Aug 17 AT 5:24 PM Dima Aryeh 0 Comments

Inateck MercuryBox Bluetooth speaker review

Inateck MercuryBox 1

As you guys probably know, I’ve been a fan of Inateck speakers for a while now. Ranging from the extreme budget to the $60 range with unusually long battery life, the company offers some high-quality speakers that make few sacrifices to achieve a low price tag. So when I was offered to review a full aluminum speaker like this, one that’s also water resistant, I was excited.

Overview

Price: $48.99
Battery: 15 hours, 1,800mAh
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm aux
Extras: IPX5 splash-proof, speakerphone
Dimensions: 162.8 mm x 62.8 mm x 28.6 mm, 250g
What’s in the box: Speaker, 3.5mm aux cable, micro USB charging cable, lanyard, carrying case
Where to buy: Inateck, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK) use code UQOD7FT8 for £15 off on Amazon UK

The front is a beautiful aluminum grille with holes drilled in a fairly random but mirrored pattern. There are no logos to distract from the design.

Inateck MercuryBox 5

The top is rubber, like the sides and unlike the rest of the body, and it has a microphone hole and five buttons. There’s a power button, a play/pause button, a Bluetooth/call button, and two volume buttons. These last two are odd, as they act as volume buttons only when held down. A short press will skip tracks forward or back, which isn’t ideal but not a big deal.

Inateck MercuryBox 3

The right side has a rubber flap that houses a microUSB port and a 3.5mm aux jack. The flap is there for keeping water out, so keep it securely sealed.

Inateck MercuryBox 4

On the left is a hole for the lanyard that’s included in the box.

Inateck MercuryBox 2

On the rear is a small grill and an Inateck logo breaking up the slab of aluminum.

Build quality

This speaker feels as premium as it looks. The body is a single piece of aluminum, which makes it feel absolutely fantastic. The rubber parts feel high quality as well; it’s a soft touch rubber that’s smooth and not too grippy.

Since it uses aluminum, the speaker itself is light and really portable. But it has a solid heft to it that just makes it feel great.

Strangely enough, all five buttons feel somewhat different. You’ll never notice it during normal use, but it was interesting to find.

Sound quality

So it’s a $50 speaker that’s made out of aluminum, has some awesome accessories (including a carrying case made of faux leather!), and is designed exquisitely. How does it sound? Unfortunately, it seems that most of the budget went into the looks and build. The speaker just doesn’t sound natural. It’s almost muffled.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not distorted or bad sounding. It just sounds like it’s playing through something thick. That’s likely the effect of the water resistant coating, as I’ve heard of such issues before when coating speakers to prevent water damage. Many companies manage to get around it, but it seems Inateck didn’t.

To be fair, the sound is decently clear and it doesn’t sound so bad that you can’t get past it sounding somewhat wrong. It’s clear enough, with all the details and instruments heard just fine. I just don’t enjoy listening to it (as someone who highly values audio quality).

Battery life

This speaker has a beefy 1,800mAh battery that lasts up to 15 hours. This is far above the average in the Bluetooth speaker market, especially at this price point. I always love long-lasting speakers because you never have to worry about being stuck without music during your activities.

In my use, the speaker lasted ages without needing a charge. The 10-15 hour battery life estimate is spot on.

Extras

You’ll notice the first neat extra when you’re taking the speaker out of the box. It comes with some awesome accessories that aren’t typical at this price range. The microUSB and 3.5mm cables are long and braided. The ends of the USB cable are smooth and shaped well, with Inateck’s logo on them. The 3.5mm cable has slim chrome plastic ends. These cables are awesome.

There is also a carrying case and a lanyard. The lanyard is typical, but with a nice clip to make the loop shorter or longer. The carrying case is faux leather and is plain awesome. It’s soft and expensive-looking, has soft felt inside, and is the perfect size for the speaker. It also has a nice tan faux leather Inateck tag on it.

The speaker is also IPX5 water resistant, which is a great touch for speakers to have. This makes it shower and poolside safe, making it a lot more useful (as long as you’re using Bluetooth and the flap is closed). Don’t dunk it in water, though, because it’s not waterproof.

Inateck MercuryBox6 / 10

Inateck MercuryBox 6

As an audio enthusiast, I just can’t get behind this speaker. No matter how nice it is (and it really is nice), the sound quality being “poor” just ruins it for me. And I use “poor” loosely, as it’s not awful, it  just sounds…strange. And yes, I’m being harsh on it, but that’s just how I judge speakers.

If you’re someone who loves fancy looking things and doesn’t necessarily care about good audio quality as long as you can hear the song and it’s not distorted, then you might enjoy this speaker. It’s well-built, beautiful, and the aluminum construction is great. And at $50, it’s not a large amount of money to drop for a speaker, especially one with such excellent battery life. But if you really value audio, there are plenty of better options at this price tag, including Inateck’s other better sounding speakers.

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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