Edifier MP230 review: Vintage style meets modern streaming technology

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The Edifier MP230 is a portable speaker that combines modern technology with a design inspired by vintage radios from the 50s and 60s. Unlike the majority of Edifier speakers, the MP230 houses an internal battery which, when paired with Bluetooth connectivity, lets you enjoy its sound wherever you decide to take it.

Battery life isn’t great but will get you through a day at work or partying into the evening, and despite its relatively small frame, the MP230 gets loud enough to fill a medium-sized room. If you’re looking for a great-sounding speaker that oozes retro style and is affordable to boot, the Edifier MP230 is worth considering.

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Edifier MP230 review: What do you get for the money?

Priced at £100, the MP230 is one of the most affordable speakers in Edifier’s range and is priced quite competitively for a mid-range Bluetooth speaker. It offers multiple connection options in addition to Bluetooth 5.0, with the rear of the speaker housing a 3.5mm AUX-in port (an analog audio cable is also included) as well as a slot for a microSD card or TF.

Measuring 162 x 97 x 85mm (WDH) and weighing 850g, the MP230 is small enough to hold with one hand and easy to transport from room to room. Battery life will last around ten hours when playing audio at a moderate volume, but listening at higher volumes will of course eat into that total. Once depleted, the battery can be recharged via the included USB-C cable.

There’s no built-in microphone, so you won’t be able to use the MP230 to hail your voice assistant or make calls, and the speakerphone isn’t currently compatible with Edfier’s Connect app, it doesn’t so there’s no way to change the frequency response or access the EQ presets.

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Edifier MP230 review: What do we love about it?

The MP230 is one of the most remarkable Bluetooth speakers. Inspired by radios from the 50s and 60s, it combines a wooden casing with copper grilles on the front and back, nicely complemented by a row of shiny buttons under the front grille. These buttons provide a decent amount of feedback when pressed and cover all your key controls including audio play/pause, track skip and volume adjustment.

Beneath its eye-catching retro exterior, the MP230 packs a decidedly modern speaker arrangement consisting of two 48mm full-range drivers, each powered by 10W of amplification. These are mated to a dual passive radiator and the resulting sound is spacious, detailed and has plenty of low-end heft.

However, the bass isn’t overdone, and unless you’re using the speaker at maximum volume, the speaker remains free of bothersome reverberations. If you push it to its volume limit, you can expect vibrations on the surface the speaker sits on, but that shouldn’t be too bothersome.

Given the MP230’s 50s and 60s inspiration, it seemed appropriate to use music from those decades to put the speaker through its paces. And the burgeoning years of rock and roll were certainly done justice: Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode sounded great with his rhythmic, pulsating bass track and The Coasters’ Yakety Yak bounced around with impressive energy.

Other genres fared just as well: Mister Sandman from The Chordettes layered beautifully, with each of the barbershop harmonies clearly distinct; the highest soprano notes in The Platters’ Only You (And You Alone) remained crisp and undistorted; and effective instrument separation allowed the big band backing Sinatra’s crooning in Fly Me To The Moon to sound appropriate.

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Edifier MP230 review: What could be improved?

While portability is part of the MP230’s appeal, its battery life is nothing short of extraordinary. Ten hours is rather disappointing and not a patch on some of our favorite Bluetooth speakers in the MP230 price range. The two Marshal Emberton and Tribit StormBox Pro can be purchased for a similar price and last up to 20 and 24 hours, respectively.

Less of a problem, but the MP230’s lack of IP rating should be kept in mind. It has zero water resistance, so while you’re perfectly safe to use it in the garden on a clear day, you’ll need to be prepared to quickly get it back inside at the first sign of a downpour.

The MP230 costs the same as its stablemate, the mains power supply Edify D12, and comparing the two speakers highlights another minor flaw. Where the D12 includes dedicated music and movie profiles, plus top-mounted dials for adjusting bass and treble, the MP230 offers nothing in the way of audio customization. The sound signature is detailed and powerful enough for the MP230 to pull through, but the ability to tweak the speaker sound would have been welcome.

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Edifier MP230 review: Should you buy it?

Those few details aside, the MP230 does everything it sets out to do and does it in style. The wooden case adds a retro touch to any bookshelf, desk or table it adorns and the audio quality is excellent across the board.

It’s a bit light on features and customization options, and battery life falls short of the competition, but the Edifier MP230 has enough style and substance to merit a recommendation if you’re looking for a reasonably priced portable speaker.

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