It goes without saying that there are a few big names in the bluetooth speaker world that most people know. Outside of those few, brand awareness drops off a cliff. But every now and then we stumble on someone we just haven’t ever heard of before. This time, that company is Red Planet Sounds. Thankfully, they found us and sent us one of their bluetooth speakers to try out – their tiny Sub Sonic.
Features & Design
The Sub Sonic is one of the smallest bluetooth speakers we’ve used, measuring in at ~3 inches in diameter and roughly the same amount in height. It’s tiny. Inside is a 400 mAh battery and 3W speaker that when combined, allow for up to 12 hours of playtime. Red Planet has also built in a microphone (with noise canceling) so the Sub Sonic can pull double duty as a much beefier, louder external speaker phone for your phone, tablet or just about anything else that can pair up to it.
Whereas some bluetooth speakers try to be super flashy, the Sub Sonic is the polar opposite. Dressed all in a matte, soft-touch, black finish, it’s immediately clear the design team wanted to play it low key here. To some, that’s a turn off. To us, it is neither here nor there. If done right it looks really slick. And in this particular case, Red Planet did a good job without overdoing it. Besides the small assortment of switches, LED indicator and text along the bottom permitter of the Sub Sonic and obvious company branding, it’s clean. Speaking of switches, the back/pause/play/forward one is quite handy to have especially if you’re carrying this in your hand and have your phone in your pocket. Nice touch.
When we’re looking at something this small, we really have to reign in our expectations. It’s 2014 – not 2314. There’s only so much you can do with a speaker of this size. And given the Sub Sonic’s size, we think Red Planet did good job. Lows are apparent and discernible though not terribly punchy or deep (again, for obvious reasons). Highs and mid ranges are well balanced out, though, at the higher volume ranges the mid range gets a bit overpowering and a tiny bit of distortion starts creeping in. But only slight.
One other thing worth mentioning is that we did experience some finicky pairing situations where the Sub Sonic just didn’t want to pair to either our iPhone 5s running iOS 8.0.2 or an HTC M8 running the latest 4.4.3 release. Also, sometimes we’d get an error that pairing was unsuccessful but clearing the message would show a now correctly paired speaker. Restarting the phone usually solved the issue.
Red Planet Sounds has the Sub Sonic priced at $59.99. At first glance, sixty bucks might seem like a lot for something this small and not so powerful. We can understand the apprehension for some. But we tend to focus on quality over quantity here at Bitbitbyte. Better quality costs money, as does miniaturization. The smaller you make something, the more expensive it becomes to make. All in all, the Sub Sonic is a rather surprising performer in terms of audio quality and certainly worth the price if that plus a very pocketable speaker are your two main priorities.
Product Page: Sub Sonic by Red Planet Sounds $59.99