With summer fast approaching, the timing is perfect for a portable, splash-resistant, wireless speaker–especially one that’s able to pump out some decent quality sound at a volume you can hear outdoors. The Monster SuperStar is a stylish Bluetooth speaker small enough to fit in a hand that’s a definite candidate for seeing summer action at the pool, beach, or in the back yard.
The first thing I noticed about the SuperStar is its diminutive size. Monster actually bills it as being the “world’s smallest audiophile speaker.”
Think three iPhones stacked on top of each other and that’s about right. It’s under six inches wide, but, more unusually, under one inch thick. That size, plus the silicon case, make it easy to pick up and carry around or even slip in a pocket–something you can’t pull off with most wireless speakers. If you lack the pocket space, a nice mesh carrying bag is included.
Sound is surprisingly robust from such a tiny package. It features two full-range drivers located at the extreme edges so the audio has some depth. It also has dual bass radiators (one front-facing and one rear-facing) that help to add a little low end punch. You can set the SuperStar on its back, in which case the bass is slightly more pronounced, but the range is lower because the drivers are firing straight up. Or, you can stand it upright (it’s actually tilted slightly for better sound projection), in which case the music travels further, but doesn’t have quite the same low end presence.
I primarily used the SuperStar outdoors and it stayed upright quite solidly, despite the vibration from the bass radiators at higher volumes.
Does the SuperStar live up to Monster’s claims?
The speaker delivers “Pure Monster Sound,” which basically equates to music that should more than satisfy a small group of people gathered together at the beach or a park. It’s plenty for filling a bedroom or dorm room, too. There’s more volume than you might expect on tap, and, while this little speaker isn’t going to replace your home audio system (especially in the bass department), it sounds pretty good. Not tinny, not boomy, or muddy. Even during my dreaded “crank the volume to maximum” test–which usually ends after a few seconds of buzzy and horribly distorted music–the SuperStar largely kept its composure.
I’m not sure if I would call it audiophile quality, but for a relatively affordable, pocket-sized wireless portable, the SuperStar delivers in the sound department.
Besides Bluetooth (with AAC and aptX support), there is a USB port and a 3.5mm aux input jack. It also supports hands-free calling with a built-in, noise-cancelling microphone.
Battery life is rated at five to 10 hours (depending on volume), and, despite the fact that I was using the SuperStar almost exclusively outdoors and playing music loudly enough to compete against dogs barking, lawnmowers and kids playing, I still saw eight hours on a charge (recharging is via USB).
Powering on and off is marked by an announcement to that effect in a loud, female voice (something the kids thought was cool). My only real issue–and it’s a minor one–is that the buttons have to be firmly held down for a few seconds before they initiate an action. Mind you, that will prevent the speaker from accidentally powering on while being carried, so maybe that’s a plus?
I think the SuperStar will be a good option for the teen and tween demographic. It feels solid and the rubberized case should protect it against minor bumps. It’s splash-resistant (certified to IPX-4), easy to carry around, and offers visual appeal, with different bright color combos to choose from. The MSRP of $149.95 is on the steep side, but it’s currently on Monster’s website for a more reasonable $99.95 and, at time of writing, Amazon has it for $75.
The Superstar is also available at Walmart (also a good deal at $75.99), and Monster is offering up a $25 Walmart gift card to one lucky GeekDad reader — which would come in handy if you’re looking at picking one up. The card is for US Walmart stores only.
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Prizes are supplied by 3rd parties, and GeekDad.com cannot be held liable for items damaged or lost in shipping.
Disclosure: Monster provided a SuperStar speaker for the purposes of this review