The 808 Audio Hex SL packs a lot of audio punch for an “ultra-portable” speaker. And the price is reasonable: about $60.
Small enough to fit in a cup holder, the Hex SL — available in red, blue, black, and white — lets you play music wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad. Its rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery provides up to 12 hours of play at normal volume. It would be nice if there was a battery life indicator to tell how much charge is left, but there’s not.
The Hex SL is easy to pair and connect. All you have to do is turn Bluetooth on in your iOS device (Settings -> Bluetooth), select “808 Hex SL,” and you’re connected. Extra points to the folks at 808Audio for adding the ability to adjust the volume of the Hex SL via the volume buttons on your iDevice. Plus, there’s an AUX input cable for connecting to non-Bluetooth devices.
With some wireless speakers, I’ve had a problem with disconnects as I moved about my house. Not so with the Hex SL. The connection remains solid, as long as you stay within the 30-foot wireless range.
The sound quality is good, but not great. Of course, you don’t expect that in a speaker this size. The Hex SL is designed to provide decent sound in a compact, portable design, which it does well. The bass is acceptably deep, and the mids and highs are clear. However, once you crank the volume up to a high level, there’s some distortion, especially with the bass.
The design of the Hex SL is impressive. It’s made of metal, not plastic, so is more sturdy than most portable speakers in its price range.
The Hex SL won’t serve as your main speaker if you love pristine audio. However, for casual and on-the-go listening, it’s a fine product.