Portable Bluetooth speakers are such wonderful little devices of convenience. Wireless connectivity and access to music anywhere you want it means they’re the perfect companion for parties, picnics, when your car radio breaks and you have a four hour drive, and other not super specific references to things I’ve done in my life.
They also come in a bunch of different varieties for almost any use case. Pocket sized portables, boom box configurations, or upright beasts like BlueAnt’s X5 Bluetooth Party Speaker.
This is one big unit and it is purpose built to party. It’s quite tall and thick, standing up to about knee height – but still only weighs around 4kg. It feels kind of crazy to carry one of these things around. I’ve held one using the handle with only one finger while trying to unlock a door with ease.
While it’s light, the build quality is really solid and well thought out. It’s thick plastic with a concave bass port at the back which is actually really well tuned. Top ports – including those for the packaged microphones – are covered with rubber feeling flaps to keep them clean and safe from dust or whatever substances grace your parties.
The handle even has a slightly softer piece of plastic underneath where the weight sits in your hand, plus a nice ridge on top so you can put a phone or other device in there and have it standing up so people can see what’s playing. And then you also get cool spinning LEDs to top it all off if that’s your jam.
They look and feel like serious speakers that just happen to be here to party, and honestly, that’s what they are.
I took the BlueAnt X5 Bluetooth Party Speaker to a nearby studio to do some proper audio tests. Spoiler alert: they surprised all of us.
A single BlueAnt X5 Party Speaker can put out some serious noise without distortion.
The bass starts to roll off at about 46Hz which is so low it’s more a sound you feel it rather than hear. The high pitches start to fall off at 13.5kHz, which again isn’t really the kind of noise you’d normally want to be hearing anyway. The pitch range on these is more than you could need, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting from these party bro speakers.
The downside to only one BlueAnt X5 Party Speaker is it’s obviously a mono setup. It mixes stereo sounds in such a way that it cancels anything out of phase which means there will be sounds you just won’t hear in some songs. It’s not the kind of thing most people will notice and will also depend on the music you listen to, but it’s worth noting.
Solution? You can get two BlueAnt X5 Party Speakers and set them into Duo Mode to have a stereo set up. It’s really easy to pair and worked the first time without any hassles. It’s a good idea to play some test music so you can check which is acting as the left and right speaker to get the most accurate sound.
Testing a pair together, they’re very well balanced with left to right even phasing. I could stand in the centre of the room and be evenly covered in sound. Moving slightly to the left or right made the speaker on that side much more noticeable in either direction and it was clear where sound was coming from at all times.
There is slightly more compression on the Bluetooth signal when in duo mode, but it’s the kind of thing you’d only notice on extremely high quality music and honestly, even then it’s pretty damn negligible.
Now the downside to Duo Mode is, unlike one speaker, you can’t run it via cable. You have to be connected via Bluetooth for this to work. It’s possible you could rig up a very specific powered splitter if you really wanted, but natively they aren’t going to do it. The quality of the Bluetooth sound is very good but if you’re a die hard analogue purist, these just aren’t going to be for you.
That being said, they’re still very good for Bluetooth speakers.
When just listening to music they sound very crisp and clear. I checked out some high quality drum tracks and could vividly hear the high end of the percussion, which I wasn’t really expecting from these.
The bass is also very good without going overboard. This is also evident in the bass boost mode which is helpful for lower volumes. It also seems to scale as it gets louder which is a really nice feature. Especially as these can get damn loud. Uncomfortably loud. In a good way.
But that’s not all. There’s a few other little party features on the X5s that can swing them even further into favour.
A really fun bonus here is that the X5s also feature two mic ports and are packaged with two microphones to go in them. The mics are honestly very cheap and either unshielded or have super thin metal. The mid high end is pretty tinny and the connectors aren’t grounded so they buzz sometimes too. Plus I think the preamp adds to the tinny sound.
These microphones are obviously not made for top quality performances, but they do give you a speaker mic setup that could be super useful. If you’re holding sports events, making quick announcements, or even giving speeches these are going to do the job just fine.
Given the quality of the speaker having any mics included at all is just a nice touch. You can also plug in better mics if you really find the need for better quality vocal performance.
The battery on these portable speakers is huge. I only ran it down when I was actively trying to and they can go for hours unplugged. The website boasts up to 20 hours of playtime, and I reckon it could live up to this on lower volumes plugged in.
Because of this staying power, BlueAnt includes a nifty feature that lets you use the speaker as a power bank to charge other devices. Pretty handy stuff if your phone is dying thanks to having full Bluetooth connectivity turned on for hours. Of course, you can just plug them in again even if they run out and the charging time is noticeably quick.
The last feature that really solidifies their place as a party speaker is the ability to share control.
Pairing a device is as easy as can be and the first person will get a sort of master control over the speakers. Other people can then also pair and you’ll get a message pop up seeking permission to play a song. This is great because you can let your friends take over while still having the ability to kick them when you’re reminded that you’re the only person with any music taste in your life.
Just that good
After some pretty intensive tests the BlueAnt X5 Wireless Party Speakers honestly floored me. They are excellent portable Bluetooth speakers with a great range of sound and use. Hardcore audio enthusiasts who love their analogue connections may find them wanting, but for anyone else they’re a great choice.
I could see these having dozens of uses. Portable set up for a dance studio with a mic to give instructions over the top. Outdoor sporting events. Taking them to the shops to loudly commentate on people not wearing masks properly. Or just some seriously excellent and easy to use party bois.
They clock in at $399 a speaker, but from my experience the quality is worth the money if you’re planning to drop it. These are simply hands down the best Bluetooth speakers I’ve tried.
We even compared them to some Tannoy Reveal 802 Active Studio Monitors of similar size which cost the same amount but aren’t portable and don’t have Bluetooth or additional features. While the Tannoys definitely won for pure sound quality, it wasn’t by anywhere near as much as you’d expect.
If you’re after the best Bluetooth speaker for your money, consider one of these. If you want a portable stereo speaker set up with a dozen different use cases and aren’t fussed about missing out on analogue sound, then get two. They just really are that good.
The BlueAnt X5 Bluetooth Party Speakers review units were provided by BlueAnt.