The Samsung DA-F61 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that provides a convenient way of listening to music from portable devices at home or on your travels. But being a Samsung product there’s an emphasis on style and innovation that sets it apart from its rivals – we just hope its sound quality is good enough to justify the relatively high price tag.
The Samsung DA-F61 is the perfect shape and size for taking around the house or into the garden. It measures just 225mm wide and 46.5mm deep, which will sit on a desk or kitchen worktop without hogging much space. It’s a little disappointing that there’s no handle, but the compact shape isn’t particularly awkward to carry.
It's also styled more glamorously than most Bluetooth speakers. The top and bottom edges are curved, giving the unit an elegant, modern look, while the back is covered in a brushed black finish. The silver mesh covering the entire front panel shimmers alluringly in the light, with a shiny silver strip running down the right hand side.
When activated, this strip houses a few illuminated icons that indicate the selected source (Bluetooth, aux in or SoundShare), mute, Bass mode and power. The Bass indicator light is a welcome inclusion – its absence on previous Samsung audio systems meant you could only gauge if it was activated by listening to it.
The right edge houses a panel of controls. There are three buttons, Mute, Function and Bass, which are shaped into their respective icons, while a power button is found at the bottom. The coolest part, however, is the volume dial at the top, which pops out when pressed. There appears to be no real point to this, other than to keep the unit as compact as possible.
The unit looks gorgeous, but what’s most pleasing about the design is the tough, sturdy build quality. It’s built entirely from metal, and feels solid and heavy in the hand (weighing just over a kilo). It also comes with a brown fabric cover that slides into a groove at the bottom and wraps itself around the front, clipping into place at the top with a magnet. This cover looks a bit odd rolled out in front of the speaker, so it’s best to remove it when in use.
On the back is a flip-out leg that allows you to stand it upright. In the middle is a cluster of sockets, including a 3.5mm minijack input, a USB port for service use and a port for the DC power adapter. The latter lets you connect to the mains and charge the built-in lithium-ion battery. If you’re charging it while the stand is flipped out, the lead can be fed through the gap in the middle.
Even though it’s a simple product on paper, Samsung has made sure it’s bang up to date with the latest features. First up, it uses Bluetooth 3.0, the newest incarnation of the wireless technology, backed up by apt-X CSR to give sound quality an extra boost over the regular A2DP system.
It also supports SoundShare, a nifty feature that lets you beam sound from a compatible Samsung TV to the DA-F61. That way, you can pop the speaker next to you and listen to TV shows without everyone else having to hear the sound coming from the TV speakers.
Next we come to Near Field Communication, or NFC, which simplifies the process of pairing a Bluetooth device with the DA-F61. Hold a compatible device up to the NFC logo on the left hand side, and the speaker switches on and pairs the devices automatically. To use NFC, you’ll need an Android device running Android 4.0 or later – if not you’ll need to download the NFC app.
The DA-F61 offers 10W of amplification, with a main speaker driver made from Neodymium in a bid to improve the clarity of the sound. It's backed up by a passive bass radiator to bulk out the bottom end, while a Power Bass mode to give low frequencies a boost – although we always approach these with a great deal of trepidation.