Review: Nokia MD-12–the portable and surprisingly powerful speaker

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Microsoft Mobile always has some accessories available for their smartphones, often including headphones and speakers, which are usually known for good sound and a different design. The MD-12 portable speaker is no exception. Its small, compact and light design does not hint  at the power and sound quality of the speaker.

Find out more about the little wonder after the break.

As I already wrote in the introduction, the speaker is small and light. So compact, you will not have any issues carrying it around in your suit jacket pocket or bag; you could only not put it into your jeans pocket since for that it is too bulky. Other than that, like all of Nokia’s phones the MD-12 is available in a large range of colors. My device was in shiny orange, and yes, it is really shiny. Know the orange of neon text marker pens? This color is pretty much the one of this speaker, and I am sure with green it is the same. The body is made of plastic, which seems to be polycarbonate just as used for Nokia phones. The grid on the top is made of metal, probably aluminum and the bottom of a soft rubber, so the speaker can not slip away.

However, as eye-catching as the design is, more surprising is the power and sound quality. The speaker is designed to be put on a solid surface like a table because it uses it as a resonant body. This means, the sound waves coming out of the speaker alone will not sound any good. You can easily test this by holding it in your hand while playing music; the music will be very quiet and sound awful. On a table the speaker can transfer most of the vibrations to the table which will – easily said – become a part of the speaker. While high frequencies will still come out on the speaker itself, lower tones will be audible only because of the surface the speaker is standing on. The result: A good and powerful bass. And in fact, this design really turns out to be a very good idea. The sound is great.

Of course you cannot expect audiophile quality high end sound. In comparison with real speakers the bass boom and higher frequencies do not sound very clear. The thing is, you cannot take a real sound system with you, and that is the intention of the MD-12. While hosting a house party, you will not impress anybody, but once you go out with, say, your friends to the park and sit down at a picnic table, you can have a good and powerful speaker with you.
For a spontaneous party the speaker is also ideal, but not without a little tip: Put the speaker in the middle of a plastic bowl and put that bowl on a table. Even better you can also put some rubber band under the bowl, and voila, you have a great little and portable party speaker. Of course this still will not replace your sound system, but on a spontaneous party this will do its job very well. A loud and bassy speaker – that is what is the most important thing to have.

In fact, even without the bowl the bass can go really deep. I listen to rock and there was no song which sounded as if the speaker is on its edge of ability. For my taste it could be a little bit heavier, then the bass would sound a bit louder, but that is up to everyone themselves, since that is a matter of taste. In general I would rate the sound as good –compared to real speakers its not, but considering the circumstances of design and portability, it really is. And the bowl will make the speaker appear louder and the bass clearer.

To play music you of course need to connect your device to the MD-12. You can either use Bluetooth or a cable, and since the speaker has a NFC chip build in connecting via Bluetooth is really easy. If your device does not support NFC, you alternatively can just press the only button in front of the speaker when it is turned on once; afterwards you will find the MD-12 in your Bluetooth device list.

And last there remains something to be said about the battery life. Nokia claims it to be up to 15 hours, which I can confirm. It always depends on how loud you listen to your music; on a lower level you can possibly enjoy it longer. However, I mostly had the speaker turned up almost to the highest level and switched the device (PC and phone) quite often, and 15 hours came out to be a realistic specification. Without any doubts you will come through the night without problems.

The RRP of the Nokia MD-12 portable speaker is €49.90, which is ok. However, you can already get it at a price as low as €34.50 on Amazon Germany, which is absolutely fair.

Note: Due to the previous tester damaging everything but the speaker itself, Nokia only sent me the speaker without the packaging and accessories inside it. I was told besides the usual manual and user instruction there is only a micro USB charger delivered with the MD-12.

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