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Transit by Soen review:

The slickest Bluetooth speaker you've never heard of

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MSRP: $199.95

Transit by Soen

(Part #: AK1)
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The Good The Transit by Soen is a well-designed wireless Bluetooth speaker that delivers decent sound in a slim package that's travel-friendly. It's got a nifty retractable kickstand and built-in speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad Stiff competition at its somewhat elevated price point.

The Bottom Line While it's a bit pricey at around $200, the Transit by Soen is one of the more sleekly designed and decent-sounding travel Bluetooth speakers.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.4 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Sound 7.0
  • Value 7.0

If you've never heard of Soen Audio, like I never had, it's probably because it's a company that until now has apparently made the technology inside the technology. According to its website, Soen is "the leader in high-performance miniature audio solutions, creating cutting-edge audio technology and superior quality audio products for both consumer and OEM customers. We supply the most advanced and best sounding compact audio solutions for several of the world's largest TV, laptop, and PC manufacturers."

The company's first --and currently only -- standalone product is a slick looking Bluetooth speaker that's called the Transit. The thought behind the naming seems to be that it's a wireless speaker that travels well -- and it does, with a slim, minimalist design that makes it easy to slip into your luggage or a laptop bag.

Design and features

The 1-pound speaker has a trapezoidal shape and one of its endearing design elements is a retractable "switchblade-style" stand that springs out with a touch of button, allowing you to prop the speaker up at a perfect angle on a flat surface, most likely a desk or table. It also comes with a "Magpro" magnetic cover that protects the front and sides of the speaker, though not the back.

While it isn't water-resistant or ruggedized, the Transit seems well-built. It's finished in the type of TPU "rubber armor" that you'd find on an iPhone case and has some brushed-aluminum trim that ups the sleekness quotient (the stand is also made of metal). I really liked its look and feel.

The retractable kickstand pops out with a touch of a button on back. Sarah Tew/CNET

In keeping with the minimalist design, the Transit doesn't have much in the way of buttons or added features. It has built-in microphone for speakerphone capabilities but that's about it. There are volume controls and a Bluetooth pairing button -- unfortunately labeled with an infinity icon -- as well as a power switch and audio input for non-Bluetooth devices.

However, there's no Pause/Play button or transport controls (some people care about these things and some people don't, because you tend to use your phone or tablet as a remote anyway when wirelessly streaming audio).

Wireless range is the typical 33 feet, though that can vary according your environment. I didn't have any problems pairing the speaker with an iPhone 5S and a Samsung Galaxy S4 and the speaker remembered my devices and automatically paired with them when I turned the speaker on (to be clear, you can only stream audio from one device at a time).

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