Anyone who wants to enjoy music without headphones in the park or by the lake in summer now has a large selection of mobile loudspeakers that can be connected wirelessly to smartphones and other devices. Audio specialist Creative has launched the Muvo 2 and Muvo 2c, two devices with interesting features and appealing looks, which we will test in the following review for their suitability as mobile outdoor sound wonders.
Features and Technology
Both units are available in different colours and can be operated in pairs with different units of the same series. In addition, the handy boxes are IP66 certified, which makes them immune to weather influences such as rain or splashing water. Together with the extremely compact dimensions and the relatively low weight, this is incentive enough to take a closer look at the Muvos.
On the outside, the two loudspeakers differ in size, weight and design. So the Muvo 2c with 165 g is a little more than half the size and weight of its big brother and offers only one instead of two full-range drivers, which are coupled with a passive diaphragm for the bass range analog to its big brother. On the Muvo 2c, however, the passive diaphragm is relatively unprotected on the back of the case. Care must be taken during handling and especially during transport together with sharp objects!
Behind a rubber tab are the connections for charging and controlling the compact boxes. Both devices offer the universal Micro USB port as well as an analog mini jack input and a slot for a Micro SD card. The latter is an interesting option because it allows you to retrieve music relatively quickly and easily, even if there is no pairing-capable device or other data source nearby. The widely used Bluetooth 4.2 standard is used for wireless communication and pairing is easy with the help of the quick start guide. Signal tones and two LEDs indicate a successful connection or the operating status and modes. The speakers do not offer advanced Aptx connectivity, but can play high-resolution audio formats such as FLAC or WAV.
The Muvo 2 surprises with a relatively balanced sound for a mobile loudspeaker that is not extremely bass-heavy. This is especially advantageous at medium and high volumes, where the Muvo 2 delivers a comparatively clear and crisp sound. At low volumes, however, the bass accentuation that is otherwise predominant in many loudspeakers of this class is sometimes missed. The Muvo 2c, on the other hand, has a much more bass-heavy tuning, which makes for good sound, especially at low volumes.
As the volume rises, however, the picture changes: here the Muvo 2 can show off its higher performance and larger diaphragm area to advantage and offers a sound that is convincing in many respects. With the Muvo2C, on the other hand, high volumes with bass-heavy music can lead to excessive demands. It overdrives earlier and can’t even come close to the Muvo 2 level. All in all, however, both compact loudspeakers offer a decent sound compared to their size and low weight, which should be more than sufficient for mobile use, especially in combination with the battery life of around 10 hours. Depending on the input source, however, the sound also differs. While the MicroSD card and the USB input provide the loudest and fullest level here, this drops noticeably via Bluetooth, which mainly affects the maximum possible volume.
The somewhat sluggish and imprecise volume control as well as the absence of skip keys are noticeable negatively. For example, to change a title from the MicroSD card, two keys have to be pressed simultaneously, which often fails due to the resistance of the keys to be overcome. The Muvo 2c has additional overlaps due to the missing start/pause key. Depending on the input level, the gradations between one keystroke of the volume keys are somewhat imprecise and slightly delayed, which can be annoying especially at low levels and with fast level changes.
Otherwise, the operation is at least with the help of the quick start guide quite easy to understand and does not stand out from competing products. The M button is used to select the respective input source, while the LED on the right reflects it in colour. By pressing twice, however, you are informed about the charge status of the battery. If they are paired with a smartphone, both devices can also be used with a microphone as a hands-free device. Both boxes can be placed relatively far from the playback device. Even several thin walls allow distances of up to almost 10 metres. Especially in combination with the possibility to connect two boxes, this results in interesting options for the sound reinforcement of several rooms.
Creative offers numerous apps for its products. However, these usually only support certain generations of devices. For the Muvo series you need the Sound Blaster Connect App, whose probably most interesting feature is a player for the playback of the contents on the SD card. In this respect, the somewhat cumbersome control at the touch of a button is put into perspective, so that even smartphones without expandable memory can indirectly play back large music collections on the SD card. For PC and MAC, the Sound Blaster Control Panel software can only be used to control different equalizer settings for movies and music and to select corresponding profiles.
Conclusion on Creative Muvo 2 & Muvo 2c
All in all Creative with the Muvo 2 and the Muvo 2c two interesting Bluetooth loudspeakers for individual demands, which offer really convincing features and flexible connection options. But the very light and small speakers are also recommendable in terms of sound quality. In connection with the very long battery life and the splash water protection, music can be called up in all situations. Only the somewhat cumbersome operation and lack of connectivity features could be perceived as annoying by some users, but due to the positive overall impression of the mobile Bluetooth speakers they can easily get over it.