The last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of testing the MercuryBox by Inateck. This compact Bluetooth speaker is splash-proof in all directions, making it the perfect Bluetooth speaker for those situations when it would be dangerous to bring most speakers. While not perfect, this speaker took very little time to become part of my routine and has become one of my most relied-upon musical devices.
The MercuryBox is made of metal and rubber and is entirely shades of matte grey. I find it unostentatiously attractive. The buttons on the top are “bubbles” in the rubber with all connectors (micro-USB for charging, 1/8th inch for wired connection) under a rubber flap to keep them splash-proof as well.
The front of the device is entirely speaker grill with a smaller grill in the back. On the left side there’s a loop for a wrist-connector, which I’ve found useful for hanging the speaker when in a place where table space was at a premium. Overall the device is reasonably light for a metal product–heavy enough to be noticed in a pocket or purse, but light enough that it wouldn’t make a substantial difference to a backpack or laptop bag. It even comes fabric coated cables and a travel bad, making it even more convenient to take places.
The speaker has the ability to play audio over either bluetooth or wired 1/4″ connection, answer phone calls, and has a small microphone on the top for hands-free Bluetooth calls. When working over Bluetooth, the buttons have a slight delay (as most Bluetooth buttons tend to), but not enough to really bother me. The only initial confusion were the +/- buttons which, I had initially assumed, were only for volume due to the symbols. A single short press, however, will change tracks for most audio modes. In order to change the volume, a longer press is required.
Once I got used to this feature, I began to really like it. It allows there to be fewer buttons, allowing them to be larger, while giving complete functionality. My only wish would have been that they’d have been better labelled. For something as simple as a Bluetooth speaker, I’m unlikely to read the instructions (insert your own joke here).
Truth be told, I did not test the microphone quality. I don’t make that many phone calls and, due to my hearing being less than perfect, prefer not to use hands-free devices unless I’m driving. I did, however, use the device for a large assortment of audio types. Aside from music, I’m a massive fan of podcasts. For days this device was my constant companion, allowing me to listen to podcasts while cooking and hanging out in places where a less hearty Bluetooth speaker could be at risk.
The sound isn’t the best I’ve heard, at least compared to it’s non-waterproof big brother that I’ll be reviewing next, but it was more than acceptable, especially for a device that’s designed to be both portable and to take a beating. I never had trouble understanding what was said, even in the most difficult of cases (some true crime podcasts can have recordings of recordings, which are notoriously difficult to understand). The only issues I faced were moment when the audio sounded less full and deep than with the other speaker. Given that the other speaker was advertised as having superior audio quality for a Bluetooth speaker, I’m wasn’t concerned by this.
At $50 on Amazon right now (down from the original $99), the MercuryBox
is a good solution for people who want an ultraportable and hearty Bluetooth speaker with decent audio quality.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review unit of the MercuryBox for this review.