Review: HiddenRadio – A Portable Bluetooth Speaker And FM Radio

Review: HiddenRadio – A Portable Bluetooth Speaker And FM Radio

There are quite a few Bluetooth and wireless speakers that have a number of unique features both from a design and sound quality standpoint. Especially for an iOS device or MacBook, you would want something portable and discreet, but at the same time, a quality speaker that can push out great sound.

Some speakers have to sacrifice one thing over another, such as  battery life over decibel output, for example.  A new startup, HIDDEN, has found a great way to combine creative design and great audio quality into one flawless Bluetooth speaker: The HiddenRadio.

Overview

Originally a Kickstarter-funded project, HiddenRadio has simplicity and portability written all over it. My first impression of the speaker was one of skepticism. Since the speaker is so small and simple, you wonder how well it would sound. Even though it can pump out 90 decibels max, you would think you may lose some kind of audio quality by using Bluetooth over just plugging it in through the audio cable, but I noticed both options sound equally fine.

Another neat thing about the speaker was the packaging itself; which has a sort of Apple-esque or gives homage to Apple products that everyone’s so familiar with.  Every part of the HiddenRadio, from the design, to the form and weight, are just right compared to a desktop speaker, making it useful in all sorts of situations.

Design

The design of HiddenRadio is something that hasn’t been done and a fresh take on your standard Bluetooth speaker. HiddenRadio measures 3.8 inches high and weighs 0.95 lbs. or 430 grams, so you can imagine, it’s very portable. It fits anywhere quite nicely being that it’s about the same size as any desktop speaker. I’d replace my current speakers with HiddenRadio in a heartbeat.

HiddenRadio is very easy to control. It’s probably one of the better Bluetooth radios as far as usability. The speaker as a whole is just like one big volume knob. You turn it on by just twisting it to the right until a light appears on the bottom. From there keep turning it to make the volume higher. On the bottom of the speaker are three options, which include: FM Radio, Line in cable, or Bluetooth 2.1. Just under that are to right and left arrows to scan for channels when using the FM radio.

Sound

The Bluetooth in HiddenRadio is easy to set up. You first have to select the Bluetooth option on the bottom, and then make sure a blue light appears. After that, just switch to the HiddenRadio option in your Bluetooth preferences. It has a range of 33 feet or 10 meters. HiddenRadio has a Proprietary 360° sound diffuser, so no matter where you’re sitting, there’s sound coming from every direction of the speaker. No matter what option you choose to use it in; Bluetooth, audio line in, or radio; the 90 decibels of output sounds great any way the speaker is used.

The treble and bass stick out nicely as well. It sounds just as good as other high-end speakers out there. If for some reason your Bluetooth happens to be off and you still want to use the HiddenRadio, the line in cable for the audio sounds just as good.  There really is little, if any difference in audio quality if you were connected to Bluetooth or through the audio cable. The cable is quite short though, so you have to be pretty close to the HiddenRadio to control your device’s content whether you’re watching a movie or listening to music.

Features

HiddenRadio also includes a USB to micro USB cable for charging. The speaker has 15 hours of battery life and a built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. You can either choose to plug the USB into any computer or by using a power adapter. Even though the 15 hours of battery life is a bit down from 30, which they originally planned when they launched the Kickstarter project, there was a tradeoff, which improved the audio to 90dBs. I think this was the right option to go in since it’s charged by USB and not AA batteries, which they also originally intended to go with.

As far as the radio goes, I like having that option in a speaker. The only thing that would have been nice is for HiddenRadio to have a small screen on the bottom, probably under the controls so you can see what station you’re currently on. The only way to know which station you’re tuned into is to listen for the station between songs. HiddenRadio includes an external FM antenna for better quality. I tried at first, to use the radio without the cable. I picked up on some channels, but for the most part, the antenna defiantly gives the FM radio better quality.

Verdict

Overall, HIDDEN has really hit this Bluetooth speaker out of the park. It weighs less than a pound, so it’s highly portable. It’s easy to set up right out of the box. The speaker gives out a refreshing and crisp sound by Bluetooth, 35mm line in cable, or by radio backed up by 15 hours of battery life.

You can purchase HiddenRadio directly from HIDDEN. The Metallic Silver and Graphite Black are $149.95 each for a limited time. If purchased after September 30th, they’re $189.95 each. The Pure White Edition is $179.95 each or $219.95 after September 30th. They are also sold in two packs for $299.90 or $379.90 after September 30th.

Rating: 5/5 [rating:5]

Pros:

  • Simple and unique design
  • Nice quality sound
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • When you’re using the radio, you can’t tell what station you’re on
  • Price may be somewhat high
  • Line in cable is a little short

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