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The Hercules Wireless BTP04 is the second of several wireless audio devices we’ve reviewed recently. Like everything else we love, there’s always a bit of give and take between price, quality and features. But the Hercules Wireless BTP04 does have some aspects that sets it apart from the competition.
About the size of a three-sided can of soda, the Hercules Wireless BTP04 weighs just over a half pound, and is six inches tall by about 2.25 inches across. This makes it highly portable, so you never have to think twice about taking it with you. Inside, there’s a 3.7 volt, 1200mAh lithium ion battery, which gives it a run time of up to 14 hours between charges. Audio controls are housed in one end, and the USB input (plus a line-in) is in the other end, under a rubber cover. A pair of drivers deliver 2 watts each, with a peak output of 8 watts. Frequency response is 130 Hz up to 20,000 Hz. That means you’ll get all your voices and instruments, but it won’t reproduce the low bass notes as well. In addition to streaming music via the wireless audio connection, you can also use the BTP04 as a Bluetooth hands-free speaker for your phone, as it has a built-in microphone. Naturally, it’s weatherproof as well, so don’t worry about splashes big or small.
For durability, the Hercules Wireless BTP04 has rubberized end caps, and the speakers are covered first by a fine mesh, then a more open mesh, for double protection. For such a reasonable price, the BTP04 offers clever design and some impressive features. We downloaded the WAE app for Android, and that improved the “Wireless Audio Experience”, as it has a music player as well as graphic equalizer. It’s not super fancy, but allows you to fine tune the sound, which made a big difference in audio quality. And it’s nice to see the company offering that little extra at no charge. A standard 1/4 x 20 socket lets you mount it on a tripod, as well as just about anyplace you could mount a compact camera – that includes handle bar mounts, suction cup, etc.
Pairing the Hercules Wireless BTP04 with a phone or iPod was very simple, and no code was required for either device. Once setup, it reconnected without any trouble. Although the effective range of Bluetooth is usually expected to be about 10 meters, I found that I could transmit wireless audio to the BTP04 out to at least 40 feet. Beyond that, the music could not be heard well, so no further testing was done. Thanks to its triangular shape, the BTP04 worked laying down, standing up, or even strapped to a post or tree branch with a compact tripod we had been testing. Because the speakers are side by side, the sound is very directional. While that may not be the best option in some situations, it’s slightly better for those times when you want to enjoy your music without having it disturb people around you. One final comment about the Hercules Wireless BTP04 – the triangular design coupled with heavy duty construction makes this speaker one that will take more abuse than you’re likely to ever dish out. If you’re hard on your gear, but like to take your music with you, this should make your short list. Hercules Wireless BTP04 is available in the US on Amazon.com
MSRP: $99.99 | Run time: 14 hours | Sound quality/quantity: good | Build quality: excellent
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the Hercules Wireless BTP04 on loan from Hercules, and it was returned to them relatively unharmed at the conclusion of our testing.