It’s spring and that means portable Bluetooth speaker season is kicking off for another year. Being outdoors and portable speakers go hand-in-hand. Monoprice sent me two of its latest Bluetooth speaker, the Harmony Capsule 200, to try out. Why two? One of the features of this 30W speaker is support for TWS (True Wireless Stereo), allowing two to be paired to upgrade the audio to two-channel stereo. 30W of power and stereo support isn’t bad for a speaker with a $69.99 price tag (reduced to just $59.99 at the time of writing). Is the Harmony Capsule 200 worth considering? Here are the results of my testing.
Unboxing and Initial Impressions
The Harmony Capsule 200 comes in a pretty generic-looking box that contains the speaker, instructions, and a USB-C charge cable. Monoprice doesn’t spend its money on fancy packaging, and that’s okay.
The speaker is a cylinder form factor, and a bit larger and heavier than I was expecting. That’s 8.8-inches tall and just over two pounds. It’s clad in black mesh cloth with rubberized black strips down the front and back. The front strip is embossed with buttons, including large volume buttons, along with a pinprick mic (in case you want to use it for hands-free calling), 4 white battery status LEDs, and a small logo in white.
Around the back is a sealed compartment concealing a USB-C charge port, a 3.5mm AUX input, and a Micro SD card slot. That’s a bit unusual. The back also features a pair of molded “feet,” at which point the realization kicks in that the Harmony Capsule 200 maybe isn’t meant to be used upright like most capsule speakers.
That suspicion is strengthened by the driver’s placement. Beneath the cloth are three drivers. But the end caps are passive radiators. Although there are also “feet” molded into the end caps that protect those radiators and give them some room to move air even if the speaker is standing upright.
So which is it, upright or on its side? In testing, I confirmed that either orientation works equally well.
As for those buttons, they have virtually no tactile feedback, and it’s hard to tell how hard you’re supposed to be pushing them.
Let me start by saying that, unlike some cylindrical speakers, when positioned upright, the Harmony Capsule 200 isn’t sending audio in all directions. The cutout for the big driver is visible on one side beneath the mesh, while the other two drivers are positioned 180-degrees away. So there is a noticeably different sound signature, depending on which side is facing the listener. This holds true whether you position the speaker upright or lengthwise.
For what it’s worth, I preferred the audio when the two smaller drivers were facing in my direction.
The speaker can definitely get loud, as you might expect with a total of 30W on tap. However, not all that volume is actually usable. After the volume passed about 70%-80% (depending on the song), distortion increasingly crept in. That’s still pretty loud, though.
The bass was pretty solid for the size of this speaker. Those two bass radiators undoubtedly help. As volume increases, you can see them pushing a lot of air. It’s not really deep but does have a bit of punch. Treble wasn’t bad, although there was a definite cutoff on high notes and nothing is particularly crisp. Where it really struggles is the midrange. Unfortunately, this has the effect of making many songs sound “muddy.” Generally speaking, the more complex the song in terms of instrumentation, the worse the effect. For example, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” sounded pretty good at louder volumes while Dead Can Dance’s “The Trial” was a bit of a mess.
If you have a pair of Harmony Capsule 200 speakers, you can wirelessly pair them to act as stereo speakers. The process is very easy. Simply power both speakers on, then hold the play button on one for two seconds until you hear a beep. They’ll connect to each other.
The issues with poor midrange response don’t go away, but the overall sound of the speakers is greatly improved by the stereo pairing. The wireless stereo support is a nice feature, although to get it, you do have to either buy two speakers or know someone who also owns a Harmony Capsule 200.
Battery Life and Water Resistance
Monoprice says the Harmony Capsule 200 is IPX7 water-resistant. That means it is rated to survive being submerged in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. I took it outside and tossed it around in the snow (yup, still snow in Canada at the end of March) and got it quite wet in the course of working outdoors. It didn’t have any issues.
As for battery life, the rating is for about eight hours of life. That’s not great, but it’s enough to last most of a day or a pretty good party. As always, battery life is going to vary by your listening habits. Crank up the volume and that eight hours will start to shrink.
Harmony Capsule 200 Key Specs:
• 1 x 66mm driver, dual 52mm drivers
• Dual bass radiators
• Total power 30W (1 x 18W + 2 x 6W)
• Bluetooth 5.0
• 3.5mm AUX input, Micro SD card slot
• Mic for voice calls
• IPX7 water resistance
• 2500mAh battery rated at 8 hours playtime
• Supports TWS (True Wireless Stereo) pairing with a second speaker
• USB-C charging
• 8.8-inches tall, weighs 34.4 oz
The Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 is a tough recommendation if it’s going to be your primary speaker—despite the attractive price. There are a number of portable Bluetooth speakers in the $100 range that offer better performance. Two that come to mind from my GeekDad reviews are the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 and the Tribit Stormbox Pro.
However, the equation changes if this is a supplemental speaker. Something you want to sling in a backpack to bring on a camping trip or bring to the beach. In those cases, you want something with decent sound, water resistance, and a price low enough that you don’t really have to worry about the consequences if you manage to damage it.
In this case, the Harmony Capsule 200 is a pretty solid choice. Given its ultra-affordable price, it’s easy to overlook some shortcomings.
Disclosure: Monoprice provided speakers for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.