The Creative Muvo 2c is a tiny Bluetooth speaker, the kind you’d use to get better sound out of your phone.
It costs £40 and packs in an almost ridiculous array of features, including a standalone MP3 player. Thanks to a smart bass radiator, it’s a real pocket rocket, too.
Cheaper competition comes from the Jam Classic 2.0, one of the most popular pocket-money Bluetooth speakers, but the Creative Muvo 2c sounds better.
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The Creative Muvo 2c is a cute little speaker. My first impression on using it was that it would make a great gift for a pre-teen or a young teenager. However, its smart design should also please a more discerning crowd.
It fits in one hand, and is only a few inches thick. The Muvo 2c would easily fit in a coat pocket, or – if you don’t mind a backside bulge – the rear pocket of your jeans.
And for £40, what it can do for the size is pretty impressive.
First, it’s splash-proof, thanks to a rubbery seal that covers ports on the side. Under the flap you'll find a 3.5mm aux input, a micro-USB charge socket and a microSD card slot. This last one is what sets the Muvo 2c apart from other dinky speakers – it also works as a tiny little boombox. Load some tunes onto a microSD, plug it in and it will automatically play your music when set to the MP3 player mode.
There's no screen to enable you to switch between albums, however – the tracks just play in sequence. But the Muvo 2c is a great way to keep a favourite album or two to hand, and will save valuable phone battery. It will even play FLAC files.
Switching between modes is achieved through the little “M” button on the Muvo 2c's top, and a multi-colour LED beside it lets you know which mode you’re in. The modes are Bluetooth (blue), aux in (green), MP3 player (yellow) and USB audio (purple).
That last one is the other killer feature. You can plug a Muvo 2c directly into your laptop and it will act as your soundcard – and, of course, a speaker. An optional Sound Blaster app (Windows/Mac) lets you apply sound profiles and tweak the EQ, too.
There are presets for gaming, movies and music, although they’re more subtle than most. Gaming amps up the treble detail-boosting Crystalliser effect; Movies dims down the mids and treble to give the bass more focus; and Music is a comfortable middle-ground.
A spoiler: it sounds much better than your integrated laptop speakers. Creative is working on getting similar EQ features through a Bluetooth connection as well, but at the time of writing it doesn’t seem to be supported by the existing Sound Blaster Central app.
The Muvo 2c lasts 5-6 hours between charges, which is only fair stamina. However, at this size you have to accept there's only so much room available for the battery.
The device is available in four colours – green, black, red or blue – and doesn’t feel like a cheap "market stall"-style product. The Muvo 2c's body is soft-touch plastic, the grille is painted aluminium with a colour to match or offset the body shade.
Two Muvo 2cs can be paired together as well. I'd normally dismiss the pairing of tiny speakers as a gimmick, but Creative sells a two-pack of these units, saving you £16 in the process, and they’d make a great present if you have two kids.
Pairing them via the top buttons requires some thumb acrobatics, but takes only a minute. It turns these mono speakers into a stereo pair, letting you widen the soundstage for a much more impressive effect.
I think it’s the sound quality of a single Creative Muvo 2c that really matters, though, and here it doesn’t disappoint. Its most notable advantage is the panel on the back. This is a passive radiator, a little like a tiny subwoofer that’s powered by the air movement of the main driver on the front. It vibrates back and forth, moving much more air than the powered driver to create significantly more bass.
Next to the Jam Classic 2.0, the Muvo 2c sounds far more powerful and much fuller. It makes the Jam speaker’s kick drum hits sound like someone flicking a bin lid. The Creative, on the other hand, can deliver convincing thuds.
The bass isn’t huge chest-shaking stuff, of course, but for the size it’s great. It's only a pity that, as I write this, the weather is turning to the point where days spent hanging around in the park listening to some tunes are looking highly unlikely. Maybe next year.
One of the most impressive parts of the sound from a nerdy perspective is that the Muvo 2c doesn't appear to distort significantly even at maximum volume. The speaker clearly manages its output cleverly to avoid audible strain.
Kamasi Washington’s "Askim" shows this in action pretty well. It’s a track that starts with a double bass playing solo, sounding almost astoundingly good through the tiny Muvo 2c. However, as the rest of the band comes in, the weight of that double bass is compressed as the driver pair divides its limited resources with the rest of the mix.
This happens in all good smaller Bluetooth speakers. The extent to which the tiny Muvo 2c has to do it means the impressions of “big fat bass” varies from track to track, particularly when played at higher volumes.
That same compression effect can leave the mids sounding a little hard, a bit basic and thin in busier arrangements. However, designing a decent small Bluetooth speaker is about juggling compromises, and Creative has done a fab job here. Even the much larger Anker Soundcore uses a bass port rather than a passive radiator, and ports tend to be significantly less effective in a small speaker.
You don't get ultra-high fidelity sound, but the tonal quality and weight of the output is still a league or two above what most ultra-compact Bluetooth speakers provide.
The Creative Muvo 2c is a great little portable speaker, one that lifts itself above the crowd of mini-models with a well-designed bass radiator and more features than some £200 boxes.
It’s the best-sounding speaker of this size that I’ve heard. Sure, there are compromises, but the Muvo 2c displays the punch and weight normally associated with larger boxes.
If you’re considering a stereo pair of these just for the sound benefits, I’d suggest looking at the Jam Heavy Metal instead. At £69, it’s a better buy if you don’t mind a larger enclosure. Creative's own Muvo Mini is another great alternative if you don't mind a larger body, and won't need USB audio or local playback. If a tiny speaker is absolutely what you’re after, though, the Creative Muvo 2c earns a big thumbs-up.
One of the best miniature Bluetooth speakers money can buy.
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