If you are looking for a very portable external speaker that provides superior sound quality, check out the Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth speaker.
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Apple Tech Talk Scorecard
|Excellent sound quality||Battery power only|
Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker – Unboxing
Upon opening the box of the Soundcast VG-1 speaker you find a multi-language User Manual (you can see a copy of it here), which is resting on top of the speaker, which is cradled in a custom fitted foam liner. We almost missed the Accessory Pouch tucked away under the foam. In the pouch is a nylon braided Micro USB cable used to charge the VG-1 speaker, a 1/8” (3.5mm) male-to-male audio cable and a nylon wrist strap that attaches to the side of the Soundcast VG-1.
The speaker measures 6.8” (173mm) long x 2.3” (59mm) wide x 2.9” (74mm) high, and weighs 1 lb (453g). It has a substantial feel to it but is not so heavy or bulky that you would not want to take it with you.
The front and back surfaces have a perforated silver grill with the other surfaces wrapped in a hard black plastic. On the left side of the speaker is a small knurled metal bar that accepts the lanyard to make the speaker easy to carry. On the right side is a small plastic cover which provides access to the Micro USB port for charging the Soundcast VG-1 and two (2) 3.5mm jacks used for input and output connections.
On the top of the speakers is a single LED indicator and a section of buttons covered in a soft rubber. The buttons control power, volume down, volume up and play/pause/phone.
Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker – Specifications
Inside the Soundcast VG-1 are two (2) aluminum drivers with butyl rubber surrounds and a rear-firing weighted passive woofer. The speaker has a frequency range of 80Hz to 20KHz. It has Bluetooth 4.2 technology with six (6) memory slots.
The speaker is rated for play time of up to 15 hours depending on volume. Charging is done through the micro-USB connection and takes about 3.5 hours at 5VDC, 1A. A charging brick is not included but you can use almost any power source including connection to a laptop USB port, external battery or third party power adapter.
The exterior is shock proof and waterproof with an IP67 rating. IP67 means the unit is 100% protected against dust and sand and can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour
Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker – Test Results
External speakers have been around for a while and many that we have listened to have been disappointing in sound quality. We were pleasantly surprised by the Soundcast VG-1.
By design, these are intended to be mobile speakers so we started out by connecting the Soundcast VG-1 to our iPhone XS.
Holding down the power button for about 2 seconds plays a tone and the LED flashes an alternating blue and red, indicating that the VG-1 has entered pairing mode. We opened the Bluetooth option on our iPhone and the VG-1 was almost immediately listed. We accepted the connection request and that was it. The Soundcast VG-1 was paired with out iPhone.
Using iTunes as our music source, we found sound quality to be excellent. We have found many of the speakers in this category to be heavy on the bass and voices tended to be muffled but that was not the case with the Soundcast VG-1. There was a nice balance of lows and highs. Vocals were crisp and clear.
Volume can be controlled either by the volume buttons on the iPhone or with the volume buttons on the speaker.
The Bluetooth connection was very stable and even when we carried the VG-1 away from the iPhone, the music continued uninterrupted and volume controls remained responsive.
The Pause button on the speaker worked well and was almost instantly responsive.
Overall volume was very good. While you would never use the VG-1 to fill a concert hall, there was ample volume for also any reasonable use we could think of.
The audio was not limited to out iTunes library. We looked at several YouTube videos and played some Podcasts, and all of them played through the VG-1 without issue.
The VG-1 can be daisy-chained using the included, or any 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable by connecting the Aux. OUT of one VG-1 to the AUX.IN of another. But the Soundcast VG-1 also supports True Wireless Stereo (TWS). This allows you to link to Soundcast VG-1 units via Bluetooth with the first acting as the left channel and the other unit acting as the right channel.
Finally, in addition to audio output, the Soundcast VG-1 will act as a speakerphone when connected to your iPhone. If a call is received while listening to music, a tap of the Play/Pause button will stop the music and turn the VG-1 into a hands-free speakerphone. It also supports Siri functionality.
Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker – Not Just for iPhone
Like most of the other speakers in this category, the Soundcast VG-1 is considered primarily a portable speaker. But we wondered what would happen if we tried to pair the Soundcast VG-1 with out 2017 MacBook Pro to use instead of the wired speakers we currently have on our desk.
The pairing process of the VG-1 is slightly different if you already have it paired to another device but it is just as easy and within a few seconds, was paired to our MacBook Pro. Sound quality was equally good and the VG-1 had the same abilities to adjust volume or play and pause music in our iTunes library. Using other audio sources like YouTube was also flawless.
The Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker would be a perfect companion for any desktop and would eliminate some of the clutter that can occur from conventional wired speakers. We were a little disappointed that there is no option for an AC power supply, but you could connect the VG-1 to a USB power brick to avoid the need to constantly recharge the battery and with many of today’s power strips including USB ports, there are many options for charging available.
The Bottom Line
As mobile phones have become more versatile, and a primary portable music source, Bluetooth speakers have become very popular and the Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker is a great combination of superior sound quality in a compact, easy to carry form factor.
The two aluminum drivers and rea-facing passive woofer produces crisp clear sound with enough volume capacity to satisfy most situations.
The rugged exterior shell is sock resistant and waterproof with an IP67 rating so you can safely use the VG-1 at the pool or the beach, without fear of damage.
The Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker comes with a one (1) year warranty against manufacturer’s defects and has an MSRP of $149.99 but is available at a discount from Amazon.
We would like to thank the folks at Soundcast for providing the Soundcast VG-1 Bluetooth Speaker for our testing and review.
How do you take your music with you and what’s your favorite external speaker? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below.
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