Veteran dance teacher here. I began teaching in the dark ages of cassette tapes and CD players and I can tell you I am so glad to be teaching now in the day and age of Bluetooth speakers! I’ve used several makes and models of Bluetooth speakers since they first hit the market, all with varying quality and sound output. So I can say with confidence that it has been a sweaty pleasure to tear up the dance floor to the powerful sound output of the BlueAnt X3i.
Editor-in-chief note: One of the things I enjoy with DRN is that I get to work with people from all walks of life. For me it is important to be able to present different perspectives other than just technical. Welcoming Julie onboard with her first review, she’s made a cracking start.
I wanna dance with somebody
I’m looking for something that has a simple design but draws the eye. The BlueAnt X3i fit my dance partner requirements from the moment I opened the box. This portable speaker is modest and unfussy in its design. I was immediately drawn to the large volume up & down buttons, the power-on button and the boost button. The generous size means I’m not wasting time double checking that I’m hitting the right buttons as I adjust and set music for the dancers in class. And, just quietly, as I get older I like not having to squint to see what I’m looking for! The speaker comes boxed with a USB C charging cable, AC charger body & charging pins (for AU outlets, but I imagine its handy to purchase EU charging pins if you wanted to take it overseas), and the product manual. The paperboard packaging in the box is protective, but thankfully not excessive. Set up was super easy – turn it on, connect your laptop or phone via bluetooth, and dance to the music.
Glitter on the dance floor
Most dance studios are a cavernous minimum of 10m x 9m2 so its not difficult to understand the need for a portable speaker with strong, clear audio. Whether I was playing classical music, musical theatre or pop tracks the speaker performed with clear, crisp output, and could be heard with clarity anywhere in the space. The BlueAnt X3i throws sound that can be heard clearly over a troupe of tap dancers or the groans of a middle aged dance teacher getting up off the ground. Another nice design element are the short, stubby silicone like feet that stop the speaker slipping around and jumping when the volume is cranked. I use Spotify on my phone when I’m teaching, so the speaker’s built in power bank is handy for when my phone runs low on charge. The speaker also has a play/pause button (situated in between the volume up & down buttons) which I found super handy when I wanted to pause a track to make choreographic corrections but didn’t want to run back to wherever I misplaced my device in the studio. What’s more, holding the volume up button for 1.5 seconds allows me to skip a track, just as the volume down button allow me to go back a track. Super handy! I get about 10 – 12 hours of play on battery charge, but I think that has more to do with periodically using the powerbank coupled with the bass boost function draining the battery faster than normal use. But, hey, sometimes you just need to hear the bass to lift the vibe on the dance floor!
Crying on the dance floor
I’m naturally drawn to colour but was disappointed to note that it comes in a limited colour range of black, teal, charcoal and maroon. Whilst the speaker is lightweight and doesn’t weigh down my dance bag, its circumference is greater than my handspand making it a little awkward to carry. I’d have appreciated a handle or carry strap.
Burn up the dance floor
With thanks to BlueAnt, at $249 this is a speaker that looks great, has an easy user interface and performs well for the money. Available from BlueAnt’s official website, this speaker is an asset to any dance teacher frequently on the move between studios, or anyone with two left feet who simply likes to listen to their music for hours through a solid, quality speaker that’ll throw sound outdoors as well as indoors.
• Power Requirements – DC 5V 3A.
• Power Consumption – 15W.
• Power Consumption Standby – <5mW.
• Power Output – 15W*2(RMS) @10% THD.
• Battery – 3.7 9600 mAh (3*3200Ah cells in a pack)
• Total Max Power Output – 30W.
• Frequency Response – 150Hz-20kHz.
• AUX in Jack – 3.5mm.