The Bluetooth speaker market is filled with different levels of quality and build quality. And of course, that means that they come in all different price ranges. Today, we’re going to take a look at a budget Bluetooth speaker option from Monoprice, the Harmony Capsule 200.
The Harmony Capsule 200 comes in at $69.99 on the company’s website or $81.50 on Amazon. You might look at that number and think “that’s not a budget speaker.” Of course, you can get a Bluetooth speaker cheaper than that.
But most of them will be much smaller and less powerful than the Harmony Capsule 200. The Harmony Capsule 200 is a budget speaker in the sense that it sits on the lower end of the price spectrum compared to similar speakers from other brands.
But enough about the relative price of Bluetooth speakers. Let’s see what the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 is all about.
Setup is as easy as it should be
Unboxing and setting up the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 is as easy as you would expect from a Bluetooth speaker. It comes with a USB-C cord that plugs into a covered port on the back for charging.
As expected, the speaker paired right up to my phone with no problem at all. The speaker let out a little sound notification to signal it was in pairing mode and it showed up on my phone in no time.
The battery is rated for up to 10 hours of playback, but that depends on the volume. If found that the speaker lasted closer to five or six hours when listening at higher volumes.
READ MORE: Review: Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC Bluetooth Headphones
One thing I did notice when I turned on the Bluetooth speaker for the first time was that the buttons were very strange. The speaker features a power, Bluetooth, and play button on the front, as well as a button for volume up and down.
All of these buttons are pretty difficult to press, and it’s hard to tell when a button press actually goes through. And later, when I was playing music, I discovered that the volume buttons double as skip buttons if you hold them in.
This was actually pretty frustrating to use since I would try to just push the button to adjust the volume but end up holding it down and skipping a song because the button was so difficult to press. I eventually got used to the clunky buttons, but they could definitely be improved.
How does the Harmony Capsule 200 Bluetooth speaker sound?
And now on to the most important question: How does the speaker sound? After listening to music through this speaker for the last couple of weeks, the best way I can describe the sound of the Harmony Capsule 200 is passable.
Of course, having passable sound isn’t the best endorsement that I could give a Bluetooth speaker. But it’s not all bad by any means. I want to take a look at the positives of the Harmony Capsule 200 before we get into how the speaker could improve.
Firstly, the speaker is plenty loud. The Harmony Capsule 200 is branded as an outdoor speaker with IPX7 waterproof protection and it’s definitely loud for a speaker its size. It features dual 52 mm drivers and a single 66 mm driver that pumps out a lot of sound.
The second positive in terms of sound for this speaker is the 360-degree audio. You can display the speaker either upright or sideways. And either option delivers 360-degree sound so you don’t have to worry so much about where the speaker resides.
All of the logos are upside down when the speaker is displayed sideways, however. Obviously, this doesn’t affect sound quality at all, but it seems like a minor design flaw.
Sound quality is a little muffled
The speaker has plenty of volume, making it a sufficient option for outdoor play. Unfortunately, the sound quality is a little muffled.
At lower volumes and indoors, the sound quality on the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 is perfectly acceptable. It’s not going to keep up with more expensive, higher-end speakers, but the sound is clear enough to enjoy.
The problem lies when you start to crank the volume up. At louder volumes, the sound from the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Bluetooth speaker comes out muffled.
In music tracks with higher bass, like hip-hop, the issue is most noticeable. Lower pitches tend to overpower the higher tones in songs like No Church in the Wild by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
As I said earlier, at lower volumes, the sound is much better. But cranking the speaker up makes music not sound quite as good.
The sound quality is perfectly acceptable as a background speaker at a party, out by a pool, or something of that nature. But if you’re looking to really enjoy the music that you’re listening to, you might not want the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 to be your main speaker.
Should you buy the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Bluetooth speaker?
As I said earlier, the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 falls in an interesting price range for Bluetooth speakers. It’s louder and more powerful than some speakers at or just below its price, such as the Clip 4 from JBL.
But the sound quality offered is lower than others that cost the same or a little more. For instance, Sony’s SRS-XB23 has stellar reviews for a speaker this size, but it’ll cost you a few bucks extra.
If you are looking for a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker to be your main music listening experience, I wouldn’t recommend this speaker. The sound quality is just a little too low at higher volumes.
But, if you’re looking for a secondary speaker that you’ll use outside or at a party where the music isn’t the focus of attention, then the Harmony Capsule 200 from Monoprice might be for you. It plays loud music at 360 degrees, and it’s a bit cheaper than similar-sized speakers.
What’s even better is that the speaker seems to go on sale pretty often. It’s available on the Monoprice website for $69.99 or on Amazon for $81.50. But it’s currently on sale on the Monoprice website for $59.99, which makes it a much better value.
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Loud enough for outdoor use
360 degree sound
Audio is a bit muffled at higher volumes
It’s a little on the heavy side