Back in January Ikea and Teenage Engineering came together to make a limited run of modular bluetooth speakers with a number of fun accessories, like a spotlight, an LED dot-matrix light, and a whole assortment of doodads that you can 3D print yourself. I really lusted after the entire so-called Frekvens collection, but its staged rollout into February was eclipsed by a pandemic slowly overtaking the world at the time. I certainly wasn’t paying attention to anything in those early days.
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As much as I’d like to spend approximately $200 on the main attraction, the Frekvens 4x8 speaker with subwoofer, I do feel like that’s a little on the irresponsible side given that I already have a bluetooth speaker that (almost) works perfectly fine. So, in order to satisfy my hunger for Frekvens at a fiscally responsible price, I decided to treat myself to the “portable speaker” in the collection, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This little guy is about the size of a pack of cigarettes (the best size for anything to be, honestly), and has a downright adorable yellow knob on the top. That and the power button are the only controls on the device, but there’s also a 3.5mm jack to pipe audio in as well as a micro-USB port for charging. There’s a clip on the back that you can use to attach the Frekvens portable speaker to a backpack strap or your belt, a feature that I’ve been using a lot.
Obviously I love the design, but is the speaker good? Fortunately the answer is yes, within reason. I was surprised by how much sound comes out of this diminutive little speaker. I’ll explain it this way: My phone has a hard time putting out enough sound for me to hear it over the shower, but the little Frekvens is easily heard over the din. This won’t be my primary music speaker (though my friends didn’t seem to mind it at a recent picnic), but it does have noticeably more bass than my phone. This makes it perfect for listening to podcasts or audiobooks, giving the hosts a lot more range in the lower register, which really brings the production to life.
The battery life is also good but not spectacular. My tests haven’t exactly been scientific, but I am getting between four and six hours of continuous use at medium volume. Yes, a USB-C port would have been preferred here, but the battery charges quickly even over micro-USB.
I got my Frekvens portable speaker for $25 with free shipping on eBay, as mentioned above, but your mileage may vary as they go in and out of stock. But for this little bit of Ikea and Teenage Engineering goodness, I say mission accomplished. Best pre-holiday stocking-stuffer I've ever bought.