Compact speakers are a great way to enjoy some tunes with your friends when you're outside. Take it out to the park while you're playing basketball or just having a picnic. JBL has taken that idea and created the Micro II and Micro Wireless pocket-sized portable speakers that offers a lot more than you'd expect from something so small. Check out what JBL has in store in our full review past the cut!
The size of this thing baffles me. It fits comfortably in my palm and with the amount of features and capabilities the Micro II and Micro Wireless has, it is really surprising. They also boast an extremely lightweight design that packs a heavy punch when it counts. To minimize any problems you'd normally have with portable speakers, the Micro II and Wireless edition have it all. Not only do they have a small footprint, but even the built-in auxiliary cable has its very own home to nestle in while not in use; the perfectly fitted indent allows you to quickly wrap and store the cable around the speaker while the 3.5mm stereo plug fits flush into the bottom to prevent damaging or losing it on-the-go.
Aside from the speaker itself, you also get a quality felt drawstring pouch to store them in. Not that they'd need to be cradled all the time; they are built with a strong combination of polycarbonate and metal. As you flip it around, you'll find rubber grip on the bottom to prevent the Micro II and Micro Wireless from sliding around.
The Micro II and Micro Wireless features a easy-to-see LED inside of the speaker grille that acts as an On/Off as well as a charge status indicator and Bluetooth pairing status on the Micro Wireless model. JBL isn't trying to impress us with an array of buttons and functions but with the simplicity of the overall design. With that intention in mind, you'll find on the side, the power button, a volume slider, a MicroUSB port for charging, and an aux-in port to daisy-chain additional portable speakers with a 3.5mm cable.
On a full charge, JBL claims up to five hours of non stop jamming, and they were pretty accurate. Depending on the volume you listen at, the battery life will vary. Good thing the battery is built-in and rechargeable though.
Daisy-chaining action at full effect. This is great if you've got more than one speaker so that you can get larger, stereo sound and of course twice the fun.
If you're not a fan of wires and cables, JBL also has a wireless Bluetooth capable model that are practically identical to the wired ones, aside from the obvious missing component… and they come in a variety of color schemes. In this case, the one with the black cable is the Bluetooth model, which is also indicated by the Bluetooth symbol beside the power button.
Before I get into the sound quality, I would like to point out that this tiny speaker rocks with just one driver to power it all. Obviously, if you came here thinking this is your solution to your surround sound set up, well… I hope you didn't. With a single 40mm driver handling the entire audio spectrum, we can't hold it against this poor guy for not having audiophile quality audio.
However, flip on a heavy bass beat and turn the volume up, a heavy and powerful hit comes out of nowhere, kind of like a particular bus driver's uppercut. This isn't going to rattle any license plates anytime soon, but using what JBL calls their bass ports, they're still better than the competition. The highs tend to overtake the mids in most cases, drowning out what could have been a superb audio experience. When that happens, the clear and distinct mids begin sounding like they're far off and in the background, rather than in front and punchy. However, if you switch on some calmer indie or alternative tracks, the Micro II and Micro Wireless handles them without a problem.
For comparison sake, we put JBL's Micro II and Micro Wireless speakers up against the $100 Mobile Boombox and while being mono-speakers, the JBL duo sound remarkably close to Logitech UE's Mobile Boombox. The Micro duo sound clearer than the Moble Boombox like their bigger brother the Flip, but have less volume power and the least amount of bass out of the two respectively; which ultimately ends up sounding less fulfilling. Though the Micro speakers still sound very good for what they're worth. The Micro actually benefits from having more treble in that it sounds clearer and lighter than the Mobile Boombox. On the flip side, the Mobile Boombox has the upper hand in that it sounds richer, fuller and a lot warmer compared to the Micro speakers, however, it also sounds recessed and dark which isn't good when compared directly against the JBL speakers.
These two little things will surprise you the first time around, but after some prolonged use, you'll eventually realize these weren't meant for everyday at-home use. They're more for bringing out with you on a road trip or a party to just keep it rocking and prevent any awkward silences considering the volume capabilities on this thing is tremendous for its small an compact side.
Even after some astonishing surprises this small package can pump out, it is nowhere near the quality of proper in-home audio setups, but then again, that's not what it was meant to do. For a comparatively low $39 and $59 price tag respectively, the Micro II and Micro Wireless are great accessories to carry around just for rocking out with some friends, after all, it was created to be portable. In that regard, portability is what this guy does best. Weighing almost nothing, you barely notice it in your backpack.
We definitely recommend giving these a shot if you want something that you can take with you quickly and don't want to have to hassle with too many cords and wires. At that price point and quality, JBL's Micro II and Micro Wireless put all the other competing portable audio accessories to shame.