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Libratone One Click review

Andrew Williams

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Libratone One Click
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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Looks smart
  • Clever capacitive volume control
  • Loud and powerful for size
  • Customisable

Cons

  • Several smaller speakers sound better

Key Features

  • Bluetooth
  • 3-inch woofer
  • 1-inch tweeter
  • Dual passive radiators
  • Customisable handle
  • Manufacturer: Libratone
  • Review Price: £139.00

What is the Libratone One Click?

The Libratone One Click is a portable Bluetooth speaker just begging for its own glossy magazine spread.

It earns near-top marks for design and looks great. It’s super-loud too, although in terms of pure sound quality, you can do better at the price. The Libratone One Click sells for £139, which is £10 less than our current favourite, the Bose SoundLink Mini II.

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Libratone One Click – Design and Features

The majority of mid-price portable wireless speakers sport a rectangular "brick" design, as we've seen in the Bose SoundLink Mini II, the Pure Voca, the Jam Heavy Metal and others.

The Libratone One Click is more Bluetooth speaker clutch bag. It’s slightly bigger than the usual similar designed speaker, but it isn't as thick. It's about the size of your average hardback book. This is no “me too” Bluetooth speaker, and has several hardware features worth celebrating.

Rather than being one slab of speaker, the Libratone One Click has a speaker core and a rubbery outer part that forms the speaker’s sides.

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On this rubber shell are five humps. They give the speaker a look of low-key ruggedness, but there’s more to it than that.

In the box are two metal fasteners and a rubbery hoop. Each is able to fit into any of these five humps along the One Click's sides, and a rubber strap forms a carry handle when attached to the metal fasteners.

I haven't previously reviewed a Bluetooth speaker that offers this level of customisability: it can be a plain speaker, one with a carry handle, or one with a hook that will let you hang the Libratone One Click on the wall.

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Libratone also colour-matches each part of the One Click’s outer casing; the green version is particularly striking. It's available in black and white shades, too.

The front and back of the outer shell are covered with a fabric mesh, which unusually offers some cushioning and is a returning element from Libratone's other speakers. The One Click has a tactile quality to it, and this level of attention to detail in a speaker with a mainstream price is refreshing. It’s even splash-resistant.

The final extra that shows how well Libratone has nailed the styling of the One Click is the "bird" logo on the front – and it isn't present only in the capacity to look attractive; this is a capacitive button and volume controller. Trace your finger around it and LEDs pop up to show the current volume level and they follow your finger as you draw a circle around the circumference.

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On the inside, the Libratone One Click is far more familiar. This is a Bluetooth speaker and doesn’t have Wi-Fi or a radio tuner, but it does have an aux input that sits under a carefully hidden rubbery flap on its rear. This is also where you'll find the micro-USB port for charging the battery.

Libratone claims that the One Click will last 12 hours off a single charge, with the speaker at around 60% volume. A microphone will let the device function as a speakerphone, and two Click speakers can also be made into a stereo pair using the Libratone app if you wish.

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Libratone One Click – Sound Quality

Most speakers at this price tend to use a couple of tiny drivers backed up by a bass radiator. This amplifies bass frequencies, making it possible to achieve impressive low-end power from a tiny box.

The Libratone makes full use of its more generous size, with one small treble driver, one larger 3-inch bass driver and a passive radiator. This should, in theory, give it greater control over its low-end frequencies.

Good parts of the Libratone One Click sound include the fact that it's able to go quite loud, it doesn't distort at higher volumes, and sound is fairly clear. If you own a DAB radio or an older small speaker, the One Click is likely to sound much bigger and far more powerful by comparison.

Consistent with its use of a larger main driver, the Libratone One Click offers up solid bass for a small unit, avoiding any sense of sounding small or thin.

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The Libratone One Click's problem comes by way of the huge number of capable small speakers around at this price, with several offering better tone and a more disciplined sound.

The bass isn't entirely well controlled, displaying a tendency to boom out a little. This results in poorer tonal balance than a speaker such as the Bose SoundLink Mini II. There’s a bass emphasis in the Bose, but the low-end comes across as more taut.

Quality of the mid-range is passable, leaving the treble to deal with vocals. The result is that sound comes across a little processed. Lead vocals sound a little unnatural when compared to some other speakers.

Listen to the Libratone One Click in isolation and you’ll probably conclude it's very good, but not amazing. It will prove a worthy companion for BBQs and outdoor gatherings aided by its splash resistance for when the weather takes a predictable turn for the worse. However, the Riva S offers a sound that's proper hi-fi by comparison. The Riva is £60 more expensive and has a less funky design, however.

Libratone One Click

Should you buy the Libratone One Click?

The Libratone One Click trades successfully on the fact that it will be a feature of a room, not simply a box sat in the corner somewhere.

While larger than some other speakers at this price, it earns plenty of portability points with its customisable carry handle.

It does a little less well on sound quality. The Libratone One Click is loud and powerful, but several speakers in this class sound more refined. These include the Bose SoundLink Mini, the much cheaper Jam Heavy Metal and the class leader in terms of sound quality, the Riva S.

There’s more to a lifestyle speaker such as this than pure audio quality, though, so if a rectangular brick just won’t cut it then the Libratone One Click is a solid buy.

Verdict

A middle-ranking contender for sound, but a smart customisable design earns it serious lifestyle cred.

Overall Score

8
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