There’s something to be said for multipurpose devices—one of the reasons tablets have done so well—but sometimes manufacturers get a little carried away. The TYLT Block Party is a combination high capacity battery and multi-device charging station and Bluetooth speaker. All in one compact device. Oh, and it’s also water resistant. Is the combination genius, or an example of taking this all-in-one thing a little too far?
The TYLT Block Party is built around a 20,000 mAh battery. That’s enough capacity to fully charge an iPhone XS over seven times. And you can use it for that, but TYLT is picturing a gathering of people, all charging their mobile devices. So output for the charger is four USB-A ports, each putting out 2A simultaneously. You can plug in four smartphones, wireless headphones, or small tablets and have them all charge.
There’s also another charge port on the top, but that’s proprietary. A small Bluetooth speaker sits on top of the battery unit, held in place magnetically. The speaker has its own 4-hour battery, but constantly charges when “docked.” The top surface looks like a wireless charge pad, but it’s not…
The overall design is stylish, with a band of gold trim separating the halves and contrasting material on top and bottom.
Charging the Block Party requires a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet (included), and takes roughly eight hours. There are four small white LED lights on the front of the unit that indicate the battery charge level. All the inputs are covered by silicon flaps when not in use, giving the Block Party an IP64 water resistance rating—it can survive a splash or bit of rain, but not being submerged.
Stacked on top of the battery, the small Bluetooth speaker is encased in cloth mesh and has its own power button plus volume buttons on top.
TYLT doesn’t provide specs for the speaker, but I wasn’t expecting a lot. At roughly 3-inches square, just over 2-inches tall, and weighing 8 ounces—including enough battery for four hours of playback—there’s not much room in there for components.
That being said, it actually sounded better than I expected. It can put out decent volume and while the bass is understandably a bit thin, music is perfectly listenable so long as you don’t try to crank it up. It won’t replace your home stereo, but for a compact portable that would be sitting on a table beside you, it does fine. And if you leave it attached to the battery base (and don’t use that battery to top up smartphones) it has enough power to run for 72 hours. Three days…
Should You Buy It?
TYLT’s Block Party Charging Station & Bluetooth Speaker does everything it claims. It’s a little dated in terms of current mobile device technology, though—the lack of a wireless charge pad seems like a missed opportunity, and there is no USB-C option. At $199.95, it’s also on the pricey side.
You can buy a higher capacity portable power bank that can charge multiple devices simultaneously with USB-C support and higher output for $60. And you can get a much better sounding and more rugged Bluetooth speaker (like the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom I reviewed a while back) for under $100. If you want everything together in one package, then the TYLT Block Party has you covered, but I would personally stick with individual components instead of the all-in-one approach…
Disclosure: TYLT provided a Block Party for evaluation but had no input into this review.
This post was last modified on February 22, 2019 7:27 pm