Philips Flex Bluetooth Speaker review: An expanding Bluetooth speaker with so-so audio quality

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The Good The weather-resistant Philips Flex Bluetooth speaker can hold a charge for 12 hours of playback at moderate volumes and has an integrated lanyard loop for hanging it off a belt loop or a backpack.

The Bad The expanding radiators don't do much to improve the mediocre sound quality of the Flex. It also lacks dedicated volume control buttons, which can prove a hassle when the music source is distanced from the speaker.

The Bottom Line The Philips Flex works OK for casual listening at midlevel volumes, but your dollar can go further with other models that sound much better.

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5.8 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Sound 5
  • Value 6

With so much market saturation in Bluetooth speakers these days, it seems that every model needs to boast some kind of unique feature to set it apart from the pack. Take the JBL Clip , for example, which has an integrated carabiner for easy carry, or the Sol Republic Punk 's threaded mount that lets you attach it to almost anything.

The Philips Flex (sometimes spelled Fl3x) BT2000 is just one of Philip's many Bluetooth speaker offerings, but it has an ace up its sleeve: a 12-hour rechargeable battery and expandable sides that the company claims will enrich the audio experience.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's only available in two color options right now (bright blue with a lime-green speaker grille and a sleek black and white), but Philips is hinting at more variations becoming available in the future. When it's compressed, the size and shape of the speaker reminds me of a flat hockey puck.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It measures a little less than four inches across the top and sits 3 inches high -- like the Logitech X100 and the JBL Clip , it's designed to lie on its back with the speaker pointed upward to allow for a wide aural spread but it can stand up on its side too. Philips also includes a shoelace-style lanyard tied to a hole on the side if you want to hang it from a belt loop or tie it to a backpack.

Simplicity is key when it comes to these things, and the Flex is about as easy as it gets to pair and play music. There's only two buttons on the side of the unit: a sliding trigger to toggle between the 3.5mm auxiliary port and the Bluetooth connection, and a separate round button that puts the speaker in pairing mode.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're familiar with Bluetooth speakers, you'll probably notice the lack of dedicated volume control buttons on the Flex. Philips assumes that you'll never be too far away from your music source and they leave it up to you to control levels from there, but I can see this being a hassle when someone else besides the DJ wants to adjust the volume.

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