Review: Pioneer XW-SMA 3K Portable Wireless Speaker

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The XW-SMA3 K has a great range of connectivity options, the only thing lacking is Bluetooth but this is not really required as the bandwidth and range given with Wi-Fi is far superior.

The product:
The box contains the speaker, ir remote, manuals and power cable for both UK & 2-prong US power sockets.

The main unit itself is (W x H x D)320x180x145mm… roughly a shoebox size, and looks pretty nice in a slightly gloss finish. On the front left are indicators showing power on, connection mode (Airplay, WiFi, USB, Aux etc. Designated by different colour lights), indicator to show connection status to the WiFi and an indicator showing the charge status of the battery. On the front right you have touch sensitive buttons for power, source and volume controls. At the rear is a WiFi antenna and inputs for Ethernet connection to a LAN, Apple input (iPod, iPad, iPhone) with charge facility, 3.5 Aux in & Power in. These rear inputs are covered by a rubber plug each side for water-resistant use outdoors or in the bathroom.

The remote has options to power on the unit, source input, volume controls and playback control if using an apple source.

Setup:
Setup is a little tricky, but the strangely large broadsheet style manual has good infographic on how to setup the speaker for your particular needs. Easiest way I found to connect into my home LAN was to boot the device into hotspot mode, connect from my phone and update the firmware. Once you’ve done this you can then apply your home network settings as a firmware update will wipe these, so best updating the firmware first.

Also note that you’ll need to update the firmware first before you can use the phone “Pioneer Connect” app otherwise it won’t be found.

Once done you can easily find the device on your home network to stream via airplay, HTC Connect (If you have a new HTC One series phone) or dlna (UPnP). If you install the Pioneer app on your phone you can also set the speaker to play from vTuner Internet radio.

Sound:
The speaker uses dual 77mm woofers and a tiny 26mm tweeter which means you get loads of low end but not much emphasis on higher frequencies. This is more than adequate for the casual listener but acoustic or classical tracks may feel a little cold, while Dance or big beat tracks will boom away with bass. The volume levels for indoors are great, although the steps between levels seems a little off. It seems fairly quiet until you press the vol up button once more, and then you suddenly get an injection of sound. For an outdoors party this is certainly a better option than cranking up your Hi-Fi indoors, and there is more than adequate volume to give the party a bit of life. But don’t expect the same as you would get from bringing a Hi-Fi outside as it only packs 2 10W Amplifiers.

Battery:
What really makes this exciting is the fact that the inbuilt battery means you can take this outdoors (or carry it around) without the need to plug in. I’ve managed to comfortably get five hours at a medium volume and around 2.5/3 at max. You can increase this of you opt for a wired connection rather than streaming wirelessly.

Overall Opinion:

For portability and the connectivity options this is certainly a worthwhile purchase. There are better wireless speakers for sound but these are either more expensive or lack the extra benefits of the battery.

If you are in the market for a pretty decent wireless speaker which has a lot of flexibility in connection types and portability then you can’t go wrong with this one. It lacks some excitement with the higher frequencies, but for an average use not worrying too much about the fine sound qualities it really is a great option.

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