Tylt Tunz Bluetooth Speaker Review – Plays Your Tunes and Charges Your Phone

Well priced Bluetooth speaker that charges your gadgets too

Annoyingly loud on/off sounds

Tylt Tunz?

TYLT TUNZ bluetooth speaker and charger speaker grille

With the choice of bluetooth portable speakers rapidly expanding, fledgling American company Tylt have bought their own stylish take on them to the market. So, what’s going to set their Tylt apart, and is it any good in the first place? We tested it for a few weeks to find out what’s what.

Design and Build

TYLT TUNZ in packaging

Opening the parcel to reveal the Tylt in its clear display box it’s immediately obviously the Tunz is a cool-looking product. Heck, even the packing is neat. In fact, let’s start with that. Why? Well, if a company are willing to package their product nicely, that’s usually a good sign of what’s to come. We hate it when you pay a good chunk of your hard-earned cash for something, and it looks like the manufacturer just bought a bulk-load of cheaply-printed card, sellotaped it together and threw in the product.

Thankfully, Tylt did the polar-opposite of that. Opening a product should be an experience if you’re paying a good amount for it. Apple started all that off, and I’m glad they did. Firstly, the clear plastic box is thick and weighty. Someone suggested keeping one the model cars in my office in it rather than dispose of the packaging. Good call. Keeping that in place is another sturdy plastic frame. Push in a clip at either side of that, and the lid slides slickly off to expose the Tunz speaker.

Lift that off and you’ve got a box underneath a cover. Open it, and pull out a couple of cables (good quality ones), and under that there’s another section with the words ‘but wait… there’s more‘ on printed on it. Pull that open and there are two more interchangeable silicone bands. There’s also a compact, fold-down textured draw-bag for the Tunz packed in there too.

TYLT TUNZ bluetooth speaker and charger with accessories

At 12.9 oz (366 grams) the Tunz is no lightweight. It feels hefty in a good way. If it’s pumping out music at a respectable volume and the bass is deep too, you’ll want something with a bit o’ weight behind it to get the best from the speaker, and to stop it vibrating its way across the surface and onto a hard floor to a smashy doom.

interchangeable silicone bands

Choose from red, black or blue silicone bands to customise the TUNZ to your mood/clothing/bruises

It’s a fairly simple design, all told. The speaker is rubberised around the casing, which not only gives grip but also feels better and more expensive than a flat plastic. It’s actually something car manufacturers do to their interior trim to give it an air of quality. The grille in front of the speaker has diamond shaping stamped into it which looks great when the angles catch the light.

The back of the speaker was one of my favourite sides of the Tylt Tunz, to be honest. It has slats like you’d get on some proper hardware like an Orange guitar amp head, where you can physically see a bit of what’s inside. Can’t argue with that sort of cool.

TYLT TUNZ rear view

On top of the Tunz are four touch-sensitive buttons. A plus and minus for the volume, a bluetooth symbol (multifunction button), and a phone symbol for when calls come through. Wrapped around the speaker is a thick silicone band, which is interchangeable with two more (red, blue, black). This allows the unit to stand away from the surface, reducing vibration, and also allows you to rest it on surfaces that the Tunz would normally slide off of or which would damage the casing if it was rough stuff.

Overall, we think the Tylt Tunz is well-designed, well-built, and made from good quality materials too.

Specs

Weight  12.9 ounces (366 grams)
Dimensions  (mm) W:115 x D: 57 x H: 70
Power/Battery life  Rechargeable 2,800 mAh Lithium-ion battery | Up to 20 hours use
Warranty  1 year
Colours  Black with interchangeable coloured silicone bands
Bundle  Tunz speaker, USB cable, auxiliary cable, draw bag, 3 silicone bands (red, blue, black)
Website  Tylt.com
Price  U.S. $150.00

Features & Usability

If your product ain’t diverse, it ain’t gonna survive alongside the tough competition. The guys at Tunz have obviously done their research here, and come up with a way to make it appealing. So let’s start with that point; it’ll recharge your phone, MP3 player and some tablets if they’re compatible (see Tylt’s FAQ’s) . The Tylt puts out 1 Amp of power from the beasty 2,800 mAh lithium-ion battery at a USB standard 5 volts so most gadgets should charge nicely.You get a micro-USB cable for not only charging the Tunz, but that can also be used to charge your phone or MP3 player if it fits too.

Charging an iPhone

As long as your device has a USB-ported cable to plug into the Tunz, and is capable of charging with a 1 Amp power-source, it’ll juice it up. On that, I noticed it wasn’t charging my iPhone and being both mystified and miffed at the same time, I decided to check out why. Turns out that the Tylt Tunz battery level has to be at least 50% full to give a charge, and it’ll only do its primary job of pumping out your tunes if it goes below that level. Fair enough!

So, you can charge stuff with it. Neato, but what else does it do? It’ll connect via bluetooth with your phone for hands-free calling, and you can also answer, finish or reject the call from the Tunz too. This feature is something we liked as it works well in that the microphone on the Tunz picks up your voice well even from a couple of metres away, and callers report good audio thanks to a noise-cancelling mic, and their voices were clear and crisp on the speaker too.

Other stuff? You can also connect your device to the Tunz via an auxiliary port if you haven’t got bluetooth, and there’s also the ability to connect two Tylt’s together for extra volume.

TYLT TUNZ  controls on top of the speaker

Other bits.

The Tylt Tunz has NFC technology built-in. If your smartphone has NFC on it, all you have to do is tap your phone against the side of the Tunz to begin using it. A fabulous bit of tech that, and I applaud Tylt for having the gumption to include it on their product. I dearly wish my iPhone 4 had it on dammit. For a description of how NFC works, here’s some info.

Right. Onto what the Tylt Tunz is really made to do. Play music. We tested it with a large variety of genres and albums to see how it coped overall. The Tunz packs two 3 Watt speakers and a passive radiator, and for a small l’il thing, it has some good punch. It will apparently put out a a maximum sound level of 80 decibels, which is easily enough should you want to listen to whatever you’re into at a decent volume without the neighbours deciding your window would look better with a brick thrown through it.

With the volume on our iPhones full, and it at nearly maximum on the Tunz, the sound it gives is still good with very little, if any, distortion. Put both devices on max though, and it’s likely you will encounter some distortion, but that’ll mainly depend on what you’re playing at the time. So, if you’re playing some drum ‘n bass or hip-hop with deep tones, you’ll get it, but if you’re playing something with less bass like a cool John Coltrane or Miles Davis track at the top sound setting, it’ll be fine and the quality shouldn’t diminish.

On a couple of tracks, we lost a bit of what it should sound like on a good system but most of that is down to the equaliser settings on the particular device. The iPhone 4 has pre-sets instead of a custom, so we we couldn’t get the sound 100% correct on all of the tracks. Having said that, if you link it up to a computer like I often did, then it’s much easier to get your favourite music tracks sounding just as you like them.

TYLT TUNZ bluetooth on a wall

The battery life on the Tunz is impressive, with up to 20 hours at listening on 50% volume level. You’ll get a good 8 hours or so if it’s louder too. The only drawback really is the six to seven hour time it takes to re-charge to thing.

Although this is a small speaker, we were impressed with what it puts out. You’ll get nice rich bass, alongside crisp trebles and full(ish) mid-range. If you’re a speaker geek, I’m sure you’ll find stuff to pick on, but for the average person with their average ears, the sound gotten from this $150.00 speaker is excellent.

Negatives?

A couple of things we found that weren’t so cool; the button for the phone feature is too close to the silicone band, so it’s harder to get to that the others. A bad design. A really negative point is the powering up and down tones. They are ear-blastingly loud – even annoyingly so – and although we turned the volume down during use to see if that made a difference, it didn’t. Not good if you want to wake up to some chilling music in the morning, only to be rudely awoken by the Tunz’s ‘on’ tone.

Price

With a price-tag of $150, the Tunz isn’t the cheapest bluetooth speaker out there by any stretch. But neither is it the most expensive. It’s party-piece is the fact it charges stuff too, plus it’s well-made and of good quality. We reckon you’ll be happy with the Tunz for the price, and it’s not one where you get it home and realise the glitz of the shop-surroundings and a greasy salesman made you shell out overly much for an under-par product. Thumbs up there then.

Tylt Tunz Rechargable Bluetooth Speaker verdict

The Tunz is a good bit of kit. We liked the fact that it’s presented and packaged superbly, before you even start to use the speaker that’s a good thing. The design of the Tunz is cool, and it’s gone with a tradition form rather than trying to be something ‘funky’ which will probably not date well. The features it has are genuinely useful, work well and are simple to use. The sound is satisfactory enough, and we were happy with its decent range of bass, middle and treble tones.

Overall, the Tunz is a capable little bluetooth speaker with plenty of tech packed in and a high build quality.

Own a Tylt Tunz? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Also, check out our other audio gadget reviews here.

Design & Quality  9
Features  8.5
Price  7
Overall  8.0 / 10 

Words: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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