CAMPING - GEAR
Keeping up with the latest technology is, seemingly, a full-time job these days. Our latest purchase is a harman/kardon Esquire Bluetooth remote speaker that normally sells for around $300.
We checked out around a dozen different brands and while the harman/kardon Esquire probably wasn’t the absolute best-sounding unit, it was in the top few percent. What made the decision for us was the availability of one with damaged packaging that we picked up for $180.
Our Esquire is white and brushed aluminium, making it a perfect partner for a white iPhone.
Many Bluetooth speakers are cylindrical, to disperse sound in a wide arc, but the Esquire is a rounded-corner square shape, making the sound quite directional.
The front grille is plastic mesh; the frame is aluminium; the back is leather faced and the foot section is made of non-slip plastic. Whether standing up or lying on its back the Esquire is non-scratch.
Inside the speaker, there’s a small amplifier with two 10W channels, working with a bass port for low frequency sounds. Sending music to the speaker can be done through an easily-used Bluetooth wireless connection, or via a 3.5mm input jack.
The Esquire measures 147x147x46.5mm and has a frequency response range of 80-22,000Hz. The speaker features two 45mm transducers and has a 4000mAh battery, with claimed life up to 10 hours. Ours runs happily for eight hours at a stretch.
The Esquire also features custom-tuned microphones and noise cancellation technology for clear broadcast and phone calls.
Controls are metal press buttons along the top, regulating power, microphone, volume, play/pause, Bluetooth pairing and a phone answer/hang-up button.
On the right hand side are the jack port, micro-USB charge port and battery check LCD meter with five dots that indicate charge level.
The supplied mains charging plug has three USB ports that can charge the speaker and two other devices at the same time.
A zip-up, soft leather protection case is also included.
Performance can’t match that of a full-sized home theatre sound system, but the quality is streets ahead of phone and tablet speakers, and docking speaker units.
Our music taste is wide and we found the Esquire very good at reproducing genres including classical, opera, country, ballads, jazz, musicals and pop. We’re not into head-banging bass sounds, so we don’t notice the inevitable compromise in this area.
The Esquire has plenty of volume range, making it ideal for parties or spread-out campsites. We haven’t noticed any distortion at high volume settings. This compact unit is now our camping entertainment centre, amplifying music, movies and phone calls.