The VisionTek BTi65 Speaker: Impressive Sound at an Impressive Price
A few months ago VisionTek Products shared word that they were coming out with a new Bluetooth speaker. The BTi65 was IP65 waterproof rated, could remain connected up to 30 feet and play for 10 hours. Over several months I have tested this, thinking I may have missed a problem with it.
But what originally turned to suspicion that I was missing something seems to be a gem in the market. So what was it about the VisionTek BTi65 that impressed me so much?
Out of the box the speaker is pretty straight forward. The package contained a USB to Micro-USB charge cable, 3.5 mm cable (to plug in directly versus Bluetooth) and then of course, the speaker itself. The initial charge took about 3 hours which was within their listed 3-4 hours for a full charge. After that it was turn the power on, then press and hold to begin pairing.
I tested this with my Samsung Galaxy Note7 and then with its replacement, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. In both cases the pairing was pain-free, as was the ability to answer the phone and end a call. The play/pause button thankfully acts as a way to pick up and end a call on the phone. This was tremendously helpful during the multiple trips to different offices that I made during the fall. Turning the volume up and down was self-explanatory as was turning it off or unpairing. A side rubber panel protects the 3.5 mm and USB power connections to avoid dirt and water getting in when not occupied with a cable in those ports.
Sound & Water Testing
Sound quality was impressive, though I found without any tuning/equalizer tools that it was easy to have distorted audio at higher volumes. With an equalizer it’s easy enough to correct this issue when it popped up, but it was rare when it did anyway. The speaker can clearly serve up the sound at a great volume, which can be seen in a linked demonstration below. The IP65 rating does not suggest it can withstand being submerged under water for prolonged periods of time. A test drop into a sink and quick removal didn’t affect the speaker. Nor did extended spraying or splashing of water.
What perhaps surprised me the most about this speaker was the range. For a device that is listed to only remain connected for up to 30 feet this device far exceeded its listing – and my expectations. During an office network setup there was sufficient time to test this. I placed my phone in the telephone room with a constant music source and started walking. When it held the connection at not just 30 feet but well over 100 feet away I went back to the phone in disbelief. Then I grabbed my Nexus 6P and started recording to prove it.
It’s likely that with additional barriers this distance would be shortened. But even then it seems VisionTek was clearly conservative on paper with this estimate. Based on what I saw it should easily be able to handle well over 30 feet with the right signal and environment.
The other place that it seems they were perhaps too conservative was with the battery life. VisionTek boasts a solid 10 hour play time but didn’t mention anything about a standby time. It’s a shame too — there were periods where I would keep this in my laptop bag for weeks in between uses and I could easily pull it out and put it right back to use without another charge. For someone that would use this casually this has the right battery life to serve that need – as would someone else that can charge it from time to time during the day.
The VisionTek BTi65 is one of those speakers that I think may be a diamond in the rough. With the right settings and use this speaker could easily play with some of the mid-to-high range speakers in this segment, but with it listed at $39.99 on VisionTek’s website it comes at a much lower price point than many that it would compete against. The IP65 rating, while not waterproof, means it can certainly hold its own in outdoors and in wet venues so long as it is not submerged. And the distance means that you could easily extend the party far to 30 feet and beyond from the sound source. It certainly raised the bar of expectations for a Bluetooth speaker for me — and should, at the least, merit consideration if you’re looking for a speaker like this.
(Update 12/29 08:30 am ET)
Note: The BTi65 speaker was provided by VisionTek Products, LLC. for review purposes. And a thanks to the comments below that helped identify this statement was missing.