Accessories News Nokia Nokia JBL PowerUp Speaker Review – Wireless Charging & NFC/Bluetooth Connectivity By Khurram Ali Posted on June 23, 2013 14 min read 0 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Mobile/Smartphone world actually knows there are a few special departments of smartphones where Nokia want to work from heart and they actually do. What are those departments? The top two are the Camera/Photography and the Music. So to promote them upward and support them continually the Finnish firm produces accessories to work with them for the consumer’s need and demand. This topic covers the “music” with added functionality of “wireless charging” feature currently coming in select Lumia range of smartphones. For that we have, at house, the Latest JBL x Nokia PowerUp Speaker for review. This is actually a few months late that we are testing the JBL PowerUp speaker. Nokia Pakistan was kind enough to provide us a review unit along with the Nokia Lumia 720. We planned to start with the JBL PowerUp speaker and then anything other. Just to add here, we have reviewed the JBL PlayUp speaker a couple of months back with Nokia Lumia 920. Starting from the little introduction of the JBL PowerUp speaker, it serves the purpose of listening the music wirelessly (via Bluetooth) as well as via a 3.5mm audio connector that is also pairable with NFC. Additionally, justifying the product title “PowerUp”, it provides wireless charging to the compatible Lumia devices to power them up. What to wait for, let’s open the box. A well packed with outer printed box having features and specifications listed on it with the product images along side the opening of the pack reveals another protective white box in it which opens exactly the same way as outer box would. Inside we have the speaker covered with a wrapper and the small compartment on the side that opens up from top. The compartment contains the product manual and consumer guide for references to use the product easily. A connectivity wire is included and the power adapter with the added three-pin changer, which is required to add onto the adapter to make it work. Here we have the breakdown of the power adapter and the audio cable with 3.5mm audio male connectors on both ends. The changer, as said, is a required element on the power adapter to make it work as the adapter itself has only two terminals to connect through the supplied changer only. The JBL PowerUp speaker comes in three different colors black, cyan and white. The white is what we received for review. The colors are the consumers’ own choice to choose from but the finish and material of the product is what to be taken care of when choosing the color. It’s a rubber like feel on the finish which personally I would like on any product but it easily can capture dust from your dirty hands. You really need to take care with your clean hands to handle the speaker. Just like the JBL PlayUp, the “JBL” logo is just stamped on the grill on front. The Bluetooth button is down there under the “JBL” logo. On the rare side of the speaker we have power terminal with DC in and the Micro USB connector for service which is most probably for firmware upgrade or alike services. That’s not for consumer’s use of music. 3.5mm audio connector is along side. Clickable Power On/Standby button is provided on the left side in the panel. Being an upgraded version of the JBL PlayUp speaker, the PowerUp speaker is almost doubled the size and provides dual air duct for even lesser distortion in the bass frequencies. 3.5mm audio audio cable is the added part in the package. You can use it with any mobile phone with a 3.5mm audio connector. So just leave it apart. What we didn’t like in the package is the power adapter. It’s just not flexible enough to be a friend of the owner. First it’s bigger in size which is not that much a problem. The second is the requirement of the supplied 3-pin changer that fixes onto the adapter and you need to put it in a three-pin power outlet or another 2-pin changer to make it work on a traditional 2-pin power outlet. Even the supplied 3-pin changer made me effort a lot as the main two terminals are half plastic and half electric connectors which didn’t work on most of my power outlets or with changers as I needed to push them half way in the outlet to connect properly to the electrical connectors. Any way that’s the problem which can be overridden with some additional power items to work with your power equipment. Heading towards the functionality we have the top panel of the speaker that serves the wireless charging area provided with the rounded corners. You just put the compatible Lumia handset in the middle of the area and it will start charging up. Just above the front grille on the top panel there is handful of basic music control keys – volume up and down that actually interact with smartphone’s own volume connected via Bluetooth. Next/Previous and Play/Pause controls are there as well. Just in between them there is the NFC receiver, right where you have to tap the compatible Lumia smartphone from the according place where the NFC module is residing within the smartphone. As shown in the picture above the Nokia Lumia 720 is being connected via NFC and paired via Bluetooth connection after once NFC handshake. On the connected Lumia 720 the JBL PowerUp’s interface gives the option to share about your new PowerUp speaker on the twitter, facebook etc in addition to the music playing. Just like the JBL PlayUp speaker, the JBL PowerUp also works flawlessly to any of the smartphone with Bluetooth connectivity but they connect by directly pairing through Bluetooth. NFC compatible devices (other than the Lumia devices) may not connect via NFC. We could test it with Samsung Galaxy S3, it worked via direct Bluetooth pairing. NFC didn’t. On the front speaker grille the Bluetooth pairing button is provided. Long pressing the button turns the pairing mode on the JBL PowerUp speaker and waits for the Bluetooth device to get connected. To me its compact size was well suited in the room’s most of the places. e.g. right inside the TV stand besides the other stuff or in the corner wall mount. So that was all about what it looks like, what it does and how does it work. Now when we talk about the main thing of a speaker, it definitely is the sound and its quality. JBL PowerUp Sound: Two speaker drivers of 2.5” each with the power output of 10W. The max volume easily fills out the bed room of about 20’x15’. The dual bass reflexes performs much better than a single one and provides a lot better sound with less distortion even on full volume. Price/Availability and Conclusion: JBL PowerUp speaker is available from Nokia Care centers across Pakistan and you can get one for PKR Rs. 35,000/- Well that’s an healthy amount for sure to expend. So I’ll again say that it’s an accessory for the music lovers and not for the regular speaker buyers. In general, if you can afford and you love to buy music accessories, getting such a one for that amount will definitely not harm you. Sound wise there it’s a good one and way above from the regular speakers. Plus it gives a cooler look somewhere in your bedroom. And the Wireless Charging capability for your compatible Lumia device(s). So if you want it, we recommend it. Our recommendations are with this. I hope you are well enough to decide if you need it or you want it. Or if you any words, do tell us below in the comments. We’ll be pleased.