Throughout the past couple of years, portable speakers have exploded in popularity. Now a dime a dozen, you can find them on every size, shape, and color. Very few, however, have a functional design. We were very fortunate to have the team over at Honeycomb Audio send us their brand-new speaker for review. Originally priced at $199, the HC-1 is now on sale for the holidays at $129. Without any further ado, here’s our full review of the Honeycomb HC-1 Bluetooth Speaker.
The speakers’ unique hexagonal design is the biggest eye catcher – especially in the red/black model. According to the product page, the hexagonal design is said to be among the best in terms of a weight-to-strength design and it shows. The speaker feels sturdy and resistant. The bezels protecting the speaker drivers seem ready to take on everyday use just fine. The speaker houses 4 drivers along with a 40w low distortion amplifier inside its unique design. While our first review unit did suffer from distortion issues and a somewhat distant sound issue, we are pleased to say that our second unit fixed these problems. The sound from the speaker is great at almost every setting. Maxing out the volume produces a small amount of distortion, but this should not be a problem since the speaker gets fairly loud because of the way sound travels thanks through its design. Atop the speaker are the standard controls, which are very clicky. The box states “tactile control buttons”, and the product website describes them as “tactile touch controls”, but these are not touch sensitive as each press produces an audible click.
Aside from being a Bluetooth Speaker, the HC-1 also has the ability to charge any smartphone with the provided USB Port. While the feature is always a good thing to have, expect to make some sacrifices to music playback as the battery on the speaker is only 2,200 mAh.
Line In/USB/TF Playback
Another great feature of this speaker is the ability to playback music through an Aux cable (provided), USB drive, and SD/TF card.
Playing music through an SD/TF card, however, is limited to a maximum of 16GB cards and the forward/backward controls might seem a little confusing at first (especially if you are not a fan of manuals). The controls labeled “+” and “-” are used to skip through tracks forward and backward on the music stored on the SD card while holding either button will increase and decrease the volume. While this is by no means a deal breaker, it was something we found while testing out the device’s SD card playback. For future generations of this already great speaker, we might suggest to change the control labels to forward (>>) and backward (<<) so playing music through SD cards can be more effortless, or simply inverting the functions; one press for volume controls and holding for navigating forward/backward through the tracks.
Bluetooth playback and connectivity is fairly straightforward. The blinking blue light indicator lets you know the speaker is in pairing mode, while a successful connection produces an unmistakable chime.
At $129, the Honeycomb Bluetooth speaker offers a great eye catching design and great sound quality. The superb design makes it a no-brainer for home and outdoor use, and the ability to play music from an SD card is great for leaving your smartphone at home. The only thing detracting this speaker from receiving our seal of approval are its controls. As mentioned earlier, these might be better executed if they were inverted with a single press offering volume controls while a press & hold can serve to move forward and backward. Overall, the Honeycomb Bluetooth speaker can still stand among the sea of many other speakers thanks to its great sound quality and elegant design.