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Nakamichi Bluetooth Speaker with NFC review

All about controls

My most-used app is Google Play Music. I never leave the house without my Bluetooth headphones if I can help it. Safe to say that I'm a heavy Bluetooth user and a somewhat picky Bluetooth user. I've used the Nakamichi Bluetooth Speaker with NFC heavily over the last month and a half with my Moto X and while I love most aspects of this speaker, and while I have loved that time, there are also some times when I have found myself at odds with some of the design choices made here. You may think these choices are fine, and this speaker may fit nicely into your life.

Just don't expect it to play nicely in your bag.

Construction

The Nakamichi speaker is a stout, simple speaker with few controls and fewer buttons. It comes in gray, red, and blue — and while I wish I had that nice bright blue to show off for you, we've got the gray here. The plastic and rubber brick is rounded on one side, meaning that even in the dark or rummaging around in your bag you will be able to tell with side faces out for the speaker. On bottom, we have two short, log-like legs to give the speaker a little bit of clearance, and to allow you to thread auxiliary or power cords through the bottom if need be. Don't be deceived by the small size, the Nakamichi can easily put out enough music to fill your apartment, an empty classroom, or in my case, an empty television studio. Just be careful not to walk out of the room without it, Once I got two or three walls between the speaker and source, things started to cut out, which is expected with the Nakamichi's listed range.

Speaking of cords, they all plug in on the back, where the auxiliary power and the micro-USB charging ports keep the LED-embedded on-off switch company. We'll come back to that switch in a moment. Up on top, we have three buttons: next/volume up, previous/volume down, and a pause/play/talk button. Next to the talk button is a pinhole microphone and the NFC symbol signaling where to tap your phone to pair.

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Don't let the buttons fool you, controls on this speaker are not as simple as they appear

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I wish the ports were a little further apart, but my main pain here is that button.

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a no-frills grill, but after a month of bakcpack-hopping, it seems durable enough

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don't let those stubby legs fool you, they will get grip when they need it.

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A speaker that'll fit in your purse or maybe even your pocket - even if it shouldn't go there.

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Not a big footprint, but a pretty big sound

The Nakamichi is a sturdy little box, and I had no fears about throwing it in my bag — and maybe I should have.

Day-to-day use

This little prick sticks out too far

See this little switch? This little switch sticking out this far is nice when you're reaching around to the back of the speaker to turn it on. It's not so great when the Nakamichi is in your bag and it catches on everything to turn the speaker on. I got to Colorado for my family's vacation and pulled out my speaker to listen to music — only to find it had turned on and run itself dead in my bag. I've also gotten into my car and driven off expecting music to come from the head unit, only to hear my tunes muffled in my backpack. Again, not great. But if the Nakamichi isn't something you intend to stuff in a bag and carry around a lot, it's a great little speaker with a perfectly average sound that borders on tinny every now and again. I'm not someone who listens to a lot of deep bass, but the Nakamichi kept up well enough with the deeper end of the orchestrations I listened to.

Press and release, press and hold

My only other grief is a small one and something that has more to do with my habits than what logically makes the most sense. The volume buttons play double-duty as playback controls, which is good because all Bluetooth speakers/headphones/whatever should have playback controls. Problem is that the implementation can make it hard to make subtle volume adjustments. If you press the plus/minus buttons once, the track changes. If you press and hold, the volume will change. So if you just need a little change, you're better off turning it down on your phone instead of trying to finesse the volume down press-and-hold. That's a minor flaw, but one worth mentioning for all the times I tried to turn up the volume and ended up going to the next track.

When it comes to duration, the only time I've ever run the completely speaker dead is when it turned on in my bag. I've only had the low warning tone come on once or twice in a month, so it's a speaker that'll last for more than a few random dance parties or study sessions where you need to just block out the morons outside. There's no battery gauge here, just a low battery tone that'll come on when it's time to find a charger. At least since it's microUSB, your go-to phone charger will see it through.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, if you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker that's easy to carry around your apartment and will give you basic media controls and a drop-dead simple pairing method for your Android-sporting friends/family to get in on the action, then the Nakamichi Bluetooth Speaker with NFC will fit the bill nicely. You can pick up the Nakamichi Speaker here.

And if you're going to be going on trips with it, pack it carefully.

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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

15 Comments
  • This is more like a speaker housing review, it would be nice if you mentioned the performance and sound quality of the actual speaker.
  • seriously, it's like talking about a TV without mentioning picture quality. "But its got nice controls"
  • I was thinking the same thing. what does it sound like? This seems more like an advertisement to buy it from the AC Shop than a review of it's performance as a thing that, you know, OUTPUTS SOUND. The bullet list on the AC Shop page says more about the sound than this review "Outputs deep bass.." "Powerful sound" Unless we're just considering all BT speakers sound the same these days... which is untrue.
  • Practically these types of articles are for that. Just look st the constant case promotions, why do you think we can't comment on those, because it's meant for us to buy it from their store. It's that simple. At least have a more in depth review if it's worth it or not, maybe a brief video review of it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Whoops, I forgot that paragraph! Thanks for reminding me. Easy to slip your mind when the sound is completely average. My other Bluetooth speaker is a Bose, but I didn't see a very noticeable drop in quality between it and the Nakamichi. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sorry about that. I tend to focus on the flaws I see with a device, and there was nothing wrong with the speaker's sound so that kinda drifted out of my head while writing the review. Added it in. It got more than loud enough for me, and the sound reproduction was decent for a speaker that small. It won't do big pounding bass, but that's not my style, so it worked out fine for me. Added that in.
  • So, the question is, have you ever put it in your bag? Would you recommend that other people put it in your bag? Could you tell us the pros and cons of the bag you used?
  • 10/10 would put it on my bag again
  • I love Into the Woods! I know you said it doesn't sound appreciable worse than the Bose, but does the fact that "Agony" was playing show any latent feeling about the speaker?
  • That was referring more to the control setup. I shouldn't hesitate to press the volume buttons on a speaker. Also, that song was the first one in the cue I felt comfortable showing to the world. Posted via the Android Central App
  • whast the phone thats showing? the moto x2?
  • 2014 Moto X with a clear Supcase. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Its such a shame. Nakamichi's used to be synonymous with high end audio quality in the 70's and 80's with their top tier cassette decks and the like (yup, I am showing my age here). Now they are just average at best Chinese made junk.
  • Yeah, but I can tell you I haven't complained about quality in over a month of listening to the speaker, including about 6 hours today.
  • Ara, I really enjoyed this article. I like your personal writing style. Glad the AC team found you on Google+! (I'm also a little jealous)! I'm not currently in the market for a Bluetooth speaker but pretty much my most-used app is Play Music as well. Keep honing your style of writing and enjoy your time here at AC! Posted via Android Central App