Leading German office product developer Leitz is best known for filing systems rather than audio technology. Its new Portable Bluetooth Speaker looks the part but is it a case of style over substance?
The Leitz Portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker is the smaller, sleeker offspring of premium office products developer Leitz’s flagship Bluetooth audio device. The difference is simply a matter of miniaturisation. The “professional”, as it is known, weighs 2.1kg and measures 24cm in width while its portable alternative is half the size and weighs only 277g.
For the user on-the-go, it’s a speaker that neatly secretes itself away in an overnight bag without adding much weight to that extra pair of pants and those all important toiletries. But in slimming down the “professional”, Leitz has unfortunately reduced its capacity somewhat to something more akin to a stagehand than a star of the show.
The German premium office products developer is better known for its innovation in paper filing than audio technology. It is, for example, the maker of the very recognisable Lever Arch File and its quality and performance in such office staples should not be ignored. But, while it has witnessed some success in electronics, it isn’t the forte of a company better known for keeping receipts neatly separated from invoices.
The Complete Portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker looks the part with its silver grill and curved black outer casing. It’s modern and stylish but of course looks aren’t everything. Can this desirable-looking device deliver where it counts?
When connecting to a device the speaker reveals itself as “Big Blue Live”. This alludes to a confidence the speaker clearly wants to live up to. Its 2W full-range speakers (of which there are two) don’t really give that “big blue” feel when compared to competitors – certainly not for the cost with the Leitz arriving on the market in the higher price bracket – but the speaker will enhance movie-watching on-the-go. Dialogue is clear and the full-range speakers provide a pleasing balance across the soundtrack but turn it up and this little guy struggles a bit to reproduce the required bass without impacting clarity
Music sounds better on the Leitz than film audio but bass levels are still a little undercooked and the need for more oomph from the speakers is a prevailing annoyance. That said, the speaker syncs quickly and easily to a range of Bluetooth-enabled devices and offers added value through its built-in microphone with speakerphone capability.
However, the three to four-hour playback is on the short side and while that length will serve most purposes it is disappointing given cheaper and comparatively better competing products, offer lengthier usage on a similar three-hour charge.
The Leitz looks pleasing on the eye and its 2x 2W speakers will suit most general needs. However, it’s better when playing music than reproducing the nuances of a film’s diverse soundtrack. The bass lacks the oomph needed to really bring out the lower tones of a movie but it fares better when dealing only with music reproduction. The high price tag (around £100) and playback duration of only four hours also knocks off a few points from the Leitz. Certainly, the company has brought its renowned attention to detail and build quality to the portable audio market but I feel they have more to give.
Leitz also has a range of multicharger units for powering a number of mobile devices at once. The robust and easy-to-use Leitz Complete Multicharger allows you to charge a mobile phone, iPod and tablet PC at the same time via its 4 USB ports. It also acts as a handy desktop aid with its supportive angle allowing you to type or view a tablet screen. It’s ideal for watching films while keeping the battery charged. Even without charging, the unit offers you a place to position your ipad or tablet for film viewing (in portrait or landscape). The multicharger comes with extra short cables including a Mini USB, Micro USB and more to keep your original cable free with wire spool inside to avoid messy cables.