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Sharp GX-BT60 review: A brilliant budget Bluetooth speaker

Ben Johnston
9 Mar 2022
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

With powerful sound and a durable design, the Sharp GX-BT60 is an excellent Bluetooth speaker, especially for outdoor use

Pros 
Compact and portable
Powerful, detailed audio
Dust-tight and waterproof
Cons 
No USB-C connection
Minor treble distortion at maximum volume
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The Sharp GX-BT60 is a compact, highly portable speaker from a brand that produces just about every type of electronic device under the sun. It’s the cheapest option in the Japanese manufacturer’s Bluetooth speaker range and manages to undercut most of its competitors while outperforming them on the audio front.

A couple of minor issues prevent it from being the perfect cheap portable speaker package but for sheer value for money, the Sharp GX-BT60 is hard to beat. Read on to see why it deserves a place in your bag next time you head for the beach.

Sharp GX-BT60 review: What do you get for the money?

The GX-BT60 costs just £30 and is available in three colours: black, grey and the bright blue I received for review. It’s pleasingly compact, with a square-shaped body measuring 101 x 101 x 44mm (WDH). At just 230g, it’s extremely portable too, with a convenient carrying cord making it a cinch to tie onto a backpack or beach bag.

The speaker housing is primarily fashioned from hard plastic and features a resilient mesh fabric covering the speaker grille. Along with an impressive IP67 rating – certifying the speaker as both dust-tight and waterproof – the build feels rugged enough to survive a few bumps, knocks and scrapes.

On the rear of the speaker, you’ll find the power button, along with a flap that hides a 3.5mm Aux-in, micro-USB port and small LED indicating the status of the Bluetooth 5.0 connection. The front, meanwhile, is home to the play/pause button and volume controls. The former can also be used to answer and end calls, while the latter can be held down to skip forward or back in addition to adjusting the volume.

Rounding out the list of features is a built-in microphone, allowing you to use the speaker for calls or hailing your voice assistant, and “Duo Mode”. This function enables you to pair two GX-BT60 speakers to create a stereo sound experience. As I only received one speaker, I can’t attest to the efficacy of this, but Sharp claims that with a direct line of sight, the two speakers should be able to perform with a range of over 40 metres between them.

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Sharp GX-BT60 review: How does it sound?

Audio is delivered by a 45mm driver working alongside a passive bass radiator, and this combination generates a total power output of 6W. Every time it’s turned on, the GX-BT60 defaults to 50% volume, which I found to be plenty to fill a small room. Cranked all the way up, it was able to extend evenly through a decent proportion of the top floor of my house – this is a speaker loud enough to effectively soundtrack your back garden barbeque or summer beach trip. While the stated battery life promises up to 13 hours of playback, you’ll get significantly less than that if you’re regularly pushing the speaker to its volume limits.

Thanks to its rugged build and the ocean-blue colour, this speaker got me thinking about the beach a lot, so it seemed appropriate to pull up an “Island vibes” playlist to put it through its paces. The breezy mix of reggae, ska and R&B did a good job at showcasing the sonic capabilities of the GX-BT60, and by the time the last guitar strum faded out, I was suitably impressed.

With an open soundstage and respectable instrument separation, the GX-BT60 is able to effectively reproduce complicated compositions, with even the most frantic of ska anthems unfolding as carefully articulated marches of drums and brass. Trebles are clean and crisp, lending impact to trumpet solos and piano riffs, while the mids are detailed enough to ensure vocals can be heard clearly.

Despite the inclusion of a passive bass radiator designed to enhance the lower frequencies, low-end reproduction never felt particularly bombastic. This suited me just fine, but anyone hoping for the kind of bass that rattles your ribcage may find the GX-BT60 wanting.

Sharp GX-BT60 review: What could be better?

The most glaring flaw with the GX-BT60 is its lack of a USB-C port. Micro-USB works perfectly well but makes the GX-BT60 feel a little behind the times; most Bluetooth speakers transitioned to USB-C long ago. The omission of USB-C is an understandable cost-cutting measure but necessitates keeping another cable around, which is frustrating if you’ve become used to the convenience of being able to charge most devices with the same cable.

While the GX-BT60 is able to reach an impressive maximum volume for a speaker of its size, it doesn’t quite manage to maintain audio fidelity at its loudest. For the most part, output remains consistent but there were a few instances where trebles felt a little piercing at the highest volume. These issues were rare and not overly impactful, but it’s something worth taking into account if you’re planning on regularly cranking it up to the max.

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Sharp GX-BT60 review: Should you buy it?

If you’re in the market for a compact, eminently affordable Bluetooth speaker capable of putting out powerful and satisfying audio, the Sharp GX-BT60 is a great choice. It’s cheaper than the similarly sized Tribit StormBox Micro and has more muscle than the JBL GO 3, which costs the same but is smaller.

The lack of USB-C charging is a minor annoyance but by no means a dealbreaker, and with battery life of up to 13 hours you shouldn’t find yourself having to charge the speaker too often anyway. It’s portable enough to take pretty much anywhere and sounds good enough that you’ll always be glad that you brought it along. For what you’re paying, the Sharp GX-BT60 delivers in spades.

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