Review: the Nokia / JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker
Nokia doesn't make it easy for its fans when it comes to the very luxurious accessories: these are still extremely hard to find in the electronic stores. Not so long ago, I wrote a long review on the Nokia Purity Pro Stereo Bluetooth Headset by Monster and that too, is still as "untraceable" as the JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker for Nokia (I even heard this Nokia headset by Monster is out of production, but I'm not sure if that's true).
Of course, you can order the JBL PowerUp online, but until now I haven't found a real shop where you can actually see and listen to the device to see if you like its design, size and sound.
Because I could not restrain my curiosity, I was happy to borrow the Nokia / JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker for a few days from a Dutch site. After using it for a few days, I now know that - like the headset - it will cost you quite a bit of money (well over € 250), but you get value for money once again.
I'll start with a detail: I don't think I've ever seen an accessory packed so incredibly careful as this speaker. You peel it from it's packaging layer by layer. Once revealed the speaker looks remarkably well: the format is ideal for the purpose, the finish is just perfect from top to bottom (and back).
Although you will buy this device for its sound of course, its appearance still is important since you'll probably give it a central place in your living room, bedroom or office.
The speaker is available in three colors: white, black and cyan (bright blue). I chose to borrow the blue version because of the contrast with my bright yellow Nokia Lumia 920. A white version will also stand out, while a black version will probably have a more classic, maybe even more modest look.
My experience with the older "Nokia Play 360" initially put me on the wrong foot - I expected this successor would also have a battery so you could use the Bluetooth speaker without power. But the PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker only works with a power cord.
That means you'll have to choose a more or less "permanent" place for it: close to a power outlet, preferably on a strategic location. Close to a wall too, due to the reflection of the bass, but of course so that you can enjoy the way it looks as well.
The music comes from your smartphone - probably a Nokia Lumia, but not necessarily. If you have activated NFC on your Lumia, linking with the JBL PowerUp Speaker is extremely simple: you hold your device close to the NFC symbol on the speaker, you confirm whether you want to connect, and the Lumia directly initiates a Bluetooth connection if you hadn't activated that already.
From that moment you can play all the music from your smartphone on the speaker. Not only the MP3's on your device, but also streaming audio of course. If you don't need to use your smartphone other than that, PowerUp gives you the opportunity to load during playback by simply adding it on top. You'll see how a rectangular "landing place" lights up on top of the speaker - beautiful.
Below you'll find a few hardware buttons to control your music player: pause, skip tracks and the like - you know the same of the classic CD player and your current music player.
It's the ability to wireless charge your Lumia on this speaker that makes this accessory very specific - and therefor so hard to find in stores I guess. Though you can still do without NFC (and link directly via Bluetooth), but wireless charging is a phenomenon that has little support with other smartphones (yet).
But if you've got the Nokia Lumia 920, or 820/720 (with wireless charging of course) then I think this speaker is totally worth it.
Not only because it offers you the opportunity to utilize the connectivity of your device completely, but also because the PowerUp speaker sounds just great. Especially compared to Nokia's old Nokia Play 360 speaker, this JBL offers a richer, much more dynamic sound. I must say that the bass is a bit strong for my taste, but that is a sound charachteristic many really appreciate.
The JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker is an expensive speaker, true, but a useful and stylish addition to your Nokia Lumia 920/820/720 - and I'm quite sure you will just love its looks and sound! I was sad I had to send it back, but at least I could write this review without having to buy one first :-)
The pictures of the JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker for Nokia are taken with the Nokia Lumia 920 (except in the picture where it shows itself, taken with the Nokia 808 PureView).