If I told you to imagine what kind of sound quality and volume you could get from a speaker unit that comes in at only 2.95 x 1.97 x 2.08 inches in size, I assume you’d likely respond with something along the lines of, “not good.” Well, the RockDoc Bluetooth – a wireless Bluetooth speaker from VisionTek (best known for their line of PC graphics cards) – is here to challenge that notion.
We’ve reviewed several Bluetooth speakers here at TechDissected, and they definitely vary widely in sound quality. When I first unpacked the RockDoc Bluetooth, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot myself, based simply on its size. Boy, was I surprised when I got it connected to my Nexus 5 and fired it up.
Connecting was simple. Just turn on Bluetooth on whatever device is hosting the music, turn on the RockDoc, press the MODE button twice, and accept the pairing. As a side note, you can’t have an SD card in the Micro SD/TF slot when pairing through Bluetooth. That’s likely not to be an issue for most, however, as I don’t think the SD card slot is a feature that’s going to be seeing a whole lot of use in 2014.
Your other option for connecting to a music source is to use a standard headphone out jack connected to the Micro USB port on the RockDoc. This is not a super common cable, so thankfully VisionTek included one as part of the charging cable. This is nice for connecting to a music source that doesn’t have Bluetooth, and is a welcome addition.
Switching tracks and controlling volume are easily accomplished, and can be done either from the hosting device or from the RockDoc itself. The forward and back track buttons on the unit double as the volume buttons. Just press the VOL button, and the the track buttons will switch to volume mode, and will automatically switch back after a few seconds. This setup helps the RockDoc Bluetooth retain a nice clean aesthetic, without being overly loaded with buttons and switches.
The only other controls on the device are the aforementioned MODE button, which switches between Line In, Micro SD, and Bluetooth modes, as well as a play/pause button, and a power switch on the other side. There is also a headphone jack, presumably an option for when you’re using the RockDoc as a standalone media player with an SD card.
The whole package feels quite sturdy, and looks really nice and modern. The multicolored LED, which causes the bottom of the RockDoc Bluetooth to glow in different colors in response to various conditions, certainly helps with this.
Now back to the sound. The RockDoc Bluetooth, with its diminutive size, and with only two 1.77 inch speakers at 6 watts total ouput power, is certainly not going to compare to other much larger, and much more expensive speakers. But, for what it is – an extremely portable and rather inexpensive Bluetooth speaker at only around sixty dollars – the RockDoc sounds top notch.
Bass lines struggle to peak through in many songs, but sound surprisingly decent when heard, particular in the middle and high bass ranges. Bass is more audible from the back and sides of the unit than it is from the front, so if you’re a serious bass lover, consider turing the device around. The mids and highs sound very good for a speaker of this size, and you can get the volume pretty high before it starts to distort.
Battery life is not too bad, and I managed to get over seven hours of continuous Bluetooth playback at a medium/high volume, which means it should have no problem lasting through most listening sessions. In a quite welcome design decision, the battery is easily removable if you need to replace it.
All in all, I’d say that VisionTek did a fantastic job with the design of the RockDoc Bluetooth. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and very portable Bluetooth speaker with quite decent (amazing for the size/price) sound, look no further – the RockDoc Bluetooth is the speaker for you.