If you're one of those people who blasts music from your mobile phone speaker on the train much to the annoyance of everyone else, it's not necessarily your musical selection that's the primary annoyance. In many cases, it's the shrill, ear-burrowing sounds of the underpowered speaker creating those disagreeable tones in the first place.
Veho has taken the step to make the experience of listening to someone else's mobile sounds more pleasant, without necessarily falling back to the bulk of a speaker dock. What we have is a battery-powered, 4cm diameter, 5cm tall cylinder that charges over USB and can be connected to a 3.5mm plug or paired via Bluetooth.
A switch on the bottom determines whether it's operating in Bluetooth mode, 3.5mm or is off altogether. The off switch is inconveniently placed between these two, making it quite fiddly to ensure it's definitely in the off position.
There's also no volume control on the 360, relying on the device to provide the adjustments. Still, it can manage quite a deal of loudness without distorting, and has surprising clarity for a speaker of its size. It's no big speaker set, but it doesn't need to be. Stick it in a corner, and the walls will provide a bit of extra reverb, too.
When setting the device up it made quite a few pops and squawks that it probably shouldn't, and a slight ticking can be heard if you put your ear next to it in Bluetooth mode, but once the sound is playing it's all but unnoticeable. More concerning is how the Veho 360 deals with loss of packets — by adjusting the speed of playback. With the speaker approximately 3 metres from the source, we experienced occasional pitch and tempo shifts during playback. It's more graceful than just dropping signal entirely, but to anyone actually listening to the music it's a jarring experience. While cabled, the speaker, of course, suffered no such affliction.
While it will work without thinking if you pair the device with a mobile phone, Windows 7 needs drivers, and if you haven't got Windows set to automatically download them, driver installation fails with no explanation. For those running into this problem, you can find the setting you need by right-clicking Computer and selecting Properties, then clicking Advanced system settings on the left, then go to the Hardware tab, Device Installation Settings, and selecting Install driver software from Windows Update if it is not found on my computer.
Veho recommends charging the device for around four hours. After leaving it charging for the requisite time and connecting over Bluetooth, it played back music for around four to five hours before conking out, beeping a few times to let us know it needed more charge.
For AU$69.95, the Veho 360 isn't too bad. We'd only use Bluetooth if we had to, and even then only in very close proximity, but for what you get in the packet it's not a bad deal at all.