A lot of new companies have entered the consumer tech market in recent years with the ever increasing popularity of wearable and mobile technology. While Inateck’s a relative newcomer on the scene, this German based company already has quite an extensive line of mobile products, including audio accessories like headphones and Bluetooth speakers, in its portfolio. Inateck released several models of compact dual-driver Bluetooth speakers in 2015 including the MarsBox: a retro-style, rectangular block shaped speaker with a minimalist design and affordable price tag that has audio quality that’s actually pretty good. The speaker comes bundled with braided nylon microUSB and 3.5mm audio cables that follow the speaker’s black and red color scheme. Not only do the cables feel more durable than your typical black rubber ones, but they also demonstrate the company’s attention to aesthetic and quality.
The speaker has two 40mm, 5-watt drivers that get pretty loud and put out enough sound to fill a room: perfect for parties and outdoor gatherings. The plastic body is wrapped in a matte rubber that’s soft and silky to the touch but scratch-resistant, although it also tends to pick up fingerprints pretty readily. Overall, the unit feels durable, is lightweight, and travels well.
The speaker has standard features like a 3.5mm Aux input, microphone for hands-free phone calls, and rechargeable battery that’ll last you 9-15 hours of playback time thanks to its use of the power efficient Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. As a nice bonus feature, it also has a built-in FM receiver, so even if you don’t have another device handy, you can still listen to your favorite music stations or tune into a game. Since the speaker doesn’t have an antenna, you’ll need to be in an area with good reception for a clear FM signal, and unfortunately there isn’t an LCD display to show you what channel you’re on. However, the radio mode has an auto-scan function that will pick up any stations around you and save them to memory, so you can quickly cycle through them later using the skip track keys.
The sound on this speaker is accurate and leans towards the brighter side with a bit of extension in the upper midrange which helps provide better clarity and finer detail than what you’d expect find with a speaker in the $50 price range. The bass is present but not particularly heavy which may not suit some listeners. If you want fuller sound, it helps to sit the speaker on a hard, flat surface for better resonance. As technology continues to improve, we’ll likely see a lot more speakers like this one delivering good sound quality at affordable prices in the future. For now, though, if you want to carry your party music around with you for a very reasonable price, the MarsBox might just be what you’re looking for.