I haven’t had the pleasure to review one of the BlueAnt portable speakers yet. The other DRN editors have been singing their praises so I thought I should check out the newest product, the BlueAnt X-3D Max, for myself.
The BlueAnt X-3D range marks a small but bright departure from their portable speaker line. BlueAnt has opt for an eye catching array of colours – Boudoir Red, Coral Chic, Nobility Blue, Oyster Black, but in full vivid glory rather than the more mute presentations of previous offerings.
My daughter called dibs on the “pink” edition, being her favourite colour. So my review unit is the Boudoir Red for the princess in my life.
Once again, the “Shimmerweave” fabric gets a mention as it is used in the current BlueAnt line up of Bluetooth speakers. In person, the Boudoir Red really pops in colour, particularly if you have it under sunlight.
The volume control and play buttons boldly adorns the front of the X-3D, with a satisfying click on press. These three buttons are rubber in a more muted tone but imbued with a slight shine which again catches the highlights in sunlight.
The back of the unit has the power button and the Bluetooth button.
The ends of the X-3D have a hard cap over a flexible membrane.
A hefty plug overs the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack, seating the plug correctly will ensure that the unit maintains it’s IP67 rating.
The X-3D has complete protection against solid particle ingress, and rated for submersion in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes.
Holding the power button down for 1.5 seconds will fire up the speaker, with a brief digeridoo sound which I love. So quintessentially Australian. My daughter loves turning the unit on and off just to hear the digeridoo tone (and to drive me insane when my Bluetooth connection keeps switching).
Next press on the Bluetooth pairing button which puts the X-3D into pairing mode.
Hook it up from your device and that’s it, you are ready to jam.
The X-3D Max uses two 50mm active woofers and two 20mm active tweeters, each of which uses an optimised amp and comes together for 40 watts of power. There are two passive radiators, too, with the whole effort delivering a lot of sound for the small size.
The 3D in the name is a little misleading, instead it is a reference to the 360 degrees positioning of the subbies and speaking, with sound emanating all around. This means to get the best performance out of the X-3D Max, you have to use it in the upright position.
Also rather importantly with the 360 degrees sound, this is not a speaker you want to back into a corner somewhere. Instead you want to give it some space on all sides as to not obstruct the sound, and allow it to shine.
So how does the sound …. sound? Unlike many sealed closured with IP67 rating, BlueAnt has done a remarkable job avoiding the pitfalls of truncating the frequency response with the waterproof enclosure.
For much of the review phase, I have been immersed in a fascinating psychology podcast. The mids where dialogue and voice are is where the X-3D Max is a stand out. The tones are natural, full, and engaging as I listen to hour after hour of Bessel and his scientific research and analysis on trauma.
The X-3D Max is no slouch when it comes to music. As expected though the bass does not thump, but is delivered cleanly with some oomph. You are not going to feel it in your bowels but it is not pathetic either. It was a particular nice surprise in this form factor, and for a Bluetooth speaker. Going up the range, the treble remains crisp and airy, even when the volume is cranked up a bit.
The overall experience is pleasant and pleasurable. The BlueAnt engineers have well and truly delivered on the brief here.
WYSIWYG. Oh boy am I showing my age here. What you see if what you get. The BlueAnt experience is what you get out of the box. There is no companion app with it.
BlueAnt claims up to 12 hours of play time at 50% volume.
As I have the unit sitting on my desk playing podcasts as I work at a softer volume, it has been going an estimated well over 12 hours so far based on how far I am into the podcast.
Charging is via the provided 45W charging brick, and will take up to four hours from empty.
Unlike many other portable Bluetooth speakers, the X-3D can play on when plugged in for charging. BlueAnt calls it continuous playing and well, you can’t stop the music.
Handily BlueAnt has provided a USB-C cable and charging brick to go with it.
It comes with Bluetooth 5.3 with memory for the last eight devices connected to it.
The microphone is hidden behind the Shimmerweave where the volume buttons are. It is a single front-facing mic with no noise cancellation tech at all. This makes it difficult to maintain call quality if there are background noises, or wind if outdoors.
There is no Bluetooth multipoint support, you will have to disconnect from one device and connect a second one.
The BlueAnt X-3D Max combined good sound with useful, even desirable features. It never lost focus on it’s primary task – a solid Bluetooth speaker. But it has an IP67 rating, floatable in water actually. You can have continuous play when plugged into power (don’t try to float it in water then), or a decent length of time on battery.
With Christmas just around the corner, this will make a good present for someone, or just to pump up the music at a festive gathering. It is available select Telstra stores and also direct from the BlueAnt website with a RRP of AUD$279 and a choice of four colours.
DRN would like to thank BlueAnt for providing the review unit.
Power requirements DC 5-15V 3A
Power Output 15W *2 + 5W *2 @ (10% THD)
Total Max Power Output 40W
Frequency Response 75Hz- 20kHz
Bluetooth Version 5.3
Compatible Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, HFP