Bluetooth speaker technology is continually getting less expensive, allowing companies to come up with smaller and more basic speakers that can be paired with an iPhone or other Bluetooth device. Adaptive Sound Technologies’ new LectroFan micro is a basic no-frills pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a sound machine, providing ten unique digital sounds as well as the ability to play audio from your iPhone, iPad, or Bluetooth-equipped iPod. It can also be used as a speakerphone.
LectroFan micro comes with the unit itself and a USB-A to micro-USB charging cable; like most lower-end speakers we’ve looked at, you’ll need to supply your own USB power source to charge it. The company promises that a four-hour charge will provide up to six hours of use as a Bluetooth speaker or 16 hours as a sound generator. Three buttons on the base of the speaker provide for power, mode, volume, and track navigation control. A single short press on the power button activates sleep-sound mode, which is ready to go out of the box without needing to pair with a Bluetooth device. A total of ten sounds can be cycled through with the previous/next buttons, including five fan sounds, four white noise sounds, and an ocean sound. The previous/next buttons can also be held for longer presses to adjust the volume up or down. Pairing to an iPhone or other Bluetooth device involves holding down the power button from the “off” state until the speaker emits a distinct beep; once paired, the same process is used to power on the speaker in Bluetooth mode. Since the power button also doubles as a play-pause button, you’ll also need to hold it down to turn the speaker off again from the Bluetooth speaker mode. It’s also worth noting that there’s no way to switch directly from sleep-sound mode into Bluetooth speaker mode without powering the speaker off first, meaning that it takes two presses of the power button to change modes.
LecroFan micro’s upper speaker portion swivels on the base so you can adjust it to whatever angle works best — from a horizontal position radiating upward to about an 80-degree angle, when fully collapsed, the unit is basically pocketable. Sound quality isn’t something that’s even worth really discussing here — it sounds pretty much like you’d expect a $35 speaker to sound. It’s definitely better than the built-in speakers on the iPhone 7 Plus for most purposes, but to be fair that’s not saying very much. That said, it does get considerably louder than we expected for a speaker of its size, although depending on what you’re listening to, you’ll definitely get a bit of distortion in the higher end; oddly we encountered less distortion when playing music through the speaker than we did when using it as a speakerphone. Volume control also doesn’t appear to be active in speakerphone mode, either from the buttons on the side of the unit or the iPhone itself; when being used as a speakerphone, output is fixed at whatever volume was last used for audio playback. Speakerphone call quality was otherwise adequate on both ends of a call — about on par with using speakerphone mode on the iPhone itself.
LectroFan micro is a bit tricky to rate based on our usual standards here at iLounge. Taken purely as a Bluetooth speaker, it’s really nothing special, and for $15-25 more you get into the price range of considerably better-sounding solutions like the JBL Clip 2 and Fabriq. That said, however, while it’s clear what choice we would make it we were looking purely for an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, LectroFan micro has a bit more going for it, and is targeted at a slightly different market. Its compact size and built-in sleep-sound capabilities will definitely be a draw for somebody who relies on white noise generators to help them sleep, especially when travelling. While a number of iOS sleep-sound apps are available, there’s definitely a convenience to something that you can just switch on. While we don’t think anybody would want to use LectroFan micro for extended music listening, it works well enough for what it is — a $35 compact speaker and sound generator.
Company and Price
Company: Adaptive Sound Technologies
Model: LectroFan micro Wireless