I’m sure most looking into speakers have heard of Edifier. They’re the largest speaker manufacturer in China, an absolute juggernaut, but their Western presence has only accumulated in recent years. In particular, they made a huge entrance with their visually captivating Image line of computer speakers with the stunning Luna Eclipse leading the charge. I’ve personally reviewed their entire bookshelf speaker range in addition to their image speakers. However, the rest of their line-up is lesser known.
What we have here today is another creature entirely; this isn’t a statement in artistic design, or a triumph of audio engineering. The MP202 is a small Bluetooth speaker that with an emphasis on portability, succeeding Edifier’s MP200. And what differentiates it from other solutions is the inclusion of two speakers in the box, enabling users to pair in stereo akin to the UE Boom. At ~$130 USD, the MP202 has no shortage of competition, many of which offer more a substantial bass response and life-proofing features such as water-resistance. You can read more about the MP202 on Edifier’s website here.
I would like to thank Edifier very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the MP202 Duo for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the speakers free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The MP202 is a nicely packaged speaker, with a transparent acrylic box showcasing the two speakers. Upon removing the speakers, the base separates to reveal the included accessories.
Inside are a handful of user manuals in various languages. Edifier also provide 2 micro-usb cables to keep both speakers topped up, in addition to a micro-fibre cleaning cloth.
Though inexpensive online, I still would have liked to see Edifier include a pouch of some kind to provide some scratch protection during transit.
The MP202 Duo has a very approachable design that is functional yet pleasing to the eye as we’ve come to expect from Edifier. It’s smoothly formed angles, rubberized exterior and choice of pastel colours speak to a younger audience as opposed to their more art house computer speakers. And, in typical Edifier fashion, the speakers are very solid in construction with surprising density in the hand. There are no unsightly moulding defects of discolouration and the finish is both tactile and even.
Though the externals are mostly rubber, the front and rear grills are constructed from plastic, permitting a fair amount of flex. As they’re intended for younger users, this is likely to increase shock resistance, working in conjunction with a flexible rubber rim around their perimeter that helps to prevent damage from drops and other impact. The base of the speakers also have rubber rings that serve to reduce vibrations during higher volume playback and provide some stability on flat surfaces. Of note, the original MP200 did have IP54 water resistance but ingress protection appears to be absent on the MP202.
This all sounds like the standard affair for Bluetooth speakers, so what really separates the Edifier’s latest speaker from the competition is its portability. Few Bluetooth speakers are as compact as the MP202, and none that are possess the ability to pair in stereo. Its cuboid design isn’t pocketable, but at under 7x7x7cm in size, it easily fits into a backpack or bag. In addition, integrated straps enable the speakers to be hung from a carabiner. The MP202 is practically designed while remaining visually pleasing and approachable for users of all age.
Edifier have also carefully considered the control scheme of the speakers to ensure practical use. Up top are playback controls; play-pause in the centre with skip track buttons on either side. The inner faces have the main wireless controls, a power button that doubles as source select in addition to dedicated BT pairing and phone call/hang-up buttons. When paired, the speakers provided reliable audio and fairly impressive range.
However, connecting in stereo introduced significant latency that was immediately noticeable when watching video. Still, this is more a limitation of BT v4.2 rather than the speaker itself; as audio is received by one speaker then sent to another, latency increases to keep both in sync. The slave speaker would also cut out occasionally for a second or so, but it wasn’t overly jarring with audio gently fading out and back in. It’s also easy to use a single speaker in mono as both have the ability to pair and act as a slave speaker to the other.
The outer face houses the micro-usb charging port and a micro-sd card slot. Just above is an LED indicator that denotes power, pairing status and the selected source. Of note, the speakers have no 3.5mm input so use from a non-BT enabled source is unviable. That said, the ability to playback from a micro-sd card should suffice in those instances. Though the speaker wasn’t able to decode any of the lossless files in my collection, it had no difficulties with MP3’s or M4A’s which are the most common file types at present. Interestingly, the speakers also play over USB, a handy feature when they’re low on battery.
In addition, as both speakers are identical in design and symmetrical front and back, Edifier have put white LEDs on their front face. They’re also offset towards the outer edge to ensure correct orientation between the left and right speakers. Batterylife is rated at 12hours which is greater than the 10hrs provided by the Bose Soundlink Mini and similar to the JBL Flip 4. However, when paired in stereo, that drops to a more modest, but still respectable 9hrs. In use, I was able to just meet that claim, with just under 9hrs of longevity at 70% volume. Of note, the MP202 Duo has no inbuilt volume control instead corresponding to the paired source.
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