One of the most interesting things to come out of the manufacturing boom in China is the new crop of brands — perhaps the most notable of which is Anker — that sell direct to the consumer, rather than producing goods for other brands that do little more than change the label and add margin. These brands have gained internet fame, since their products are often surprisingly reliable considering their low prices. Tronsmart is one such brand. Based out of Shenzen, China, Tronsmart offers a wide range of electronics, including portable batteries, cables, and Bluetooth audio gear. Up for review today is the Tronsmart Element T6 Bluetooth speaker. Though we think it could benefit from a little less bass boost, we’re impressed with this device.
The Element T6 comes with a minimal set of accessories — just a charging cable and 3.5mm auxiliary audio cable. A carrying case might have been nice, but we can hardly complain at this price point. If excluding additional accessories made it possible for Tronsmart to put more into the Element T6’s design, we think it was a wise decision. The Element T6 is cylindrical in shape, just slightly wider than a soda can and one-and-a-half times as tall. Inside the Element T6 are three active drivers — two circular full-range drivers and one pill-shaped bass driver. On the bottom of the speaker, mostly hidden from view, is a 1.5-inch passive radiator which moves violently during tracks with heavy bass and transmits palplable vibrations through whatever surface the Element T6 is resting on. Though Tronsmart advertises the Element T6 as having “360 sound,” the drivers are only located on two sides of the device — having a round case doesn’t mean the sound is emitted in all directions at the same time. Still, the Element T6 has no problem filling a room with sound, even if that sound is a little bassier than the original recording.
We are impressed by the apparent quality of the Element T6’s build. Most of the case is covered in black fabric or soft-touch plastic, and the entire speaker feels solid and substantial. On top of the speaker are a standard set of controls and a silver rotating volume control. This volume ring feels solid, moving with positive clicks. There’s no volume indicator and the speaker’s volume is not linked to that of the paired device — you know when you’ve reached maximum or minimum volume by the flashing of a LED-backlit ring just above the volume control. The bottom of the speaker features three silicone feet intended to keep the Element T6 from moving — a nice touch, except that with very bassy songs, we watched as the speaker danced across the tabletop, propelled by the passive radiator.
Using the Element T6 is easy. It paired easily enough, its controls work flawlessly and, as mentioned above, its volume control feels great. In our testing the speaker worked within a range about 30 feet from our iPhone before the signal started to break up. Tronsmart advertises 15 hours of battery — we got about that much life out of the Element T6, though in a speaker of this size, it shouldn’t be hard to stash a large battery. Phone calls work with the Element T6, but we don’t recommend it — phone calls are already of poor audio quality, and speakers tuned for popular music tend to make them sound even muddier.
As we’ve alluded to above, our only real gripe with the Element T6 is its overemphasized bass. Tronsmart advertises “deep and dynamic bass;” the Element T6 delivers on that promise, but not much more. The low-end coming out of this speaker is big, but not well-defined. It made our test bench vibrate, but did so without real clarity. This bass boost tends to overpower the rest of the range, with THUP-THUP low-end masking midrange detail and even dulling female vocals in the upper registers. This reminds us somewhat of the V-Moda Remix — a well-made speaker with a bass emphasis that may be too much for some use cases. We think it’s likely that this bass boost is designed to keep the low-end audible in large rooms or outdoors, but it’s a tradeoff that will turn off some users.
We like the Element T6. Though it may seem that we’ve focused on its bass boost in our review, this is not to say that this speaker’s sound is bad. We think it limits the use cases and potential appeal of this speaker. While it’s probably a great choice for a day at the beach or small party, we don’t think the Element T6 will replace a high-fidelity bookshelf speaker system for your home or office. That said, the Element T6 is a great value, and earns our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Model: Element T6 Bluetooth Speaker