Big, dumb, and a lot of fun, the Halo 100 is a party speaker that wins you over with its value, high maximum volume and respectable — if not exactly remarkable — sound quality.
- Good value
- Can go real loud with real confidence
- Integrated battery
- Limited dynamics
- Not exactly subtle, is it?
- LED lightingYou can alter the colour and behaviour of the light strips in the Tronsmart app
- 18-hour battery lifeThe internal battery can also be used to charge your phone, through a USB port on the back.
- IPX6 water resistanceThis speaker can handle rain, no problem, and anything below fully dropping the Halo 100 in water.
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is an outdoor party speaker. It doesn’t cost a fortune, has bigger, and more, drivers than the average wireless speaker and can project audio with real force.
It’s big, kinda dumb, and a lot of fun. You can even get the Tronsmart Halo 100 with a karaoke-ready microphone, in the Halo 110.
Tronsmart doesn’t offer standard-setting audio. The Halo 100’s dynamic range is a bit limited, and the sound cone is perhaps a bit narrower than the home audio norm, but this makes sense when it’s a speaker made in part for the outdoors. I thought I might hate this speaker, but I like it at £109.99. And at the time of review you can buy it for a lot less online.
- Plastic casing, textured metal grille
- Customisable LED lighting
- IPX6 water resistance
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is like a mini PA speaker, the style you might see at a venue, or in the arsenal of a street performer. However, it’s still significantly larger than the average Bluetooth speaker.
This is not something designed to blend in to the décor of a stylish living room. Instead, Tronsmart is out to grab attention with RGB-lit speaker drivers. The two tweeters towards the top and the big bass driver both get LED illumination.
While the Tronsmart app doesn’t give you quite the level of control of a LIFX or Philips Hue smart bulb, there are multiple profiles that alter the LEDs colour palette and behaviour. These include one that makes the lights react, vaguely, to the music.
It is a party speaker, no doubt. It’s also a pretty practical one. The Tronsmart Halo 100 has a rubber handle, to make its 2.7kg weight more luggable. Its black plastic housing should be fairly forgiving of the odd knock or scrape, and all the speaker drivers sit behind a metal grille.
The Halo 100 is even water resistant. This helps to explain why the top controls are part of a rubber panel, rather than using gappy buttons, while a rubber flap on the back keeps the sockets safe from water.
Tronsmart rates the water resistance at IPX6, the level below the one that indicates something can withstand total submersion. The Halo 100 can handle heavy rain and high pressure sprays. No storm can stop the music (or off-key karaoke) with this little guy.
- 18-hour battery life
- microSD slot for built-in storage
This is primarily a simple Bluetooth speaker, and one without support for fancy codecs like aptX and aptX HD. However, you can also plug in an analogue source using the 3.5mm socket on the back, or play tunes through a microSD card — again, there’s a slot on the back.
The Tronsmart Halo 100 can even charge your phone, or another device, using the USB-A port and the 6000mAh battery. That may not sound like too high a battery capacity, but it’s a higher voltage battery than a phone uses — its “true” capacity is 44Wh, similar to that of some portable laptops.
Tronsmart says it can last up to 18 hours, but this will not be the case if you let it rip. This thing can get loud.
- Sounds confident at high volumes
- Has a narrower sweet spot than more conventional wireless units
- Not the last word in fidelity, but an enjoyable enough sound
The Tronsmart Halo 100 may be a budget XL-size wireless speaker, but its driver array is impressive in the way it aims to robustly cover each part of the frequency range.
Right up front we have the 4.53-inch woofer. This is the showpiece. However, the real sign Tronsmart knows what it’s doing is that there’s actually a 5.6-inch passive radiator behind this, used to deliver the very lowest rumbly tones.
The Halo 100 also has two 2.09-inch upper-mid range speakers and a 1.22-inch tweeter. Five drivers in a speaker this cheap? While it’s no real indicator of sound quality, the pounds/dollars per speaker cone here is pretty damn good.
How does it sound? The Halo 100 is unlikely to reveal intricate new details in your favourite songs, elements you’ve never heard or noticed before, but it does provide a damn good time.
Here’s why I think the Halo 100 is largely a success — it has among the most confident low and sub-bass I’ve heard in a wireless speaker this affordable, and yet avoids the gnarly boominess of a speaker that aims for an all-round “bassy” tone. I was half expecting a horror show on turning the Tronsmart on, and that’s not what you get here at all. It sounds more tasteful than it looks, but still packs serious punch.
Its maximum volume is extremely high for an affordable consumer grade wireless speaker, and it holds its composure beyond the point at which you can realistically use the speaker indoors without getting complaints from your neighbours. The Halo 100 needs this volume in its reserves if it is to hold up outdoors, where so much sound is lost to the air.
This also informs another key part to note here. The Halo 100, like a classic hi-fi speaker, has a narrower sweet spot than most mainstream wireless speakers. If you want sound to travel well over distances outdoors, you want to limit the size of the “cone” of sound it projects. I think this is why Tronsmart was keen to send me a pair of the Halo 100s. If you want that lush room-saturating effect with a Halo, you may want to consider two of these. A stereo pair feature is right there in the app, although I imagine almost all Halo 100 buyers will end up with a single speaker.
A mostly glowing report for the Halo 100 then? Well, it is not the most musical or insightful of speakers. Its skills are all about the blunt forces of volume, bass depth and projection. Compared to the very best speakers that are just a fraction of the size, the Tronsmart can sound flat, two-dimensional, at times. It has a good frequency range, but dynamic range? It’s not so hot.
This, and a design some might call obnoxious, is why I wouldn’t recommend the Halo 100 as an all-purpose at-home casual listening speaker. However, on its own terms, and after considering its fairly low cost, the Tronsmart is quite a strong prospect.
Should you buy it?
Speakers for large groups: If you’re looking for a big speaker for parties or large outdoor BBQs, the Halo 100 fits the bill and does not cost a fortune.
If you’re of more discerning taste: While the speaker sounds decent enough, it’s not going to blow the more picky among you away, especially when not leaning on its ability to blast out tunes at high volumes.
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is an outdoor-friendly party speaker that gets loud, goes deep, and has light-up LED illumination, is good value and offers a good spread of basic features.
In the classic Tronsmart vein, it does what it sets out to so well, at a compelling price. Is it a refined, high fidelity music speaker? While its tonal balance is entirely respectable, it predictably doesn’t pull off an actual high-end sound character. It does come across a little dynamically flat compared to some speakers around the price that have much smaller ambitions in terms of volume, projection and sheer scale of sound.
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Tested for more than a week
Tested with real world use
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It has IPX6 water resistance, strong enough to cope with most forms of weather.
No, you need the Halo 110 for karaoke-ready fun.
It has a 3.5mm input, as well as a microSD slot.
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