A couple of years ago, thestood out among its portable Bluetooth peers for offering strong sound and significantly better battery life in a compact, durable package that included speakerphone capabilities.
Its sequel, the Charge 2 ($130, £99, not available in Australia), is in some ways a better speaker, particularly in the design department, but in the meantime a lot more Bluetooth speakers have hit the market.
Like its predecessor, the Charge 2 has the added benefit of being able to double as an external battery charger for your portable devices (thus the name "Charge"). And while it plays loud and serves up a good helping of bass, its sound isn't quite what I'd hope it would be. It's good, just not great for this type of speaker.
Design and features
The Charge 2 retains the cylindrical design of the original Charge, and you can lay it down horizontally or stand it up vertically. The new model charges via Micro-USB and has a built-in 6,000mAh battery for 12 hours of playback (or charging your portable devices or both). The Charge 2's little brother, the, has a similar design, but it's a bit more compact and its battery isn't as long-lasting.
As noted, there's a built-in speakerphone -- it works well so long as you stay within about 5 to 10 feet of the microphone -- and a "social sharing mode" that allows multiple users to connect to speaker with their devices and play tracks alternately. (Sol Republic'sspeaker offers this feature as well.)
I had no problem pairing both an iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5 with the speaker and re-pairing was automatic when I turned the speaker back on (there's a dedicated Bluetooth button on the speaker to enable pairing if you get disconnected). Range is the usual 33 feet/10m, and I managed to hold a steady connection with minimal dropouts so long as I stayed within that range.