Do you use a portable speaker? (Philips SBM110BLK SoundShooter) Part 1

If you look at the consumer electronics market, the focus is on expensive headsets with "stylish" designs and various levels of noise-canceling features. Smartphone manufacturers focus their efforts on cameras,  so speaker design and audio chips are pretty much at the end of the target release features of manufacturers, even if (or especially because) Apple made the arrogant decision to eschew the audio port.

Although desktop users are perfectly happy with enormous speaker sets, laptop users are somewhat left in the cold in terms of improvements in audio, which is probably just as well since their gaming headsets and expensive smartphone cans are right next to them when they work or play with their ultraportables or 2-in-1s.

Having recently been given the grenade-looking Philips SoundShooter SBM110, I briefly wondered if I need portable speakers at all. The SBM110 is durable, accepts micro SD cards, and provides adequate sound output.

The SBM110 connected to a Moto G4 Plus while playing BBC Radio.

However, as a non-audiophile and slightly tone deaf consumer, I can watch videos on my Fedora 25-powered Acer ES-11, Macbook Air, or Kindle Fire HD 8 without really complaining about audio clarity. Meanwhile, my Plantronics Backbeat Go 2 and JVC HA-S500-B take care of my high-quality audio needs when I listen to MP3s and audiobooks on my Moto G4 Plus or Lumia 650.

Note: The SoundShooter SBM110BLK (2013) is a slightly modified version of the SBA3010BLU for select markets, with the only difference being there is a micro-SD slot on the SBM110BLK.

The SBM110 improves the sound quality of audio from a Kindle Fire HD 8.

The Philips SBM110 has a Line In connector, which I actually prefer over Bluetooth, but maybe a deal-breaker for younger users. The integrated audio cable, which you gently pull from its niche, but doesn't snap back, isn't the best design you'll find in the consumer audio market.

After a few weeks of using the SBM110, I realize that portable speakers are only useful for my Surface Pro 4 or Macbook Air when the video's audio quality just isn't good enough. Audio can be rough when viewing ripped DVDs, converted legacy MPEG format videos, or watching a movie or show with actors who think the Batman-voice is cool. The improvement in audio when connected to the Fire HD 8 and entry-level Acer ES-11 was more obvious as I watched True Detective (2016) and UFOロボ グレンダイザー / Yūfō Robo Gurendaizā (1975) . Unfortunately, the Philips SoundShooter's shape and weight makes it an impractical product to slide into a tablet or ultraportable laptop bag. 

The SBM110BLK has a micro SD card slot and uses a standard micro USB cable for charging.

Continued from Do you use a portable speaker? (Philips SBM110BLK SoundShooter) Part 2


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