PROS / It has excellent speakerphone, megaphone and recording features.
CONS / It lacks bass and ruggedness.
VERDICT / The Sound BlasterAxx is versatile and fun because it takes advantage of Creative's sound card technology, but it lacks the high-end audio and ruggedness of the best Bluetooth speakers.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 Bluetooth Speakers here.
The best feature of Creative's Sound BlasterAxx is its incredible versatility. Not only is it a wireless Bluetooth speaker, but it's also a megaphone, audio recorder, karaoke machine, mobile device charger, WMA and MP3 player, and speakerphone. At times, it's difficult to determine if it's supposed to be a novelty toy or a serious Bluetooth wireless speaker.
The stacked speaker design provides omnidirectional audio that simulates surround sound so that there are almost no dead spots. While the Creative sound card is supposed to enhance your music, we found the audio lacked a significant amount of bass, regardless of what we played through it. With only two active drivers and no passive bass radiators, the audio doesn't sound as full and deep as the best Bluetooth speakers.
The battery life is just above average with 15 hours on a full charge, which takes 3.4 hours of being plugged into an outlet to achieve. For comparison, the best Bluetooth speaker has a battery life of 40 hours, while the shortest battery life is six hours. The average battery life for the Bluetooth speakers in our review is 14.25 hours. You can also use the speaker as a battery bank to charge your mobile devices using the USB port in the back.
Since it has a microphone, you can use it to amplify your voice as with a megaphone, and the CrystalVoice FX system allows you to change your voice with a variety of effects. You can also play music and sing through the microphone as with a karaoke machine. A built-in memory card slot allows you to record audio. All you have to do is set it in front of you and your guitar and hit record. Your song records to the memory card, which you can play back and upload to your computer. The memory card also allows you to play WMA and MP3 files, which means you can play music from the Sound BlasterAxx even when it's not paired with a phone.
The Sound BlasterAxx has one of the best speakerphone features for a portable Bluetooth speaker. Two buttons, Voice Focus and Noise Reduction, on top of the speaker allow you to minimize interference from background noise. The Voice Focus button creates an acoustic zone that targets the voices picked up in a small radius, while the Noise Reduction button filters out background noises.
One of the flaws of the Sound BlasterAxx is its lack of ruggedness. While the design is sturdy enough to handle the bumps and jostles of a backpack, it can't handle splashes of water or dirt. So while you can take it camping, you'll want to leave it behind if you're at the pool or beach.
Creative's Sound BlasterAxx is the most versatile Bluetooth speaker on the market. It's a speakerphone, a megaphone, a recorder, a karaoke machine and a battery bank. However, it lacks high-end audio for streaming music and rugged features for outdoor use.