Derek has been an Android fanatic since the beginning but has been involved with the Android Community since 2010. He has had many Android devices which include T-Mobile G1 (1st device), MyTouch 3G, Google Nexus One, T-Mobile G2, Samsung Galaxy Tab and currently owns a Galaxy Nexus GSM, Amazon Kindle Fire, Galaxy S 2, Google CR-48. Derek started my own Android project as Co-Founder of Andranon.com but have then decided to join Android Activist to continue covering Android News & Applications. He is always in the mood to talk tech, android, and sports so hit him up.
We have seen plenty of Bluetooth stereo speakers many of them being very good others not so much. It is nice to play your music wirelessly from your mobile device. Today I have for you the Phorus Speaker and what makes this speaker different from the rest is that it can play back music not just through Bluetooth or USB 2.0 but also over Wi-Fi. Audio over Wi-Fi brings richer sound and better connection compared to Bluetooth. Since there are no official Wi-Fi audio playback standards companies have to create their own and Phorus big picture is to make their Play-Fi offering the standard. They display Play-Fi with their Phorus speaker offering to show how it works. The advantages of audio over Wi-Fi are great but simplifying it for consumer use is the real hurdle. Let us see how well the Phorus Speaker & Play-Fi work in real world conditions.
The PS1 speaker is 5.5in x 8.3in x 6.2in with a very nice design making it complementary to any room in your house. The two most popular ways to use the PS1 is via Bluetooth (A2DP profile) & Wi-Fi. The audio for the speaker includes an advance dual-core digital signal processor, two neodymium transducers, dual class D digital amplifiers, and 90dB+ SPL brings great room filling sound. This compact speaker can really start a party both indoors and out.
Phorus did a great discretely putting the ports at the back of the speaker, which includes the reset button, USB 2.0, micro USB, and power port. The USB port is used to attach charging cables for your devices, Phorus supplies both a micro & mini usb cable. The dock is a generic made of rubber that can hold anything from an Android smartphone to a 10" tablet with ease (tested the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Asus Transformer Pad 300 in both portrait and landscape). The buttons on the front a labeled nicely that indicates power, volume, and connectivity options (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi).
Unlike Bluetooth speakers, setting up the PS1 speaker via Wi-Fi has extra steps. Phorus does a great job providing details instructions on how to setup the speaker with Play-Fi. However, even after the initial setup I ran into one irritating glitch, even though my device is connected to the same network as the speaker the Play-Fi application would fail to recognize the speaker. The simple fix was to disconnect from Wi-Fi network, re-establish connection, and open the application one more time. If for some reason that did not work, you can to hold down the reset button on the back of the speaker and redo the setup one more time. I sure hope that will be fixed soon. The next simple I was unhappy with was the application. First of all the user interface was far from perfect and is in desperate need of a makeover and secondly the music service options are lacking. You only can play music that is locally stored in your device, Pandora, and a media server. It is missing big names like Google Music, Slacker radio, iHeartRadio, & Spotify to name a few. Phorus informed me that they are diligently working to improve the entire experience by adding more music services & improving the application UI.
Now luckily I have a device (Nexus 7) at home solely for media consumption so it contains all my music locally while on every other device I stream my music. My experience with the PS1 speaker & my Nexus 7 is highly enjoyable. The speaker itself is great. It is well built, looks very nice, and the sound is amazing. It is so loud that I usually keep it at 35-45% for in-door entertainment. There is a threshold on the latter end of the volume gauge (85-100%) where you might experience low quality of sound in-doors but it sounds great out-doors.
Alternative Rock, R&B, Hip Hop, Country, Rap and Tejano are the main genres I listen to. Of these Hip Hop & Rap were the genres that would suffer the most when reaching the high volume levels by cause static & distortion. What I did like was the way it handle the bass, really brings the "umph" to my music. With the right song, you will be able to feel the beat. My best experience came with my alternative rock music. The speaker does a great job preserving both the bass & guitar sounds even at loud volume levels (The Wallflowers- One Headlight). The vocals will depend on the artist you listen to but I noticed those with raspy/scratchy vocals (Nirvana- Smells like Teen Spirit) suffered from low quality causing for an indifferent experience. It does not ruin it entirely but it prevents it from bringing the same experience & feeling you get when listening to the music as intended.
Overall, the speaker and application combination is good. The future for this product/service looks very promising unless Phorus fails to deliver. Unless storing music locally & Pandora is not enough for you or causes an inconvenience, then holding off might be the best bet for you. Otherwise, you need to seriously consider getting this speaker. If you do end up getting a PS1 speaker you might want just one for your entire house because at $199 each it can get expensive fast if you want one for each room.