When it comes to Bluetooth speakers that you can connect to your Android phone, the field of choices is bountiful. You can spend a little money and not get a lot of sound or you can spend a lot of money and, well, get great sound at a high dollar-per-decibel rate. Then enters Coocheer. The little company based in the Silicon Valley area has what may be the best compromise of price, performance and functionality. At only $11.99, the CH-080 Bluetooth Speaker is an outstanding value for what you get in this compact, well designed, easy to use and excellent sounding speaker. Recently the company sent me the CH-080 to review I have to say, it is pretty darn impressive.
Specifications & Form Factor
The CH-080 is constructed of a matte black, rubberized-like plastic that measures 170 x 70 x 40 mm in size (LxHxD). In old money, that is 6.7 x 2.75 x 1.6″. It weighs in at 14.75 ounces so it has a bit of weight to it but that actually works in your favor. At the bottom of the unit are four rubber feet which, combined with the weight, essentially stop the speaker from moving around on your
desk or table. And it is very effective. Depending on the surface I tested it on, to get it to move, I had to really push it hard. You want that so it isn’t slipping around.
At the top of the speaker is the volume and function control knob which is ringed with an LED light. This light is blue when the unit is on, red when it is charging and flashes blue when you are in pairing mode. Flanking the knob are the speaker grills for one of the two 3 watt speakers in the unit. The other is on the bottom of the unit. On the back side of the unit you will find the on/off toggle, the 3.5mm auxillary connection for those devices that are not Bluetooth compatible and the MicroUSB port to charge the speaker. On the front side of the speaker, just below the Coocheer branding, is a small microphone which will allow you to use the device as a speaker phone when you connect it to your phone.
The speaker supports Bluetooth 3.0 and AD2P which some will frown upon given that the 4.0 standard is the defacto. However, given what you are doing with this (essentially playing music), the 3.0 standard works just fine and, frankly, it keeps the price down. Interestingly, the speaker also supports NFC. You can pair the speaker to your NFC compatible phone by simply tapping the top of it with your phone. It works pretty good and I’ll cover it in the next section of the review.
Battery wise, the CH-080 has a 1200 mAh battery built into it which gives you about 6 hours of play time before needing to be recharged.
What has really impressed me about the design, look and feel of the Ch-080 is it doesn’t feel cheap. At all. It feels very high quality in its construction, especially for an speaker at this price point. It feels far more premium than the price that is charged for it.
Pairing and Ease of Use
Pairing the CH-080 to your Android phone is very easy and you have two options. You can either connect up by searching for the speaker in your available Bluetooth compatible devices or you can use NFC if your phone has NFC functionality. In either case, power up the Ch-080 and then press & hold the volume knob down for 3 seconds. This will cause the blue LED light to start flashing which means your are in pairing mode. Now you can either tap your phone to the speaker and it will pop up asking if you want to pair it or you can go on your Bluetooth device list on your phone and find the speaker and pair manually. Either way works and in my testing of pairing/un-pairing/re-pairing, it worked flawlessly each time. You will know you are paired when the speaker gives you a double-tone sound.
Once you are paired, open up your favorite music app on your phone and start playing. The volume knob allows you to control the volume or you can control it from your phone too. The knob is also multi-functional. When you are playing music, you can press-and-hold the volume knob down for 3 seconds to enter into Song Control mode (you’ll know you are there when the LED ring flashes once). Now you can turn the knob clockwise to skip to the next song or anti-clockwise to go to the previous song. The nice thing is that once you have skipped to the song you want, the volume knob will go back into the normal volume control function automatically after 5 seconds. You can, of course, control the song skipping from your device too through your music app.
When you buy a Bluetooth speaker, you buy it for the audio quality, correct? If the price and design of the CH-080 don’t do it for you, the audio quality will for sure. It is impressive. The range of sound is excellent from the dual 3 watt speakers with excellent high and mid tones and reasonably good base. I’ve played a wide range of music genre in my testing of it for this review and regardless if I was playing Rush, Iron Maiden, Enya or Enigma, the sound quality was excellent and pleasant. It could probably stand to have just a smidgen more of bass but really, I can’t complain about it at all.
I put together a short video of some music playing on the Coocheer speaker while connected to my Nexus 6P. The particular song has some good high, mid and low tones so it gives a good representation of the audio quality from it.
Overall I have found the Coocheer CH-080 to be an excellent Bluetooth speaker option. The design of the speaker is excellent with non-slip feet and a rubberized feel to the chassis. Setup and pairing of the speaker to your Android (or iOS) phone is easy and the audio quality is excellent. I must admit that I was very much surprised from the moment I opened the box at this speaker and have no problem recommending it of you want a good sounding speaker that doesn’t break the bank.
The CH-080 comes with a 3.5mm auxillary cable, a MicroUSB cable to charge it and a felt-like case for carrying it if you want to keep it protected. All of this for $11.99. To get more information, visit the product page on the Coocher website. You can also purchase it on Amazon.