In May this year, sound card and personal digital entertainment device maker, Creative Technology, refreshed its pure wireless speaker line-up. Among the many new products introduced is the super-affordable (S$49 to be exact) D80, a single-piece Bluetooth speaker.
The D80 measures in at 336 x 115 x 115mm; while it’s small enough to still fit into a backpack (at 1.06kg, it’s light enough too), comparatively, it’s noticeably larger than some of the new-fangled, wireless portable speakers in the market right now, such as the Jawbone Jambox and the Veho Mimi VSS-002. That being said, on the upside, the D80 packs dual 3-inch drivers.
The D80 has a smooth, curved exterior; customization is possible by means of swapping the color grille in front of the speaker drivers. The D80 is available in white (with a pink, blue, or green grille) and black (with a black grille).
Overall, the D80 gave a credible sonic performance; we threw quite a wide variety of audio sources at it. It's worth noting that it has a balanced, but slightly forward-sounding audio signature. A caveat: when listening to Tiesto’s Elements of Life, we noticed that the bass wasn’t as tight as we’d like it to be.
Bluetooth pairing was easily done without any hiccups; wireless music streaming worked well up to 10 meters from the D80. If you’ve a non-Bluetooth-capable music player, you can still connect to the D80 via a wired connection using the Aux-in port in front of the speaker. For laptops that don’t support stereo Bluetooth, you can buy the tiny BT-D1 Bluetooth USB dongle. To add a wireless transmitter to the iPod, there’s another BT-D5 dongle.
The biggest draw of the Creative D80 is its affordable price. For just S$49 you get a stereo system with two 3-inch drivers and the added benefit of wireless stereo playback. While it doesn’t require an external power brick (thank goodness for that), unlike the S$89 D100, it doesn’t accept AA batteries. So don’t forget the power cord when you want to bring it out and about.