Hands-on Review: Tronsmart Studio 30W Bluetooth Speaker
Minimalist design; maximalist sound.
Unless you have a special predilection for hunting down new Chinese tech companies (a hobby that would undoubtedly keep you busy) or are an avid fan of the professional footballer (and infamous neck nibbler) Luis Suarez, who became official brand ambassador in 2018, there isn’t a big reason why you might have heard of Tronsmart before.
Founded in 2013, eight years ago already, Tronsmart was founded by electronics enthusiast Eric Cheng who started out with reverse-engineered products he admired in order to understand how and why they performed so well. Putting this knowledge into practice, Cheng then began to build his own interpretations of the devices that had inspired him, expanding the practice until he was able to create his own brand of gadgets: Tronsmart. Since then, the company has launched a series of consumer audio gadgets and obtained more than 40 patents, including one for the impressive “SoundPulse” technology included here.
Judging by the look, sound, and feel of the Tronsmart Studio 30W SoundPulse Portable Bluetooth Speaker reviewed here, Cheng put his years of learning to good use. It doesn’t look like another “me too” product that has been on the market in the hope of finding a few customers. This speaker really looks like a serious, solid piece of modern hi-fi technology. Even the unboxing is a pleasant affair.
The speaker’s all-metal aluminum housing helps project a discreetly bossy sense of quality, along with metal speaker grilles on the front and back. There’s very little plastic here, which adds to the overall feel and appeal of luxury. It’s weight (961g), without being stupidly heavy.
This black, hardened aluminum exterior chassis has also been specially designed to ensure that the expected vibrations can only be heard by the pilots, minimizing distortion and reproducing high fidelity sound superior to plastic or wood designs. Certainly by demonstrating a variety of sounds – ranging from MP3 at 320 kbps, to 16/24 AIFF, up to 24/96 FLAC files – all we could hear was the source itself.
The soft-touch black rubber control strip on the top of the speaker is another stylish touch, so minimalist that until you have the muscle memory to remember what each button does, you might end up with it. you find yourself looking closely and tilting the speaker in the light to make out the different legends.
Essentially the top row is play / pause (center) with volume up and down on either side. The bottom row is the functionality: power on / off (causing a very deep, loud ‘bang’), Bluetooth pairing (5.0), TuneConn single multi-speaker pairing mode and SoundPulse EQ boost-cum-Siri / Google voice assistant button.
On the back of the device (remember: the two side tweeters and the center subwoofer of this 2.1 speaker are facing the front, although things sound good on the back as well), there is a TF card slot so you can load music onto a card and go and play it, an Aux line input jack (it’s so good to see a bluetooth speaker company still offering this) and a USB-C charging socket.
It is an elegant, well-specified, portable yet powerful speaker, perfectly embracing the “classic” features – for example this Aux socket – but resolutely turned towards the future, with USB-C and Bluetooth 5.0.
How does that sound? Surprising. In a very good way. The four passive radiators and the three pilot design allow this minimalist 8 inch long Bluetooth speaker metal panel to produce rich and solid sound, with good detail, good balance, stereo diffusion and fine tones. from treble to bass.
Listening to all types of music – from 60s jazz to 2000s bangers and all kinds of pop trifles and rock rage in between – it all sounded great. The SoundPulse button is definitely essential to our ears and it’s slightly annoying that you have to remember to turn it on every time you turn on the speaker. The speaker sounds great without it, but gets a nice sound presence and bass boost when activated. There is also a Tronsmart app that comes with it, offering other EQ options to fine-tune the sound to your personal taste. We didn’t feel like we had to use it, but it’s there if you want it.
A small white light above the button indicates the status of SoundPulse, just as a small blue light in the middle of the control panel indicates the Bluetooth connection, and the white dots on the left side give visual feedback on the charge level . We got used to taking a quick glance at the panel after startup, checking that all the lights were on as expected. After that, you can pretty much forget about needing to play with the speaker – it seems to be perfectly reliable.
Charging is fast thanks to USB-C: 3.5 hours from flat to full. Tronsmart claims 15 hours of playback, although it also makes it clear that this maximum is only reached when listening at 50 percent volume. Crank it up (with 30 watts on tap, that speaker is loud) and you’ll be draining it faster, which is common with all of these gimmicks. For a party scenario, you’ll want to keep this law of volume in mind. Listen at your desk while you work, not so much.
You can also potentially enjoy multi-room audio with the “TuneConn” feature, by connecting up to 100 speakers from a single device. Obviously we didn’t have 100 Tronsmart speakers to test this feature out, but we have no reason to doubt that it would work. It’s a “nice to have”, if you feel pressured into adding more speakers to your home / workshop / party / exhibition space. It’s such a cute and capable speaker, with a simplistic elegance to its industrial design, that it should fit unobtrusively into a wide variety of places. Just keep in mind that two speakers won’t expand the stereo image, per se, if that’s something you plan to try: each speaker individually will be in stereo.
Disadvantages? Nothing significant. There’s no immersive waterproof rating here, just IPX4, which means it can withstand splashing water, like rain or accidental spills. It is a stylish speaker for stylish situations. If you want an unruffled speaker on beach trips, on fishing expeditions, or as a poolside companion, you might want to broaden your search (e.g. the Tronsmart Force 40W, with an IPX7 rating). full).
Other than that, as a solid home and office companion, there is very little reason to overlook this speaker. It looks good, sounds good and the price is right.
Tronsmart Studio 30W SoundPulse portable bluetooth speaker
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