It used to be that no home would be without a record player, then a ghetto blaster, a boom box, a hi-fi system…. how do people listen to music in their houses these days? Since physical formats are now largely a thing of the past (with the exception of the vinyl revival) and the meteoric rise of streaming sites like Spotify, most music comes from phones, tablets and computers. Phone docks are great and all, but that means you have to plug your phone in and leave it there and in current times, having your phone further than 3 feet from you can induce some form of PTSD. So more and more people are turning to Bluetooth speakers.

I’ve been playing with the Edifier R1010BT system, an £80 set of 24 watt stereo bookcase style speakers, that give you the option of either a wired or Bluetooth connection. Nice! One speaker has all the controls and connectors and receivers, while the other is just the speaker with nothing on the back. There is about 10 feet of speaker wire included in the box to connect the two 4” speakers, which initially I thought was a bit of a shame as properly wireless speakers would be much better, but then to achieve such a system you’d need to pack a power supply and Bluetooth receivers etc. in both units and this would undoubtedly push the price up considerably. They’re not a bad looking set either, available in a wood effect or black. It’s a vinyl covering over MDF and there is minimal styling, but it works in a simple sort of way. Nothing too fussy or ostentatious. Setting them up is a doddle, once you have the speakers connected and plugged into the mains, you are good to go. You can connect to an external device via the included phono leads or by pressing the Volume/Input dial to activate the Bluetooth paring mode. Super simple. It does mean reaching behind the speaker to pair up and if you forget to disconnect them or decide to just leave them connected to your phone, you’ll find yourself sitting in the living room, trying to watch a youtube clip and wondering why there is no sound, but very odd noises coming from your conservatory. I speak from experience!

After connecting my phone, I was able to stream music directly and control the volume straight away. The sound is impressive too, with a clarity and volume you’d expect from a mid sized hi-fi system. I found them quite bass heavy, but this can be adjusted with a dial on the rear of the controlling speaker. The range is more than enough to suit most homes, I was able to stream and control music from 2 rooms away through solid walls. The quality of the sound is obviously not audiophile standard, but more than decent enough for the purpose, I did find it a little directional, so if you aren’t in the line of fire, you do lose some clarity, but careful speaker placement will overcome this.

When using them to watch video, there is almost no lag in the sound as you would expect. On testing using YouTube videos, I found the lip sync to actually be very very close, which is rather surprising and means these speakers would be fantastic to hook up to a Bluetooth enabled projector. This would get around that irritating situation of trying to connect the projector behind you to the speakers in front of you without huge lengths of cable. Awesome! 

Connecting the speakers to my TV the phone cables was a simple affair as you are only physically connecting one speaker. This dramatically boosted the performance of the small Samsung TV I have mounted on the wall in my conservatory. It’s a fairly large room with one wall and the ceiling made of glass, which can present a challenge for the small built in speakers. With the Edifiers plumbed in the sound finally does justice to the picture and I really enjoyed watching movies on it. 

The build quality feels solid, although on one of the speakers I received for testing, the vinyl had started to come away at one of the seams. This could be from being unpackaged and repackaged or from sitting in the sun on my conservatory windowsill, but it’s a small cosmetic flaw and easily rectified.

All told, these are great little speakers for the money and represent good value. They cost a bit more than a decent Bluetooth speaker, but now you get proper stereo separation instead of clever sound manipulation to mimic it. The sound is very good too, ok, so its not what you would describe as spectacular, but these are bookshelf speakers so you are never going to get stadium sound. The sound sync actually surprised me the most, I honestly expected a fraction of a seconds delay as is common with most Bluetooth devices, but these are incredibly close. 

If you are in the market for a set of good Bluetooth speakers for a bedroom, office or living room, these are definitely worth a look.