The hexagonal body borrows directly from one of nature’s most ingenious engineers, the honeybee. Structurally, the honeycomb is efficient, using less material for greater strength and durability. Honeycomb claims that the shape also helps the speaker achieve a wide sound field. However, that’s probably more due to the fact that the unit packs four full-range 10 Watt drivers behind its metal grille, as well as two dynamic reflex ports for bass enhancement.
The controls, located on top of the speaker beneath a soft-touch silicone pad, are fairly straightforward. We did find, however, that the “+” and “-” keys for changing volume with long presses and skipping tracks with short presses made it too easy to over adjust the volume or mistakenly switch tracks. Bluetooth pairing and selecting the other input sources like Aux-in, USB, and SD is easily done via the input mode key, designated by an “M.”
Interestingly, there are two ways to power the speaker and charge the 2200mAh internal battery. The speaker comes with a large, laptop style power adapter brick which isn’t exactly convenient for travel, but it can also be charged via the microUSB port. On a full charge, the battery lasts about 6-14 hours of playback depending on input source, playback volume, and whether or not you charge any devices using the power bank feature, though for a speaker this size, we wish there was a bit more capacity there.
The four drivers allow the speaker to easily fill a room with sound, though the speaker does tend to distort notably at max volume. As for the audio quality, out of the box, the speaker had a few issues with overblown bass and a midrange that didn’t stand out. It was easy enough using an equalizer app to tweak the ranges and improve the sound clarity, though this isn’t an option when using the SD card or USB inputs.
For a portable speaker, the HC-1 is on the large side, weighing in over 4 pounds, but it can still be moved easily from room to room. The speaker’s build quality is solid, and its unique design is likely to gain some attention in either the red and black model we reviewed, or the available silver and white color combination. The sound needs a few EQ adjustments to hit that sweet spot, but it is pretty enjoyable once you’ve struck the right balance, especially for its relatively affordable $129 price point. Add in an ample feature set and multiple input options and the HC-1 is well worth considering for those eyeing an entry-level speaker with a standout design.
The HC-1 is available for purchase from Amazon now.