this will be restricted to the maximum volume set by the physical dial on the speakers.
Although there is no dock feature for charging your device, positioning your speakers on the other side of the room while your phone sits by your side so you can select the music you wish to play is by far the preferred choice for convenience.
The design is very pleasant, with a straightforward positioning of controls in the centre of the device with speakers either side. Behind the grill you can just about pick out the speakers and from the side the shape even attracts the eye in a positive way. It doesn’t look in any way cheap and would be suitable within any environment.
For a device around £40, the sound quality is actually really good. You can easily pick out many of the audio details from both the top end and even the lower bass segments especially when placed with the back facing a wall. Even using the Bluetooth wireless connection to transmit a compressed audio signal from your device to the speakers, the playback quality remains impressive. I connected my iPhone, iPad and even my MacBook Pro and all operated flawlessly through the LT-201. There was no loss of signal at any point and connecting the devices proved to be straightforward. Just remember to turn off or disconnect any other Bluetooth device before connecting another and all should be fine.
The unit also features an ‘Aux-In’ port, so if your device doesn’t support Bluetooth or you prefer an audio signal that hasn’t been compressed – you simply connect the included cable from your headphone port to the ‘Aux-In’ of the speakers to listen to your music. Also included is a headphone port on the Xenta LT-201 should you require it.
Considering the size of the speakers and the device as a whole, the Xenta LT-201 is more than capable of filling a decently sized room. It is the perfect companion for a bedroom, kitchen, dining room or conservatory. You may wish for something with more oomph for your living room, but the fact it is so light and within such a tidy design makes it the perfect device for taking it with you as you move around the house.
More surprising is the volume, which could be cranked up really high without distortion creeping in for quite some time, although you may lose a lot of the details if you crank it up beyond a certain point. All in all though, the audio quality connected by either wireless Bluetooth or the ‘Aux-In’ port was more than acceptable and for the price even more impressive.
With the left and right speakers sitting so closely together, stereo separation is a little disappointing. Unless you are sat directly inline with the system, it can be difficult to hear the unique channels of sound to their fullest intentions as soon as you drift slightly off-centre. This really is to be expected with a system in this price range, but it is worth noting.
The only real distraction is the constant flashing blue light on the front of the device when connected to a Bluetooth device. It is comforting to know there is a connection and that information is being transmitted, however with the lights turned off in a room at night – the flickering nature of it isn’t ideal.
- Rotary Volume Control with Digital Indicator
- Standby, Input, Play, Forward, Back Buttons on Front Panel
- 3.5mm Jack Stereo Line
- Bluetooth distance no less than 10m
- Digital Amplifier
- External Power Supply
- 40W Peak – 20W RMS
- 2.0 Channel PC Speaker
- Total RMS – 24W
- Spear Driver Dimension 2.75 x 2
- Chipset TPA420
- Frequency response – 50Hz – 20khz
- Woofer size L340mm x W105mm x H105mm
- 3.5mm Stereo signal cable with 1.5m
- 3.5mm Stereo socket
- Stereo Bluetooth
- AC Adapter
- LED Indicator Light
For a system hovering around the £40 mark, the Xenta LT-201 Bluetooth Speaker provides plenty of punch for such a portable system and would sit quite comfortably in most environments where the need to share your music with others is preferred or you don’t wish to be restricted by a set of headphones. For most mid-sized to small rooms, the speakers offer a pleasing audio quality using either the Bluetooth or ‘Aux-In’ input and for the price offers great value for money.
The blue flashing light can be a little distracting on the front of the device in the dark, however overall the Xenta LT-201 offers decent volume, a wide range of frequencies and recognisable bass tones that will provide many hours of music listening enjoyment no matter what your taste of music.