Bluetooth speakers are now more powerful than ever, with more compact designs. The Harman Kardon One is one such example.
It has an exquisite design: an aluminium unibody frame, controls on one side, and speaker grilles on the front, top and back panels. It tips the scales at 512.5g, but when you hold it in your hand, it feels much lighter and well-balanced. It has a firm grip on the table, and even with bass-heavy music at high volume, it will not skip across the surface.
There is no shortage of connectivity options—the Harman Kardon One has Bluetooth v3.0 as well as near-field communication (NFC) to connect with your PC and smartphone.
In terms of audio quality, the One does well. The clarity of the vocals, even at high volume, is impressive. And the fact that it can handle a wide genre of music is an advantage. Even when you push up the volume to 70% while playing high-tempo rock music, there isn’t any distortion or loss of detailing, which comes as a pleasant surprise as small-sized speakers usually struggle on this front.
There are a few aspects, though, where the Harman Kardon One falls short. Bass reproduction doesn’t feel very powerful, and trance-music tracks sound incomplete. If your music playlist mostly includes trance tracks or bass- heavy remixes, you might want to look at some other options instead.
Battery life too is disappointing. On a single charge, the speaker can play a maximum of 5 hours of music. There are speakers that cost half as much as the One and offer almost double the battery life.
There is no doubting the Harman Kardon sound signature in the One, and that is good news for brand loyalists. For the rest, this speaker goes up, in some ways, against the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II (Rs.18,000), with the latter having the advantage of warmer sound and much more powerful bass reproduction.