BlitzWolf BW-AS2 40W Wireless Speaker Review
Today, we will be taking a look at the BlitzWolf BW-AS2 40W Wireless Speaker. I previously reviewed the original portable speaker by BlitzWolf, the BW-AS1, and it fared quite well. The original BW-AS1 was a 20W speaker so it will be very interesting to see what the 40W BW-AS2 speaker will bring. Retailing for $69.99 USD, it is a slight price bump compared to the previous edition. However, we will be focusing so much more on just price.
7.4V 5,200 mAh
10 meters, 33-inches
Just looking at the technical specifications, this speaker has an interesting additional input that I have not seen on some of the bigger brands either. Most portable speakers have a micro-USB charging port, but this one has a DC charging port as well. I'm glad BlitzWolf added this as I am not really a fan of micro-USB ports. I find that they tend to wear out quite easily especially for phones that require charging every day. I would have liked to see a USB-C PD port to support fast-charging while reducing wear and tear on the port itself.
BlitzWolf estimated the charging time with the micro-USB port to be 5-6 hours. The charging time can be further reduced to 2-3 hours when using an 18V Adapter Charger. Since I do not have the latter, I am stuck with using the micro-USB port for charging. During my test and normal usage, I tend not to carry the speaker around. It sits nicely on my bookshelf, which I will elaborate on when we take a look at the aesthetics.
Keeping in line with all the of other BlitzWolf's packaging, the BW-AS2 box shares the same format. The packaging is kept consistent and minimalistic. This packaging is slightly bigger than the AS1 speaker because, well, the speaker itself is bigger.
The back of the packaging contains minimal specifications and I believe this is a good setup. There's honestly no need to list out the full specifications. When we take a look at the contents, the manual and the website contains all the necessary specifications you may need.
Unlike some of the other product packaging that I took a look at, it isn't nearly as durable. I don't think this box needs to be kept for additional storage. I have kept some of my other boxes because of their durable construction. Naturally, of course, this shouldn't make or break your purchase decision.
Before we move onto the actual speaker unit, I would like to take a quick look at the other contents in the box. This box contains an instructions manual, warranty pamphlet, micro-USB cord, and an auxiliary cord. I am a little bummed out that no DC 18V charger was included with this speaker. Using a micro-USB will take significantly longer, which I recommend charging it overnight.
The instructions manual is pretty straightforward. I honestly did not find the need to consult it much because the speaker is really easy to use. The buttons are very self-explanatory especially if you already know how to use Bluetooth connectivity in other devices.
Speaker: Top View
Taking a first look at the speaker itself, it features a good mixture of metal and plastic. The big speaker grill paired with a sleek control bar means business. Compared to the AS1, this design is a significant upgrade. It definitely looks better and more premium.
Taking a closer look at the speaker grill, it wraps all the way around to the bottom of the speaker. As for the speakers themselves, it is a little bit difficult to determine where they are facing just by looking at it. Taking a look at BlitzWolf's website, there are two front-facing 5W mid-treble speakers and a 30W upwards facing bass speaker. If this isn't listed on their website, I would not have expected this.
Looking a bit higher, we see the navigation bar. I am not a fan of the BlitzWolf logo. I think this labelling is unnecessary or at least make it engraved so that it has a better with the rest of the speaker. This is a minor detail so I will let it slide. Looking at the buttons, they are self-explanatory as well. It definitely isn't too hard to figure out what each one does. The buttons are very tactile and responsive. One button you'll notice that is different than the AS1 is the "mode".
I honestly would not expect this layout if BlitzWolf did not post this image on their website. Naturally, I do not want to tear apart this speaker as I will probably make it my daily driver.
In terms of the layout, the sound isn't directional. If you put this portable speaker in the center of a crowded area, the sound will spread all around. You definitely won't experience weaker sound when standing behind the speaker. The AS1 was a little bit directional because the speakers were front facing. Having an upward bass definitely offers this improvement.
The speaker continues to get more and more interesting as you look at it from different angles. I swear this looks much better in person, but the side is vented. There is a metal plate and a gap between the body of the speaker so it looks as if the sides are vents. In my opinion, this looks significantly better than if the sides were just smooth. Once again, you have to keep in mind that this is just for looks and does not actually do anything.
This is where we see a little discrepancy. If you visit the BlitzWolf website, their banner only lists two input options - Bluetooth v4.2 and 3.5mm Auxiliary. However, they actually have a third connection option that I discovered later on.
Going from left to right, here is the list of ports or functions I should say:
- Reset Button
- TF Card Port
- Auxiliary Port
- micro-USB Charging
- DC 18V Charging
#2 is TransFlash or really just micro-SD card input. This option is actually incredibly useful because the speaker can truly be used independently. If you use either the Bluetooth or auxiliary connection option, it must be paired to another device. I think the auxiliary port is not needed as fewer and fewer smartphones are equipped with them. I don't have any complaints about Bluetooth as it gets the job done. The micro-SD slot is definitely a useful addition to treat the AS2 as a standalone speaker.
For comparing sound quality, I will reference the BlitzWolf BW-AS1 speaker and a few of the Bose speakers. The AS2 is significantly louder than the AS1, but it retains the crisp and punchy sound. It is actually incredible how much louder the AS2 is. In terms of loudness, I dare say that it is louder than the Bose SoundLink Color without any distortion. The speaker was pushed to its limit and held up nicely.
Unfortunately, similar to the AS1, the AS2 is bass boosted and it is not conservative. Don't get me wrong, this is a very easy way to make music playback sound better. One of the biggest complaints about many speakers is the bass. However, I dislike this artificial bass boost because it impacts clarity, especially on higher volume. I touched upon this topic in my BW-AS1 review. Similarly, the AS2 dominates when it comes to music playback. It is a significant upgrade because it is louder, works better outdoors, and holds strong. What I mean by "holds strong" is the lack of distortion or clipping sounds on the higher volume.
The AS2, however, falls short when it comes to audio playback. Since I listen to audiobooks via Audible quite a bit, I decided to test this out. The AS2's clarity is affected especially on louder volumes because of the boosted bass. Voices aren't nearly as crisp as they could be and, as a result, you will experience a slight echoing effect if that is the right term to use.
Don't get me wrong, the AS2 is a significant upgrade from the AS1. If listening to music is your primary usage, the AS2 will take care of the job nicely. While I expressed my satisfaction with the outdoor playback of the AS1, the AS2 is arguably a hundred times better. The 5,200 mAh battery will ensure all day playback as well. I got a solid 8 hours of playback and the speaker still had plenty of juice left. However, the AS2 falls short when it comes to audio playback. If listening to audiobooks is your primary usage, I would advise passing on this speaker or adjusting the bass lower digitally.
BlitzWolf continues to offer the 18-month warranty for the speaker. Given that most companies have a 12-month warranty, kudos to BlitzWolf for offering an additional half a year. I find that more and more companies are making the push to 1.5-year warranty and this is definitely more beneficial for buyers.
This is a surprisingly affordable speaker for a fraction of the price. Save yourself $200 or so with the BlitzWolf BW-AS2 speaker. Sound quality is just slightly behind that of Bose's. It excels in every single way except for clarity with audiobooks. It is plentiful loud and delivers a punch, even with group outdoor settings. With a sleeker design as well, the BlitzWolf BW-AS2 is a significant upgrade in just about every way possible. I do hope BlitzWolf comes up with a way to disable the boosted bass. If that is possible, then they will definitely be able to give Bose a run for their money.