The good thing about Bluetooth speakers that there are several models available and if you are on a budget and want to improve the sound of your laptop or mobile, you still have several possibilities.
The AmazonBasics portable speaker is one of those options since it competes in the lowest price range with its $20 price tag (18.03.2018).
The Amazon products usually provide good value at a low price, so let’s see in this in-depth review what their speaker can do for 20 dollars.
AmazonBasics Portable Speaker Review Video
The AmazonBasics comes in a simple box with only a short micro USB cable included.
It is available in three color options: red, black and blue.
Design-wise it has a classic brick shape with a plastic body and a metal speaker grille on the front.
Its look is not too interesting, the only notable design element that the speaker grille got an interesting texture, I like it, it looks pretty good.
You cannot really expect premium materials for $20, and indeed, the speaker was made from hard plastic which feels cheap like the power switch on the back.
Compared to the similarly sized speakers, the AmazonBasics is surprisingly lightweight.
Overall, it feels quite sturdy but you can expect the hard plastic to collect scratches quite easily.
There are four buttons situated on the top of the speaker: the ‘O’ button, the Phone button and the two volume control buttons.
They were made from the same plastic but they feel good and are clicky enough.
The micro USB charging port and the audio jack input port are on the back; they are not covered since the speaker did not get any water protection.
How to Setup
By turning on, the speaker starts automatically in pairing mode, the blue indicator LED is blinking under the speaker grille and the device is discoverable, you can easily find it with your phone or computer.
I did not have any problem pairing it, it appeared as BSK30 under the available devices.
If you want to pair a second device, I suggest turning off the Bluetooth on your first device otherwise the speaker will automatically connect to it and quit from pairing mode.
According to the manufacturer, the Bluetooth range is 33 feet and I can confirm this, I measured exactly the same in my outdoor test.
This range is an average in this category.
Since it has an audio jack input port, you can connect it via cable to any device which does not support Bluetooth, however, the audio cable is not included in the box.
You can change between wired and Bluetooth connection modes by quickly pressing the ‘O’ button.
The speaker has a built-in microphone, so it can be used as a speakerphone to answer phone calls.
The AmazonBasics has a very limited music control capability.
It is only possible to pause/play a song by quickly pressing the ‘Play’ button, however you cannot skip a song or jump back to the previous one.
The speaker can be charged with the included micro USB cable and according to the manufacturer it takes around 3.5 hours to fully charge it.
There is a small LED indicator at the back which flashes in red when the speaker starts charging and it turns off if it is fully charged.
It starts to play a beep sound when the battery is running low however apart from this it does not have any battery level indicator which can tell you the exact remaining battery percentage.
In my test when I played various types of songs on the speaker at 70% volume I measured 12 hours 30 minutes play time while repeating the same test at maximum volume I got 5 hours.
It is a quite good battery life; it is above the average.
AmazonBasics Portable Speaker Sound Test
Under the hood, it has two 2.5 Watt drivers and a passive radiator.
Considering its low price, it has a quite decent, balanced sound, but don’t expect too much.
It has a similar sound like the smaller but more expensive JBL Go.
Its sound is even a bit bigger, however, sometimes too harsh and not so clear.
The maximum volume level is fine; it is enough to fill a smaller room.
AmazonBasics Portable Speaker (BSK30) vs JBL Go Sound Test
Overall for 20 dollars, the AmazonBasics portable speaker is quite good, and if your expectation is not too high then it will not disappoint you.
You have to keep in mind that this is one of the cheapest Bluetooth speakers, you won’t get anything premium, it is a basic device made from cheap materials.
Its battery life is good, its sound is okay, comparable to the smaller, branded devices.
However, if your budget allows I suggest paying some more bucks because for 20 dollars more you can get much better devices like the Anker SoundCore 2.
Good battery life
The sound is not so clear
Very limited music control capability
For around $30 you can get the JBL Go, which is the cheapest JBL speaker.
It is a much smaller, more portable device with similar, a bit even clearer sound, however, it has a shorter battery life.
Another good alternative can be the similarly priced OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth speaker, which is even splashproof.
If you are not after the cheapest speaker and can spend some more bucks then the Anker SoundCore 2 is definitely a much better, more advanced speaker.
It has a better build quality, a fuller, richer sound, and an IPX5 water protection.
Product dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches
Item weight: 8 ounces