A BT speaker for the snow…
“audiophile”-type sound (clarity of detail)
Ability to pair several dozen (or more, Broadcast mode)
For a BT speaker, the sound is quite good
Good battery life
Cons: Not enough bass
Will kids want this, without the monster bass?
Tronsmart Force 2 BT speaker ($69): A BT speaker for the snow…
Tronsmart Force 2
Intro: Through a HeadFi giveaway, I was one of five chosen to review the Force 2. I am thankful for that, and as a result felt obligated to give a review worthy of the unit. Therefore, I did not rush. Others were able to get their reviews out early, which is not bad as it gives the user time to see how the unit functions quickly. Plus, many had cool snow pictures to go along with the write ups.
I have very little experience with BT speakers, but thankfully I now have that experience. All that was asked is an honest review of the good or bad, for ill or will. I would do not other. As such, the unit was absconded with almost immediately by our daughter, who used it for several nights with good results.
The unit will have approximately 50-75hrs on it by the end of this review, giving the user a longer-term look into the functionality of the Force 2. I profusely thank Tronsmart for the review sample, and after the review is done, my daughter has warned me, that the unit will be hers…oh well. That’s the way it goes.
|Model||Tronsmart Force 2|
|Output (watt)||30W RMS|
|Transmission Distance||Up to 10m/32.8ft (open area)|
|Play Time||Up to 15 hours|
|Charging Time||About 3 – 4 hours|
|Frequency Range||60Hz – 20KHz|
|Connector||Type-C charging port, 3.5mm aux-in port, Micro SD card slot|
|Dimension||6.42 x 2.83 x 2.52 inches / 163 x 72 x 64 mm|
|Net Weight||627 g / 22.08 oz|
|Package Contents||1 x Force 2, 1 x Type-C charging cable, 1 x User manual, 1 x Warranty card, 1 x Aux-in cable ,1 x Lanyard|
Force 2 is a compact speaker with an RMS output of 30W. Equipped with Qualcomm QCC3021 chip together with SoundPulse® and IPX7 waterproof technologies, it delivers a terrific sound. Also, it can sync sound across 100+ speakers thanks to the broadcast mode.
iPhone XS Max
Shanling M6 Pro
Cayin N6ii mk2
HiBy R3 Pro Saber
twenty one pilots
Coming in a box, which reminds me of the portable iFi products, size-wise; the Force 2 is packaged well. Efficient use of space is appreciated, and the photos/information on the outside of the box are informative and appreciated. Not too garish in presentation, the box should be a keeper for storage when traveling. Not that the Force is not worthy of travel outside the box, but why give it the chance for abuse?
Taking the lid off you are met with the charging cable to one side and the unit set in a cradle. Under that neatly packaged are the thorough instructions. One could (and has, but not me) easily miss that part due to the fine fit of the Tronsmart in the plastic cradle. Well protected. Taking the unit out of the plastic sleeve, I inspected it.
Lighter than I thought it would be, with open ends for the passive radiators, the Force 2 has a solid tactile feel of rubberized material on a solid frame. Quality built from the looks of it.
With a form fitting plastic sheath over the frame, the Force 2 is solid. Exactly like it should be. A from fitting grill covers the speakers and they are solid as well. I’m sure a drop might slightly dent the grill, but with the feel I say it is as likely to bounce back to the original shape, such is the sturdy nature of the unit.
Taking the sealed rubber cover off reveals all of the necessary controls. But to run the item, you do not need to remove the cover. The “+” and “-“ are large enough, but since the unit is all black, it may be hard to see in dim light. Not bother, simply set the volume at an acceptable level and run the volume from your source. That side also houses the on/off button, which you long press to turn on and off. That sleeve does not come off, only the opposite end, which hides the USB-C charging port and an aux jack for connecting to a source.
I found the controls easy to use and changing the volume was only a tactile feeling away if needed. Build quality is excellent as a result of all the above, and I fully believe the claim of 30 minutes at 1 meter under water.
I used the Force 2 for four main purposes:
1. Shower-I even took it into the shower to judge waterproofness and sound.
2. Garage-cleaning my garage is a necessary chore every year, so why not enjoy it?
3. Classroom-One of my classes is doing a culminating project before their EOC (End of Course) exam, due to shifting schedules and the pandemic. I asked the class if they minded me using it as they know I test audio gear. They agreed, and even let me play Bob Marley as a result.
4. Around the house when cleaning, errands, laundry, etc… this was a good test of distance since I always keep my iPhone on me.
Using the Qualcomm QCC3021 chip, the sound was evenly balanced, if a bit light on bass. That is until I raised the volume at the suggestion of one of my students. That helped.
*I had to charge the unit out of the box, which could be down to the bone chilling cold we were having as it was -13F when I took the Force out of my mailbox. As such, I charged the unit and allowed it to warm up. That cold was also a good test of weatherability. I did end up using it in my unheated garage for about an hour in -5F weather. The unit functioned perfectly.
Out of the box, I lit the Force 2 up when I took a shower. The sound was clear and crisp right from the off. Bass was not the best, but it was competent. What hit me most was the clarity of the presentation. I have heard plenty of my student’s BT speakers, and they play loud with good bass, but most sound muddy to boomy. The Force 2 was not that way for the get go. Instead, the focus seemed to be on clarity and a musical presentation that was more in tune with an “audiophile experience.” I liked it so far. It was then that my daughter took the unit for the next several nights.
She now knows that part of the deal with using my gear is that she must give me a more thorough impression than “it sounded good.” She said she enjoyed the sound, and it was clear in presenting her music. I appreciated her help and I understood as I had the same experience.
After about 25hrs, the bass was still shy for my tastes compared to the student-hit JBL’s. Turing the volume up did help the passive radiators move, but I would not be able to enjoy that volume level for long indoors. Outside, that would be perfectly acceptable, and was in my garage. From the start, and confirmed here, I feel that the Force 2 would be better served as a pair of speakers at minimum. While the soundstage provided by the single Force 2 was adequate, I have always believed in a pair of speakers to widen the stage. This also corresponds to layering and separation as well. I will call this the effect of having reviewed headphones and earphones. Those are easier to delve into than this, but I feel some of the same aspects hold true here as well.
Since I have to judge this BT speaker on parameters of which I have not done so before, this can provide me a new, fresh outlook on how the industry has moved along as well. I can distinctly remember when BT speakers came about as out middle school kids would carry them down the hall blaring horrible music at distorted levels. Not so today as the sound emanating from these little wonders has caught up much the way lower-end low-fi ChiFi IEM’s have done so in the last 2-3 years. I knew it would, but that is still nice to see when companies enhance the overall quality of sound, benefiting the listener. We win, they sell products, and we are all happy in the end.
To me, the highlight of the Tronsmart is the mids. I was pleasantly surprised upon my first listen and that continues today. Coming across as clear, concise and with the right amount of crispiness, the Force 2 tries to meld the best of both worlds, with regard to a solid portable sound and that audiophile sound of which we all strive to own. I would say that vocals are a bit withdrawn, but not to the detriment of the overall character of the mids. Playing the Afro Cuban Allstars, or the Buena Vista Social Club, the male vocals came across as present but not as forward as other from other devices. I call this the tuning of the Force 2, and not really a fault. When the chorus from the group spins up though, the vocal presentation takes its place right center and where it should be: the highlight, but not a profound “in your face” highlight.
What is nearly “in your face” to me would be the musical aspect of the mids. Guitar work can come across as almost too sharp in detail, and the percussives from the lower mids seem to boom on a bit too long. Mind you we are talking about a sub-$75 BT speaker, and these would be minor quibbles. Call it the reviewer-take here. To me, the mids take up where the bass should be strutting their stuff. Especially with Cuban music, there is that near-sensual bassline that lays the foundation of the whole song. That at lower listening levels in the Force 2 is absent. But, at higher volumes, such as in outside listening situations, that bassline comes back in support. Unfortunately, that is at volumes levels I could not use in our house unless cleaning, choring and doing so alone. Call this again the limitation of the BT speaker set up.
Up top, the treble again comes across clean and clear, highlighting that overall crisp nature of the Force 2. This crispiness seems to be the highlight and the Force 2 isn’t afraid to flaunt it. This can work towards a very good sound in lower listening levels such as your office when you are alone, but when drawn to higher volumes, unless you are outside that tendency can become a bit grating. But to me these are minor quibbles as this speaker is oriented more towards outside use due to its wonderful waterproof tendencies. For that, the speaker functions adequately.
If I had to characterize the Force 2 it would be as a thoroughly competent BT speaker, with very good mids, clarity that is quite fitting at this price, but with an overall slightly thin sound to me. It lacks that “girth” or weight that fits with a fuller sound. While the Force 2 is good, I do which for greater depth of sound, a meatier voice and a more bass. But this isn’t all as bad as it seems, for what you do get in return is very good treble response without being too sparkly or grating up top and mids, which to me steal the show.
In my listening (and said daughter’s…) I have charged the Force 2 to full, three times. Considering the rating is “up to” 15hrs, that means I am approaching 60hrs on the clock. This last charge, I will run completely dry to determine an approximate total listening term.
I only hooked the Force 2 to BT sources such as those listed above, and mainly my iPhone XS Max. Painless in the ability to quickly hook up, BT technology continues to move forward in progress.
Since I only had one, I was unable to test the “multi-speaker” hook up aspect, but I believe another reviewer did.
This is a somewhat shorter review for me. Plus, time-wise, a bit shorter as well. To say that I am “methodical” would be to politely say that I am slow. I am. I really do want the users to get an idea of what the critter sounds like 6 months to a year down the road, hence the extended listening times. Some manufacturers prefer a “quick as you can” aspect, and while I do not blame them, I think it A) draws too much pressure on the reviewers, and B) sells short the long-term investment many of us make in our gear.
For some the item in question may be the only item they can afford or may be an item, which will last them a long time. Too often in our “hobby” we bounce from item to item, thinking that “this is better” or “that is better.” We as reviewers feed into this by flying through reviews as record pace. Or when we have the “updated” version or new model, or competitor. I get it. There will always be something at the same price, which you think may be better. Or newer. Or move up to the higher bracket. I am just as guilty but have found my nirvanic sounds thankfully. As such, I think I can objectively judge products and give the manufacturer what they are looking for long term (not that others can’t). And something such as the Force 2 should be looked at long term. Especially since it has the ability to pair and chain with many (up to 100+) of the same speakers.
In this regard, there lies one of the true values in the Tronsmart. You could happily have these around your house or garage or yard or pool and play some pretty good music. While your neighbors might not approve of your music choices, all you need is to invite them over and that should make them happy. Socially distanced, of course.
Looking at the Force 2 in that vein, it is a quite good speaker. One that provides decent clarity and very good mids, which to me are the highlight. Vocals come across as presentable, if a bit behind unless the volume is turned up. If you want more bass but like the looks and quality build of the Tronsmart you may be wise to look at the Mega Pro, which adds in a level of clarity besides that bass.
I thank Tronsmart for choosing me, I do not regret getting my first full taste of a BT speaker, and if you are looking for a competent clear sounding BT speaker, then you should indeed audition the Force 2. Just be prepared for a lack of bass presence.