Matrix ONE is a new product from Matrix Audio that is a wireless Bluetooth speaker/speakerphone, with a control wheel that enables answering the phone or skipping tracks. We previously reviewed Matrix Audio’s QUBE portable speaker.
What I like about the Matrix ONE
The Matrix ONE features up to 14 hours of playback when plugged into an audio source, which probably means that it has a 4-6 hour life as a wireless speaker, depending on how far you place it from the originating source. For such a small speaker, it produces a fairly nice range of sound, which is probably due to the XCavated Bass Amplifier – it sounds less tinny than speakers that size. It also claims 3.5 total watts of speaker power, although it doesn’t seem to compete with my 5W speakers for sheer loudness.
The Matrix ONE has simple Bluetooth pairing, comes with a proprietary charging/audio cable, and can be recharged from any USB source. I can’t really tell if the microphone pickup is good or bad during calls due to varying network conditions, but it functions about as well as a speakerphone functions.
The Matrix ONE is 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.8 inches while closed, but you can twist it slightly and it expands slightly for better sound.
Overall, the sound of the Matrix ONE is pretty decent. It’s nowhere near as loud as my personal favorite portable Bluetooth speaker, the HMDX Jam, but it’s significantly smaller than the Jam, and significantly more pocketable. This is the portable speaker solution for someone wanting to just chuck their phone and a speaker in their pockets and saunter off to meet the day.
What I don’t like about the Matrix ONE
The Matrix ONE is designed to be used with smartphones. Smartphones mostly microUSB, 30-pin, or lightning connectors these days. The Matrix ONE uses a mini USB type B, if I’m not mistaken. If you want to charge your speaker on the fly you’re going to need a standard USB power supply. That means you’ll need to keep up with the charging/audio cable the manufacturer provides, for although it’s capable of plugging into a 1/8-inch audio source, there is only the mini USB connector on the Matrix ONE. This is not something you’ll be able to easily recharge at grandma’s house.
It’s not completely self-contained, meaning if you don’t have access to a USB power supply you’re not going to be able to charge it. While most of us probably have either a computer or a wall-to-USB type A adaptor, it’s not a universal given.
The Matrix ONE has nice sound, but it doesn’t reach the deep bass I like from my speakers. However, with extreme portability comes some lack of bass – that I understand. There is probably not too much that can be done in a speaker that size.
The packaging I have, which may not be the final packaging, is kind of cheap feeling. For that matter, in contrast with Matrix Audio’s over-designed QUBE (which was half the price), this feels cheap by comparison. I don’t think you’ll break it, but I don’t think you could stand on it either.
I personally don’t care about the speakerphone capabilities of the thing. With cell reception on both ends, codecs, audio delays and lack of noise cancelling my phone does on its own, it becomes painful. That is not the Matrix ONE’s fault, however.
The suggested retail price of the Matrix ONE is also significantly higher than I’d pay for it, coming in at $89.99. However, you can pick it up at Amazon for $46.89.
It’s a pretty nice speaker and would make a decent gift for your nerd on the go.
Update: ran the Matrix ONE for roughly two days at low volume on Bluetooth without a recharge. Battery life seems quite good at least if listened to at a reasonable volume.