Home >technology >gadgets >Carvaan Mini 2.0 review: Best of both worlds

Saregama’s retro twist to modern Bluetooth speakers has been around for nearly a year. It started with the big boy, Carvaan, which was launched in May last year, and then some more affordable and portable spin-offs like the Carvaan Mini. All Carvaan devices have two common features—pre-installed retro songs and modern connectivity like Bluetooth, 3.5 mm auxiliary jack and FM/AM (the last one is not really modern, but we’ll take it).

Apart from its nostalgic value, it has also been welcomed warmly in the world of subscription-based music streaming apps like Saavn, Wynk, Amazon Prime, Gaana and Apple Music. Saregama has leveraged its grip over its massive music repository with this product, which the company claims to sum up to nearly 50% of all the music ever recorded in India.

It recently launched the successor to the Carvaan Mini, the Carvaan Mini 2.0. It comes in a more pocketable form factor when compared to the original Carvaan, along with pop colours and a rubberised grip surrounding it. The front facing speaker grille of the Carvaan Mini has “Legends" printed in white ink, with silhouettes of Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar above it.

You can play music on the Carvaan Mini via Bluetooth, 3.5mm aux jack, USB port and the in-built storage, of course. The number of songs present on the in-built storage has been upped from 251 to 351. However, one downside of this device is the lack of a display, so you’ll have to rely on your ear while changing tracks, which was a bit tricky. If you wish to know the order of the songs, you’ll have to refer to the list of songs printed on a paper inside the box or from the website. It is a good variety of songs, not restricted to only the legends printed on the box.

While the company hasn’t mentioned the battery capacity of the device, it claims to last for more than four hours. During my usage, which spanned nearly a month, I had to recharge the device after 3-4 days, which is not bad.

There are separate buttons for shifting to a different listening mode, something that many manufacturers skip by providing a single button. In fact, you have a button for everything—changing tracks, powering on the device and reset. It also features a headphones-out jack for those who wish to enjoy oldies in peace.

Coming to the sound quality, it is instantly noticeable that the pre-installed songs sound the best, but that doesn’t mean the output is bad. It has a good dynamic range while at the same time it sticks to its element—there’s no fancy “bass radiator" for thumping lows or multi-coloured LEDs to pollute the organic listening experience.

It passed my low-mid-high sound test as well, which consists of playing Gula by Deadmau5, Layla by Eric Clapton and Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.

The sound doesn’t crackle at the highest volume via any media and switching between modes is pretty easy.

The Bluetooth range passed my expectations. It works while your mobile is in the other room and there were no phantom volume changes or loss of connection during my usage.

While the device looks modern in every aspect, it has an old-school trick behind its back—the antenna. The whole act of pulling out the antenna sets you back in a wave of nostalgia stronger than the songs it packs in. The output of radio is decent and so is the reception.

The Carvaan Mini 2.0 comes with a button for everything, a headphones-in jack for listening to your oldies peacefully and an antenna.
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The Carvaan Mini 2.0 comes with a button for everything, a headphones-in jack for listening to your oldies peacefully and an antenna.

Given the performance, connectivity and the novelty factor of the Carvaan Mini, it easily ranks very high among the speakers at this price point. It does miss out on Google Assistant integration, but you won’t require it anyway if you’ve kept your phone aside while listening to the Indian “Legends".

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