The pun in the title will only work if you pronounce Qi as in “chi”. Poor puns shouldn’t detract from the product itself though and fonesalesman have done something you don’t see all too often in Bluetooth speakers, and attempted to differentiate themselves. This is our review of the fonesalesman MusiQi Bluetooth speaker with Qi charging.
I had heard of fonesalesman previously, and no, not in my local Carphone Warehouse store. However they’ve delivered something I hadn’t yet seen before in the MusiQi. Name aside the concept is sound. Couple a Bluetooth speaker that will be tethered to a smart device with a wireless means to charge said device at the same time. Qi has become something of a mainstay of Samsung’s Galaxy line of devices over recent years with other Android devices, but admittedly not enough, following suit and adding wireless charging coils to their devices. Can a device that has a primary function of audio playback manage to deliver on that front as well as others too?
Unboxing & Specs – MusiQi
The experience starts off soundly (another audio related pun…count them if you want a little mini-game during this review!). A cylindrical box encompasses the device itself which also sits within a small little bag for increased protection. Check out our quick unboxing video for more details.
- Speaker: 5W
- Wireless Playback: up to 4 hours
- Bluetooth Enabled
- Wireless Qi Transmitter on Top
- Wireless Qi Receiver on Top
- Wireless Charging Distance: 4-6mm
- Wireless Charging Efficiency: ~75%
- Battery type: Li-ion Polymer battery
- Output: DC 5V, 1A
- Weight: 257g
- Dimensions: 7 x 8.5 cm
Performance & Use – MusiQi
The first thing you notice when it’s all connected up and you start to play some audio through it is the speaker itself. You suddenly realise that despite the lovely aesthetic and the cool swivel transformation into an angled phone holder, as well as the Qi charging ability, it’s still just a 5W speaker; and it shows. The speaker can get plenty loud but it’s relatively tinny with little low-end unless really pushed via a tweak of the EQ on the playback device. Sitting outside with this of an evening, it was capable of playing back some music over a couple of people talking and the birds doing their best to annoy us, but it wouldn’t drown that out. It’s adequate as a speaker, but nothing more. At this size you probably didn’t, or at least shouldn’t expect too much more. It’s 5W, that’s that.
The grippy silicone pad is a great addition to this product. Swivelling the top half of the speaker will create an angle upon which the playback device can sit. With the aid of the silicone gripper it’s very sturdy to begin with. After a few days of dirt and grime however, you’ll need to reach for some cleaning solution or lightly wash with a cloth as it will simply lose its gripping properties otherwise. That’s a shame as the likelihood of using thie portable device when you’re out and about is, well, high, so I’d have liked to have seen something different here. Perhaps the addition of some clamps or something. I’km not sure, but I do know having to clean the pad on my 5W speaker isn’t something I look forward to.
That grippy silicone pad also houses the wireless charging coil, specifically the Qi standard, underneath it. Placing a compatible device upon it will cause a very subtle blue LED around the rim of the top of the device to be switched on, and the charging process to start. Again, it’s Qi so don’t expect fast charging; we’re down to a trickle here, but it’s better than nothing. In our testing however finding the right positioning can be a little difficult. Anybody who has used Qi charging pads will have both good and bad stories of such devices. From dropping and charging simplicity to rotating through 180 degrees, madness. This is a little more towards the latter than the former unfortunately, but once you know where that sweet spot is, you know!
Battery life is the biggest concern I had when testing this as with Qi charging as well as Bluetooth A2DP streaming, I expected to deplete the built-in battery speedily until I realised during testing that the Qi charging pad only activated when the MusiQi was actually plugged in via the microUSB port. Whilst a little maddening, I can understand this, if for no other reason than to preserve the integrity of the music playback numbers. We’re talking around 3 hours here depending on the volume of playback, which I’d place firmly into the acceptable category.
Conclusion – MusiQi
All in all, you get a few products rolled into one for your money here, but none of them are top-tier. The audio playback is acceptable for a 5W driver, but nothing more and the battery life is also acceptable, but doesn’t test other 5W Bluetooth speakers at a lesser price. However those Bluetooth speakers won’t have Qi charging abilities like the MusiQi does, and that does work, once you have found the sweet spot. Again though, fonesalesman giveth and they taketh away with the MusiQi it seems, as the Qi charging doesn’t work unless a cable is connected.
For £44.99, and I suppose I’ve been spoiled recently, but I’d expect slightly more. If this was a £35 product I’d be giving it a thumbs up for sure though as if you’re after a decent 5W Bluetooth speaker, along with a Qi charging pad, you get those products rolled into one without having to carry them all around with you.
If consolidation is your thing, this is most certainly worth looking at.