All images copyright SuperTooth
Looking for a Bluetooth-capable speaker to stream music from your iPad, iPhone or other suitably-equipped portable device (even an old Sony Walkman audio cassette player)? You could do a lot worse than the SuperTooth DISCO. This impressive product delivers powerful stereo sound from a reasonably sized and solid package that is simple to set up, equipped with handy features and, like all the best gadgets,... just works.
For a portable speaker, the SuperTooth DISCO was bigger and heavier than I expected, being just under a foot in length, 70 mm in depth and weighing around 1140 grams. These numbers are not to its discredit, though, given how solid and well-built SuperTooth has made it. You can't slip it in your back pocket but you can guarantee that it won't shatter into pieces if you're unfortunate enough to knock over the table it's on (if you are paranoid, though, you can always protect it with the thick wraparound case that comes supplied).
If you know how to connect a Bluetooth device to a smartphone or computer, getting sound out of the DISCO should only take minutes. You switch on the DISCO's On/Off switch and wait for two blue lights to flash rapidly. You then go to your device's Bluetooth menu and wait until the two devices find each other. You will be prompted for a PIN code, which is four zeros. Enter that and you should hear the speaker pop into life.
I had no trouble going through this process on an iPhone and a laptop with an internal Bluetooth adapter running Windows 7. I did have some difficulties on my desktop, which runs on Windows Vista, but I traced that to a driver that needed updating to get my Bluetooth adapter running properly.
Sound quality is the key factor with any speaker and the average user shouldn't be disappointed with what the DISCO puts out. There is a classic, good-sized volume adjustment knob on the front surrounded by buttons for controlling the source (play, stop, pause, next and previous). There is also a button that allows you set the bass high or low to suit what you are listening to.
With the bass increased, the DISCO puts out a satisfyingly deep sound that is miles better than what the average smartphone or tablet produces. As someone who likes to watch movies on my iPhone, I found that the Disco made a big improvement to the experience and it also added some welcome weight to the sound of rock music.
Part of the reason for this is that the DISCO can be turned up LOUD! At higher volumes some distortion starts to come in, but no more than you get with any listening device that is asked to play at a volume beyond what can reasonably be expected to sound good. I doubt that most users will often have the volume control above half way and even at that point they might disturb their neighbors if the walls are thin.
Although I've mentioned hooking up the DISCO via Bluetooth, there is another option. The device comes with an audio cable that allows you to hook it up to a 3.5 mm headphone or Audio Out jack on a stereo system, mp3 player or that aforementioned Sony Walkman.
You also have options for how you power the speaker. It has a mains adapter that can be plugged in continuously where an outlet is available. Otherwise, the unit contains a rechargeable battery that is said to last up to 10 hours once fully charged (subject to the volume you have the speaker set at). That estimate may be a little high given that I had to charge it again after playing it for two to three hours a day for three days but it’s probably not far off.
The SuperTooth DISCO is an impressive device all round and that is a rare compliment to give any gadget. If you are looking for festive gifts already and you know someone who could use a table-top speaker that can survive the rigors of transport, the Bluetooth Disco should make them happy without breaking the bank.