Tried & Tested

Native Union Switch

29 Apr 2013 by Jenny Southan

With more and more hotels offering iPhone docks, you may feel less inclined to invest in a portable speaker, but this could be handy as it can be paired wirelessly – via Bluetooth – to numerous devices (laptops, tablets and smartphones), and can also allow you to make hands-free conference calls via its in-built duplex microphone, play music or boost the sound of movies you are watching.

The Switch is available in a range of colours (black, Bordeaux, slate, aquamarine and high gloss white), measures a compact 5.18cm x 7.3cm x 19cm and is made from plastic coated in “soft touch” rubber. Upon unboxing, I found the speaker relatively easy to set up – it paired quickly with my iPhone, enabling me to play music though it and make and receive calls, but I couldn’t get it to sync with my Macbook Air. Up to eight devices can be paired with the unit, though (sensibly) only one gadget at a time can actually play sound through it.

Apparently the speaker can perform up to 14 hours of music, though when I used it at a party I found it ran out after about five hours. (I don’t think it was fully charged to begin with though.) The biggest downside to the speaker is its lack of volume – it produces a decent level for a quiet room but anything beyond that, it just doesn’t cut it. But for a speaker of its size and price, this is probably to be expected.

At the top end of the Switch is an ergonomically pleasing wheel to control the volume, and pressing in the centre of it turns the speaker on and off with a unique “sonar” noise. A flexible nylon USB cable connects it for charging – but it can also be used as a power bank for providing energy to your gadgets via a USB Out port. The Switch can stand vertically or be placed on its side and produces sound of a reasonable quality through its “active sub-woofer” and “enhanced bass-reflex system”.

PROS Ergonomic design and wireless conference call capability

CONS Not loud enough and didn’t pair with my laptop

PRICE £119.99


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