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Review: Soen Audio’s Transit Bluetooth Speaker Sounds And Looks Spectacular

Company: Soen Audio Product: Transit Price: $249.99 Compatibility: Any iOS device Website: www.soenaudio.com Date: October 4, 2013

The Product

Even though Soen Audio is a relative newcomer to the crowded field of speaker manufacturers, the company boasts a number of former employees from big names like JBL and Harman Kardon. Earlier this summer, the company’s first product hit the market – the Transit. The speaker weighs in at 17.6 ounces and measures 6.6 inches long, 3.8 inches high, and 1.3 inches deep. And while some companies tout a cornucopia of speaker colors, you’ll have to be happy with only one choice for the Transit – black with silver accents. But that’s not a bad thing. In a sea of Bluetooth speakers, the Transit stands out with its spectacular industrial design. The back, bottom, and top of the speaker is covered with a TPU rubber armor that feels great to the touch and looks fashionable in its own right. The front grill blends into the overall package nicely and is highlighted by a solid, aircraft-grade aluminum accent in the middle. [caption id="attachment_470999" align="aligncenter" width="324"]The left side sports the Momentum Port, power button, AUX input, and micro-USB charging port. The left side sports the Momentum Port, power button, AUX input, and micro-USB charging port.[/caption] Both sides of the speaker have the same aluminum accents. The left side of the Transit houses the micro-USB charging port, AUX input, power button, and the proprietary Momentum Port designed for maximum bass. Along with the a volume up and down button, there is an option button on the top of the Transit to facilitate pairing. [caption id="attachment_470998" align="aligncenter" width="578"]The metal kickstand is sturdy and blends in well with the speaker. The metal kickstand is sturdy and blends in well with the speaker.[/caption] After turning the Transit on and pairing it with your iOS device, pressing the grooved button on the back of the speaker opens the sturdy kickstand. And among the high-quality accessories included with the package – an extra-slim USB charger, USB cord, and audio cable – the magnetic cover stands out. Easily attaching to the front, the cover helps make the Transit easy to transport without having to worry about any dings or scratches on the grill or sides of the unit. While the speaker looks good, sound is even more important. And Soen has also done a great job on that front. I’ve spent the last few weeks throwing every type of audio I could think of at the Transit, and have come away enormously pleased. [caption id="attachment_471000" align="aligncenter" width="520"]The Transit is small and portable. The Transit is small and portable.[/caption] Instead of overpowering bass, the Momentum Port helps provide an even and balanced sound at all volume levels. Moving all the way from quiet acoustic numbers to loud and powerful rock, the Transit held up quite well. It even helped add another level of intensity to apps like my current favorite, Infinity Blade III. I’m admittedly not an audiophile, but I came away very impressed when compared to other speakers I’ve tested. And I’m also thrilled with what is usually and afterthought on other Bluetooth speakers – the built-in microphone. During my testing, I’ve completed a number of phone calls with the Transit, and I’ve been pleased with the call audio quality. I can hear every word clearly from the other caller, and I was told that my voice came through the line cleanly and crisply with no distortion. The Transit will be my weapon of choice for the long conference call from now on. Despite the audio and design highlights, the battery is a disappointment. While Soen claims up to eight hours of music on a single charge, I had a hard time getting six hours in my testing. When other similar speakers boast anywhere from 15 to 20 hours of play time on a single charge, that’s pretty hard to justify to music lovers looking for a truly portable product.

What’s Hot

  • Made with high-quality materials.
  • Audio quality is some of the best I’ve heard from any speaker this small.
  • Kickstand is very convenient and sturdy.
  • The detachable magnetic cover is unique and makes the speaker easier to travel with.
  • The speakerphone is the best I’ve used on any Bluetooth speaker.

What’s Not

  • The price is high compared to similar products.
  • Battery life is surprisingly short, at around five to six hours during normal use.

Our Advice

The Transit is a bit difficult to recommend at its current price point. While the high-quality materials and spectacular sound are high points, there are easily a number of speakers that provide many similar qualities for a substantially lower price tag. The category-defining Jambox retails for $179.99. One of our favorite speakers here at AppAdvice, the UE Boom, can be purchased for $50 less. Soen Audio has done a nice job on its first product, but you’ll have to decide if the extra cost is worth it.

Scores

Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★★★ Wow Factor: ★★★★☆ Build Quality: ★★★★★ Value: ★★☆☆☆ Buy Now: $249.99 from Soen Audio [gallery link="file"]
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