AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker BTV1 review: A value speaker that avoids looking cheap

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Amazon Basics Portable Bluetooth Speaker

(Part #: B00EHZYWGM) Released: Nov 15, 2013
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The modestly priced AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker BTV1 has a simple, attractive design and a decent feature set that includes a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls. Its sound quality, while not great, holds up well against other wireless Bluetooth speakers that cost more.

The Bad Glossy finish attracts fingerprints; sounds a little thin.

The Bottom Line The AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker BTV1 is one of the better "generic" mini wireless Bluetooth speakers and a good value at $60.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Sound quality 7.0
  • Value 8.0

It's hard to say what the best value in mini Bluetooth speakers is today, but the generically named AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker BTV1 can count itself among the contenders.

Never heard of AmazonBasics? It's Amazon's in-house brand, and its cut-out-the-middleman answer to all the off-brand companies that go to China, create a product from a reference design they find in a factory over there, and then sell it online on Amazon and other sites.

So makes its Portable Bluetooth Speaker a good value? Well, for starters it offers similar sound quality to speakers such as the JBL Flip, UE Mini Boom, and Jambone Jambox, but costs less. And while there isn't anything fancy about its style, its simple, clean aesthetic, along with an eye-catching glossy finish, give it a design edge over such competitors as the Urge Basics Soundbrick, Cambridge Soundworks OontZ, and several other budget-priced mini wireless speakers.

True, that glossy finish does show fingerprints. But that's more of a minor annoyance than a major gripe.

The BTV1 has a simple design but manages to avoid looking too generic. Sarah Tew/CNET

As for connectivity, the speaker charges via Micro-USB -- a cable is included but no power adapter -- with battery life rated at 8 hours, which is about average for this type of speaker (for these small speakers battery life ratings tend to be anywhere from 6 to 10 hours). Wireless range is the standard 30 to 40 feet (technically it's 30 feet but you can do a little better at times).

On the side of the speaker you'll find the power switch along with the Micro-USB and audio-in connections. Sarah Tew/CNET

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