Sand, sea and salt. As surfers, we don't generally operate in environments particularly suitable for electronics. Nixon are trying to address that with their range of Blasters, letting us listen to our music wherever and whenever we want.
A quick glance around the office, on public transport or in the street will confirm it; music has become a staple of modern life. Nixon strives to embrace the principles of functional design; stuff that looks good and works. They're not afraid to think outside the box, incorporating wicked colourways and novel tech into their core watch collections. Now they're looking at taking on audio...
Borne of the Nixon's founders' desire to create a speaker that wouldn't mind being dropped off a skate ramp or inadvertently covered in sand, the £89.99 Nixon Mini Blasters are shock, sand and water resistant. In short, they've done a pretty good job, and a quick internet search will reveal mostly 4 or 5 star reviews.
We've got to hand it to Nixon, these things are tough, and they look rad. We've (literally) kicked them around the office, dropped them off the stairs and splashed them with fairly liberal amounts of water, without any apparent effect. Compared to competing wireless speakers, these are built to take a battering. The silicone outer feels lovely and the leash string style strap is a nice touch.
Portability is good too. Small, convenient & only 340g, they won't weigh down a bag or clutter a desk. 6-8 hours play time should suffice for most situations, and fully re-charging the unit takes about 3 hours from an AC source. The battery indicator glows red to indicate low battery and, really usefully, if you connect with an iOS device, you can also see the Blaster battery status.
While it's not going to beat the likes of wireless speakers from Bose or Sony for sound quality, it's actually pretty good, particularly when synced up with a second Mini Blaster. Surprisingly, it packs a lot of punch in the kick range, and the mid to top end stays pretty tight until the volume is cranked right up. The only place it lacks is in the low bass end but that's probably more a consequence of it being a small speaker than anything else. If you're a fan of dubstep wobbles it might not rock your world, but for anything else it's tight. Pair it up with another Blaster and it gets really good. We've paired them up in the office and the sound is clear and there's no latency between the two.
It ticks all the boxes: Bluetooth, an aux input and pairing with a second Mini Blaster. In practice, pairing with a phone is simple, and the voice prompts on the device (provided by the inimitable Sal Masekela) are brilliant. We haven't been able to test them all, but all of our music apps, including Spotify and SoundCloud played fine. Initially, we found it a bit tricky to pair up 2 Blasters with a phone, and the abridged instructions on the box didn't help.
However, after following the manual we had less trouble, although we did have to wait a bit longer than the 5 seconds claimed for the voice prompts to confirm that we were 'ready for the multi-pairing'. Unexpectedly, it contains a microphone and the buttons on the Blaster are able to answer / end calls to your phone, turning the Mini Blaster into a fully fledged 'speaker phone'. Handy.
We'd agree with the reviewers. It's a great little speaker for anyone who wants their music with them anywhere and, for £89.99, it's decent value. It looks absolutely awesome, sounds good and, if you can follow instructions, pairing isn't difficult. Whether you're on the beach, in the skate park, at a festival, or just at home, this speaker nails it: definitely MSW recommended.