After bursting back onto the scene last year with the superb Maxell MXSP-SB3000 soundbase, which offers excellent sound quality and generous features for a price that undercuts most rivals, we’re hoping the company brings the same value-for-money ethos to this appealing audio solution.
The MXSP-BT3100 is fairly large compared with many Bluetooth speakers, but hides it well with some attractive styling. The black and grey finish is sleek and tasteful, but it’s the shape that makes the Maxell really stand out – the front section is a single panel of grey speaker mesh that curves forward to create a platform for the dock.
The Lightning connector is positioned in the middle of a gloss-black plastic recess. It supports iPod Nano 7G, iPod Touch 5G, iPhone 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini, but there’s no provision for older Apple devices – for those you’ll have to use Bluetooth or connect using a cable.
In front of the connector is a row of discreet buttons for up-close control. These include power, volume, mode selection and mute. On the back is a 3.5mm minijack input for other portable devices, and a leg that props up the unit on a flat surface. This gets in the way of the socket a little, but isn’t a major problem. You’ll also find two keyholes for wall mounting.
Build quality is disappointingly lightweight, particularly the plasticky back end. The thin support leg feels like it could break quite easily too. We would accept this sort of construction from a £50 speaker, but for over £160 we’d expect something a little more luxurious.
The MXSP-BT3100 sports two 60mm speaker drivers and 2 x 25W power output, with a bass reflex design delivering a ‘high-pressure bass response’. Apart from Bluetooth, there are no other features, which is surprising at this price.
Oddly, the cheaper MXSP-WP2000 (£110.92) boasts a much better spec, including Qi charging wireless charging technology and Bluetooth 4.0 with NFC, apt-X and AAC support – but it’s less powerful.