Tuesday, February 12, 2013

JXD X18 Bluetooth Speaker Review

JXD X18 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Hi readers!

It has been a while since I posted any new materials here. Been busy with studies, all the exams and coursework. With all that behind, now its time for another review of a chinese gadget. It's not a tablet, not a phone, not a headphone but its a portable speaker. The JXD X18 have the honour of being the first portable bluetooth speaker to be reviewed on this blog :)

Marketing and Specifications

The speaker is promoted as the following:

  • Fashionable Water Cube design
  • Super bass: high-accuracy sound cavity seal design and super bass effect
  • Super stereo sound: Use CSR stereo double track chip, double stereo speakers extremely good stereo sound
  • Super function: this mini speaker supports connection with iPhone, iPad, Android mobiles, Tablet PCs. Listening to music, playing games, watching movies, it’s a good choice of fashion and wireless life
  • Convenient: No matter when you at home, meeting friends or travelling, sweet music will always be with you.
X18 - Pink
Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
Transmission Power
Modulation mode
GFSK, 1Mbps, 0.5BT Gaussian
Bluetooth Protocol
Wireless Transmission Range
Normal: 10M, Extreme: 20M
Input Voltage
Charging Current
Working Current
Standby Current
Output Power
Item Size
Package Weight

Price and Packaging

I bought the speaker for around GBP22 (excluding the shipping fees). The packaging was simple and a bit disappointing. It comes in one single brick box.

Inside was the speaker, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a MicroUSB cable to charge the speaker. The included manual is in Chinese, not a surprise but it was in such a bad condition that it would be better if JXD didn't include it in the first place. There is also no charger included. 

Build Quality

I have only been using the speaker for about a week but these are what I found out about the build quality of the speaker. It is solidly built, there is no rattle whatsoever when in use and it doesn't creak even if you apply some pressure to it. 

The front consists only of the speaker grill. 

The top have 4 buttons on it labelled as the power, bluetooth, volume down and volume up buttons.

Nothing on the bottom. Just 4 rubber feet which keep the speaker stationary during use.

On one side of the speaker are the 3.5mm jack if you don't want to use Bluetooth as well as the MicroUSB port for charging.

My unit (unfortunately) comes in the pink variant. The pink paint is pretty durable so far with no chips or scratches. The only problematic part is the back of the speakers where it easily scratches. If you are especially anal (as in picky, not that "anal" :D ) about the cosmetic appearance of your devices then make sure you apply some sort of protection (cellotape?) to the back before actually using the speaker.

The back with plenty of scratches only after a week of abuse.

Sound Quality

The overall sound quality is actually quite good with no particular frequencies being unnecessarily overpowering. To my ears, the speaker sounds balanced although it is leaning a bit on the warmer side. The mids are obviously the dominant part but the treble thankfully does not seem to suffer too much and as a result vocals come out clear and well projected. The treble is actually quite natural sounding but it is definitely recessed compared to the mids.

Under low and medium volume, the bass is there but not as dominant as I would have preferred. It gains more punch and power if you increase the volume but then it would get too loud for me. At stock settings, the speaker has a quite flat response so I was interested how it would react to equalizers. Using equalizer to slightly boost the bass, the sound is more to my liking. The bass can be heard/felt across all the volume without overpowering the rest (provided you don't boost it too much, of course). The impact is as good as you can expect from a speaker this size. If I have to nitpick, I would say that the speaker could attack those bass notes a little more fiercer because as it is, its too soft but then that is just me nitpicking. The bass is also satisfyingly tight most of the time considering the size and price.

The speaker can get really loud. In fact I mainly tested it at 50% volume and below so to not disturb my flatmates. During my limited testing at maximum volume, the speaker held up well producing louder output while keeping the same audio quality. I think the speaker can fill a 10mx10m room quite easily but don't quote me on that :)

It only suffers when playing complex audio with multiple things going on (if you listen to classical music, I am referring to the moments where the singer reach the most difficult passage of the aria and at the same time the orchestra goes crazy, the hair-raising-moment as I call it) then there is obvious loss of details. While I do not know the exact setup of the innards of this speaker, based from what I heard, I can safely speculate that it consists of two full-range drivers with no separate tweeters. I guess tweeters would be too much at this price range.

Although there are obviously two separate drivers producing the sounds, I can't really hear any meaningful stereo separation due to the close proximity of the two drivers. That does not mean its at the same level as those one driver portable speakers, its just that you should not expect to get the stereo separation effect like a properly set-up traditional 2.1/2.0 speakers. As such, there is also pretty much non-existant soundstage.

One issue though is that if you chose to use with the wire instead the bluetooth, the audio quality then depends on your connected source. If your device can't provide enough power to the speaker then it won't be as loud as it would be if you used bluetooth. Honestly, I don't think this is JXD's fault although they can certainly integrate an amp to amplify the source but that would have certainly raises up the price.

Finally, there is no obvious discolouration and compression effects as far as I am concerned. That or my ears are not sensitive enough. All in all, this a good speaker!

Battery Life

Charging the speaker took about 2hrs if you fully deplete the battery. I have mainly used the speaker through Bluetooth so I cannot say if the battery life would be different if you forgo the Bluetooth connection and go with the wired solution. I found that the battery life depends alot on the volume you use the speaker at. I mostly use the speaker at around 40% volume (yes, it is loud enough) and under this setting I can squeeze more than 8hrs of use (I do not know the exact figure, I am not used to timing something for this long besides who listens to music for that long a day anyway?). If the specifications are correct then the 800mAh should last for 18.67hrs at most at the maximum setting. Will update this once I can actually confirm the actual run time.

Ease of Use

Everything is good so far but as always when it comes to Chinese products, there will be some sort of compromise and for this product it is the ease of use. The volume buttons on the top does not actually change the volume, rather they function to change to the next and previous track. I think it would be far more useful to have all of them (change tracks and volume control) on the speaker.

The offending buttons.

And also, the speaker can only pair with one device at any time. If you happen to change the sound source, you would have to long press the bluetooth button and re-pair the devices. Most of the times, even though you are only using one device, you might have to re-pair the devices nonetheless. Troublesome but not exactly a deal killer. It takes at most a minute to do but for sure this could be improved on next revision.

I have also experimented with the bluetooth range and my conclusion is; if the speaker is within the line of sight with respect to your bluetooth device (no obstruction in between them) then you can probably get up to 10m but in real world (with multiple walls in between), 5m would be the maximum if you are lucky. Personally, I can only get up to 3m away from the speaker before it actually loses connection. The sound quality doesn't deteriote in the process and it just disconnects suddenly when you get far enough.


This is an excellent speaker although not without its downside. The JXD X18 is my first JXD product and if their other products are of similar quality then I would certainly be purchasing more. I like the sound quality, it gets very loud while maintaining a very acceptable audio quality but can also be personally tailored (using equalizer) to further customize the sound to the user's liking. The battery life also rather excellent.

The negatives include questionable material used for the backside and the cumbersome bluetooth pairing which could certainly be improved. At GBP22 (minus shipping), this would put it directly in competition with other products from lesser known companies such as Veho, Soundwave and Tecevo. However, at least the JXD X18 now is a known quantity whereas I have yet to read a good review on any of the other competing products. Maybe I will buy one bluetooth speaker per month and then do a showdown between them all. (wishful thinking).

If you are interested in buying one, Amazon is selling one and you can check it out at the link below. While you are on Amazon, you might as well check the alternatives and see if there's any other promising products and comment below :

1 comment:

  1. I love portable speakers because they allow you to take your music with you wherever you go. This one is really compact. http://store.thodio.com