Separating it from the troves of Bluetooth speakers on the market, the Lava BrightSounds 2 throws in added features that's likely to appeal to festival-goers and campers alike. Not only will this unit pump out tunes, so you’re not all sat around singing Kumbaya, but it also includes an integrated lamp and a USB port for charging your tablet or smartphone.
Unfortunately, while this all sounds great on paper, the BrightSounds 2’s delivery on these promises falls a little short – but, ultimately, its budget-friendly price means that it may still be worth considering.
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At around the same size and shape as an Amazon Echo, the BrightSounds 2 isn’t the most portable Bluetooth speaker around. It’s the sort of device you can happily take along with you on a camping or caravan trip, but throw it in a backpack and you’ll be left with little room for anything else. At least it isn't particularly heavy at 624g.
The is mainly down to the lamp, which takes up about three-quarters of the overall height; only the top part is the Bluetooth speaker. I actually wish the Bluetooth speaker component was detachable, for when you have no need for the lamp.
The speaker part of the BrightSounds 2 is available in a choice of tasteful pastel shades, including blue, green, mustard, pink and teal.
A brown leather handle fixes to the speaker and lets you carry the speaker around like an old oil lamp. If you’re looking for Halloween costume accessories for next year, you could dress one of these up blast out spooky music as you haunt your friends. Just a thought.
On the top of the speaker you’ll find controls for Play/Pause as well as answering calls, volume adjustment and a button for turning on the lamp.
You can adjust its brightness by holding down the lamp button, with the light becoming gradually dimmer until it’s at its lowest setting. Holding it down again brings it back up to maximum brightness. While the lamp isn't bright enough to illuminate a room, as a bedside lamp it works well. It’s also great for a bit of mood lighting to accompany your music.
On the rear of the speaker is a micro-USB port for charging and a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for connecting a wired music source instead of Bluetooth.
There’s also a full-size USB port to charge your devices, but since there’s only a 4,400mAh battery inside the unit, it will provide around one and a half charges of most smartphones. Of course, this is also at the expense at music playback time. Still, it’s a handy option for topping up on the go.
All the ports are tucked away behind a rubber flap, and the BrightSounds 2 is IPX4 rated, so it should survive being splashed with water.
Battery life is rated at 36 hours at a medium volume. Although I didn't try playing it continuously for that long, I never had to charge during my two weeks with the unit, so with conservative use this doesn’t sound too far off that mark.
Sound quality is about what you'd expect of a Bluetooth speaker for this price and size – keeping in mind the actual size of the speaker component. There’s only a single 5W driver inside.
Bass is rather anaemic, leaving electronic music and hip hop sounding a little flat and lifeless. There’s just no real presence to the low registers. The mids and treble fare better, with decent clarity and detail for the money.
Unfortunately, the BrightSounds 2’s biggest issue is volume – it just isn't loud enough to really deliver when outdoors. It’s fine when used in a small room as a bedside music-playing-lamp, but take it outside and its music becomes lost to anyone sat further away. If you’re looking for something to deliver volume outdoors, the UE Roll 2 is a much better bet.
While Lava is marketing the BrightSounds 2 as the "perfect companion for the festival season", it isn't that great a performer when taken outdoors due to a lack of volume – even if that lamp is rather handy.
If you’re looking for a speaker to use around the house, it’s still worth a pop at £40 – and it makes a good bedside Bluetooth speaker for its lamp capabilities, too. However, if sound quality is the priority for the price, then the Creative Muvo 2c is a better option.
The Lava BrightSounds 2 has some useful added features but it isn't the best choice for outdoor use.
Watch: Portable and Bluetooth speaker buying guide