With a super cool LED light feature, the Lava BrightSounds 2 speaker looks excellent and the sound quality is very good for a fairly cheap device. While it’s not the loudest or most portable speaker we’ve reviewed, it is certainly one of the most useful, being able to light up the area and charge your smartphone.
The design of the Lava BrightSounds 2 speaker is reminiscent to a camping lantern, due to its built-in LED light and the leather handle, which allows you to hang it up. Its handle means that you can also carry it like a lamp, and the decision to use leather for this part adds a premium feel to the device.
- Good level of light
- Very portable
- Not too expensive
- Many good features
- Sound quality can be lacking
- Low microphone quality
- No choice of light colour
The Lava BrightSounds 2 comes in a choice of five colours: blue, green, mustard, pink and teal. Unfortunately it’s only the speaker grille with these different colour options, as the rest of the product stays the same. Personally, I found this to be quite disappointing as it would have been a nice touch to be able to choose lights of different colours.
The buttons are on top of the speaker and are indented into the rubber, along with an LED light and low battery indicator. On one of the sides of its 360-degree speaker grille is a rubber flap that when uncovered reveals slots an aux, USB and micro-USB.
The dimensions of the speaker 95 mm x 95 mm x 190 mm and it weighs in at 626g, which makes it effective as a portable speaker, as it weighs around the same as similar devices. The Brightsounds 2 is certainly larger than most speakers, but if you consider that the speaker can replace your powerbank and nightlight for when you’re travelling with children or going camping, then it is still very portable and will fit in a small suitcase.
The Lava BrightSounds 2 is definitely not a lightweight when it comes to features, as it combines a Bluetooth speaker, a powerbank and a night light into one package.
This speaker is marketed as portable speaker for camping trips or festivals, which is why it is IPX4 rated; this means it can survive a water splash from any angle. The speaker’s rugged design means it can survive a few knocks and tumbles here and there as well. All in all, it meets all of the vital criteria for a ‘festival speaker’, ensuring that it stays functional in an environment that can be challenging for electrical equiptment.
It has a 4,400 mAh battery which enables audio playback for up to 36 hours at medium volume, or 48 hours of the lamp function. 4,400 mAh is also enough for two smartphone charges depending on your device, and you can charge your phone while listening to music simultaneously. However, this does come at the expense of the battery life.
The lamp does come with a dimmer functionality, however controlling it isn’t as intuitive as I had hoped. In order to change the light intensity, you have to hold down the button which turns the light on and off, and the light will rise in intensity until it reaches its maximum brightness and then immediately back down to its minimum setting. The speed at which the intensity changes was far too fast for me and having to press and hold the button until it started changing was a very fiddly process.
The speaker has a single stereo 5W speaker, with a 360-degree grille; this enables the speaker to blast out sound in all directions. Indoor performance was exceptional as even at 50 per cent volume the speaker was loud enough to fill a room. There was no distortion in the sound quality, although the treble at the top end did feel a little off, while some users may be slightly disappointed as it’s single speaker is unable to provide the heavy bass that rock and R&B fans love.
It’s worth noting that the speaker was tested using Bluetooth and, when it comes to audio compression, Bluetooth doesn’t exactly shine here. Using the aux cable did result in a better sound quality, especially when it came to the bass levels. Lava doesn’t specify what version of Bluetooth that the BrightSounds 2 uses. I did manage to move to another room around 20m away before I noticed any kind of distortion in the sound quality, which is good if you want to keep the party going but want to move into a different room for whatever reason.
Considering that this is marketed as a budget speaker, the music quality is pretty good, especially when compared to other speakers in its price bracket. Small speakers are known to be fraught with limitations and perhaps it is strange that, given the large size, only a single speaker is used. If you truly want a really well-rounded music experience, then I’d definitely suggest getting one with a subwoofer.
In order to charge the device you use the USB to Micro USB cable that comes as part of the package, it takes between three and four hours to charge fully, which is not exactly quick, but a runtime of up to 36 hours will more than make up for it. It also comes with an aux cable that, like the USB to Micro USB is annoyingly short. I get that this is the norm for small speakers but longer cables would be much appreciated.
At the time of writing the Lava BrightSounds 2 costs £39.99 from both Amazon and the official Lava website. For something that can play music, charge your devices and be a nightlight all at the same time it’s a pretty good price, and you’ll be hard pressed to find another speaker with the same features for a similar price.
It is a pretty good looking device, and for a budget device you certainly get a lot for your money as it combines three devices into one. While audiophiles may not be interested with its slightly off-tone highs and underwhelming bass, the majority of people will be content with the sound quality it provides. If you plan on going to outdoors events such as festivals, then the Lava BrightSounds 2 definitely rises to the occasion.