We know JBL is an absolute leader in the traditional loudspeaker market. It is owned by Harman, which is a Samsung subsidiary. This means it not only comes with the best quality products but also they cost relatively high. A year ago, this manufacturer introduced an interesting model, namely the JBL Soundgear. It’s a futuristic-looking loudspeaker that adopts a new around-the-neck design. As the description suggests, this Bluetooth speaker not only can be used in an ordinary way but also can be put on the neck to ensure a personal sound zone.
In fact, the around-the-neck design has become very popular in 2018. And a few companies have managed to bring their own speakers with a similar design. Probably, the most impressive models belong to JBL and Bose. But they are also priced too high. Say, the JBL Soundgear costs around $200. Agree, for such amount of money, we can acquire any speaker we want. Moreover, we can get our hands on perfect soundbars, such as the Xiaomi Sound Bar. But if you really like this style and would like to acquire a similarly-looking speaker at an ultra-low price tag (just because the design is the most important feature for you), then we have found a great replica of the mentioned model. The Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker costs $19.99 only, 10 times less than the original model. But as you understand, the manufacturer has saved on some features. We have got our hands on it, so are going to provide the detailed review of this product and help you in making your purchase decision.
Where Excelvan Soundgear Can Be Used?
Users who are not aware what is happening in the loudspeaker market, will think this is a useless product and there are only a couple of cases that you can use them. Thus, they may think it’s all about the appearance. However, it’s not so.
The Excelvan Soundgear adopts the around-the-neck design, which ensures a double-use scenario. We mean, in all those cases, when you don’t want to wear earphones but want to listen to music without disturbing others, you can use this device. Say, when you are washing the dishes and want to listen to your favorite music, but your baby is sleeping in the next room, the Soundgear will be a great solution. Another case, for all those situations you need to listen to the words/phrases attentively, you can use the Soundgear. Thus, it can be a good companion when watching webinars, doing lessons, conduction researches, learning foreign languages, etc.
At the same time, the double-use option of the Excelvan Soundgear allows users to listen to music in the traditional way, just pairing with their phones and pushing music to the speaker.
Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker Appearance
Many like to say the Excelvan Soundgear looks like a toilet seat, but we like another option – an airline pillow. However, first, when we took a look at a speaker using the around-the-neck design, we were thinking it’s a regular speaker with a futuristic style. But later when we got acquainted with other models as well, we understood that all neck speakers look slightly ridiculous.
The Excelvan Soundgear is a smooth, moody-looking horseshoe of a speaker. It has a speaker grille-style fabric on its top, and soft touch plastic underneath. However, we should say, the fabric is not the quality we have seen on the original model. So it’s the first feature, the manufacturer saved on.
It has a weight of 280 grams. So when it’s on your neck, you won’t feel any inconvenience. Unlike the JBL model, this one has no flexibility. However, when worn, you will feel yourself like a personage from a sci-fi movie. Despite the rigid build, this does fit around most necks – bodybuilders who work the neck three times a week aside. The buttons are well placed.
Many say placing a solid unit onto your collar bones that have a lot of exposed nerves, is fine for a while. But when watching a movie for a while in a hot room may make it a little uncomfortable. On the other hand, some headphones can leave you with aching ears and sweaty lugs too.
In other words, the Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker looks odd but feels gorgeous. Not in vain this design has won the iF Design Award.
Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker Features
Despite some rudimentary sci-fi overtones to the whole concept of a neck speaker, there’s nothing to complain about the Excelvan Soundgear. It’s a Bluetooth speaker and functions like one. We mean it’s pairing is done in a usual manner, there’s no NFC, and it can take all audio from your phone. This also refers to the notifications that will make you jump out of your seat if you accidentally leave the volume up too high.
On one side, it carries four buttons. Three are for playing/pausing the audio, and next/previous tracks, while the first one is for turning on/off the Excelvan Soundgear. Initially, we didn’t like their performance. But after a short time of testing, we saw they work properly. Moreover, there is a trick that make it quite easy to use this Soundgear. Quick press the +/- buttons to change the song, and long press to adjust the volume. When there is no device connected to it, you will hear froufrou.
On the other side, there are a few interfaces such as the SD card, mini HDMI port, a USB port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Thus, you can pair it with the devices that don’t support Bluetooth. By the way, our protagonist supports Bluetooth 4.1 + ESR. Thus, it’s compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. The HDMI port is used to charging the 1100mAh battery. It takes about 3 hours to fully charge it. And this will be enough for listening to music for 5 hours. But this time depends on the volume level and audio content.
Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker Sound Quality
The Excelvan Soundgear sports four drivers. Two of them are sitting below each of your ears. They are meant to take care of the mid and higher frequencies. Two additional drivers sit further back. Due to such a structure, this speaker is capable of quite a good audio experience. But we will be naïve if say it has natural sound output. Do not forget we are dealing with an affordable around-the-neck speaker that copies almost everything from the JBL Soundgear BTA.
We mean the experience is not like listening to a Hi-Fi with floor stander speakers. It’s closer to a sort-of space helmet of sound, with audio seeming to come from behind and in front of you. But it supports Surround Stereo, thanks to the Quad transducers with Bass boost, you will enjoy an enriched and immersive audio experience.
As for the overall audio performance, at lower-mid volumes, it’s a pleasant listen. There’s a decent amount of bass, fair balance and solid treble detail. But when you listen to music at an increased volume, the cracks start to appear
The Bottom Line
As you understand, the biggest highlight of the Excelvan Soundgear Bluetooth Speaker is its appearance. This is like having a good quality stereo Bluetooth speaker but right next to your ears. So you can still hear what’s going on around you as well as listening to music or whatever coming out from your speaker.
The sound quality is not natural. And we have to say this was also noticed on the original JBL Soundgear. So it’s mainly related to the design and the placement of the drivers rather than the hardware. But unlike the latter, the model we were reviewing costs almost identical to the JBL Soundgear travel case.