The Inateck MercuryBox didn’t leave me particularly impressed in the audio department, though every other aspect was pretty fantastic. With brilliant battery life and build quality, I was sad to dislike the audio performance. But the MarsBox is supposed to sound far better, so I was looking forward to checking it out.
Battery: 10-15 hours, 2,200mAh
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm aux
Dimensions: 185.4 mm x 61.5 mm x 77 mm, 710g
What’s in the box: Speaker, 3.5mm aux cable, microUSB charging cable
Where to buy: Inateck, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK)
The device has an interesting shape, like two rectangles merged together. Both the red grille area and the rest of the black body are constructed of a soft touch plastic, with an LED under the grille.
The top of the device features four buttons. The volume up and down buttons function as expected (long pressing changes tracks, short pressing changes volume), unlike the MercuryBox. There is also a play/pause button and a multifunction button.
On the rear is the power button along with the microUSB charging port, an aux jack, and a reset button.
Build quality on Inateck speakers has traditionally been fantastic, and the MarsBox is no different. It’s built extremely well, with no creaks or rattles whatsoever. The materials are high-end as well, being mostly soft touch plastic with some rubber for the buttons and feet.
The buttons require a firm press, but they work every time. The unit is surprisingly heavy, giving it a reassuring feel. And best of all, it feels absolutely full. No hollow plastic feel here.
While the MercuryBox was a bit of a mess in terms of audio, the MarsBox fares better. The MercuryBox sounded like it was covered with a wet cloth: muffled and unbalanced. The bass was pretty strong, but it sounded like the mids were almost gone. It wasn’t awful for the everyday person, but for those who care about audio, it was difficult to listen to.
The MarsBox makes big improvements. While it still has balancing issues and is a little bit of muffling, it’s pretty much normal to most people. I’m serious about good audio quality and it bothers me, but it’s far from bad and is a huge improvement over the MercuryBox.
Once again, this speaker has powerful bass, but it also has pretty clear highs and mids. You can actually hear the mids very well. The muffling effect is there, and I have no idea why, but it’s really not that bad and your ears adjust pretty quick.
Also, this thing gets insanely loud for its size. It can fill a large room easily. In fact, in smaller rooms, it’s painfully loud. And for more than 90% of its volume range, it’s perfectly clear. The top bit gets distorted, but a few clicks of the volume down button and you’re good. A bit of extra volume headroom is always good for outdoor use.
The sound quality isn’t bad. In fact, if you can get past the slightly muffled sound, it’s pretty good. And it’s incredibly loud, fantastic for outdoor use and parties.
Inateck typically puts large batteries into its Bluetooth speakers, and the MarsBox is no different. It features a beefy 2,200mAh battery that is advertised as providing 10-15 hours of battery life, depending on volume.
It delivers on those claims, going long times between charges. If you listen to it quietly, it lasts forever. It also doesn’t discharge at a quick rate when not in use.
Just like the MercuryBox, this speaker comes with some sweet accessories. It has the same 3.5mm aux and microUSB cables as the MercuryBox, but in a really nice red. They’re high-quality, with fabric coating and great connectors. It’s a fantastic touch.
The Inateck MarsBox isn’t for an audiophile, but it excels at almost everything. The battery life is fantastic, the build quality is top notch, the price is low, and it gets incredibly loud. The sound quality may have its issues, but they’re issues most people can get past.
If you’re looking for a budget speaker to be used outdoors or at a party, this is it. If you’re serious about audio, you may want to look elsewhere. And don’t discount the brand, because some of its speakers sound pretty great.