With a retro radio design and powerful, detailed audio, the Edifier MP230 sounds even better than it looks
- Deep, punchy bass
- Clear mids and treble
- Gorgeous aesthetic
- No equaliser options
- Battery life could be better
- Lacks an IP rating
The Edifier MP230 is a portable speaker that combines modern technology with a design inspired by vintage radios of the 1950s and 60s. Unlike the majority of Edifier speakers, the MP230 houses an internal battery, which when combined with Bluetooth connectivity, allows you to enjoy its audio wherever you decide to take it.
Battery life isn’t great but will see you through a day at work or evening partying, and despite its relatively petite frame, the MP230 gets loud enough to fill a medium-sized room. If you’re in the market for a great-sounding speaker that oozes retro style and is affordable to boot, the Edifier MP230 is well worth considering.
Edifier MP230 review: What do you get for the money?
Retailing for £100, the MP230 is among the most affordable speakers in Edifier’s range and fairly competitively priced for a mid-range Bluetooth speaker. It offers several connection options in addition to Bluetooth 5.0, with the rear of the speaker housing a 3.5mm AUX-in port (an analogue audio cable is also included) along with a slot for either a microSD or TF card.
Measuring 162 x 97 x 85mm (WDH) and weighing 850g, the MP230 is small enough to be picked up with one hand and easy to carry from room to room. The battery life will run for around ten hours when playing audio at moderate volume, but listening at higher volumes will of course eat into that total. When depleted, the battery can be replenished via the included USB-C cable.
There’s no built-in microphone, so you won’t be able to use the MP230 to hail your voice assistant or to make calls, and the speaker isn’t currently compatible with Edfier’s Connect app, so there’s no way to tweak the frequency response or access EQ presets.
Edifier MP230 review: What do we like about it?
The MP230 is one of the most striking Bluetooth speakers around. Inspired by radios from the 50s and 60s, it pairs a wooden enclosure with copper-coloured grills on the front and back, complemented nicely by a row of shiny buttons beneath the front grill. These buttons provide a decent level of feedback when pressed and cover all your key commands, including playing/pausing audio, skipping tracks and adjusting volume.
Beneath its eye-catching retro exterior, the MP230 packs in a thoroughly modern speaker arrangement consisting of two 48mm full-range drivers, each of which is powered by 10W of amplification. These are coupled with a dual passive radiator and the resulting audio is spacious, detailed and possesses plenty of low-end weight.
Bass isn’t overdone, however, and unless you’re using the speaker at maximum volume, the cabinet remains free of pesky reverberations. If you do push it to its volume limit, you can expect some vibration on whatever surface the speaker is on but this shouldn’t prove too distracting.
Given the MP230’s 50s and 60s inspiration, it seemed appropriate to use music from those decades to put the speaker through its paces. And the burgeoning years of rock and roll were certainly done justice: Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode sounded great with its rhythmic, thrumming bass track and The Coasters’ Yakety Yak bounced with impressive energy.
Other genres fared just as well: Mister Sandman by The Chordettes was layered beautifully, with each of the barbershop harmonies clearly distinct; the highest of soprano notes in The Platters’ Only You (And You Alone) remained crisp and distortion-free; and effective instrument separation ensured that the big band backing Sinatra’s crooning in Fly Me To The Moon sounded suitably swinging.
Edifier MP230 review: What could be improved?
While portability is part of the MP230’s appeal, its battery life isn’t anything to write home about. Ten hours is rather disappointing and not a patch on some of our favourite Bluetooth speakers in the MP230’s price bracket. Both the Marshall Emberton and Tribit StormBox Pro can be bought for similar money and last for up to 20 and 24 hours, respectively.
Less of an issue but still worth bearing in mind is the MP230’s lack of an IP rating. It has no water resistance whatsoever, so while you’re perfectly safe using it in the garden on a clear day, you’ll need to be prepared to get it back inside quickly at the first sign of a downpour.
The MP230 costs the same as its stablemate, the mains-powered Edifier D12, and comparing the two speakers brings another minor flaw to light. Where the D12 includes dedicated music and movie profiles, as well as top-mounted dials to adjust the bass and treble, the MP230 offers nothing in the way of audio customisation. The sound signature is detailed and powerful enough for the MP230 to get away with this, but the ability to tweak how the speaker sounds would have been welcome.
Edifier MP230 review: Should you buy it?
Those few niggles aside, the MP230 achieves everything it sets out to do and does so with style. The wooden enclosure adds retro flair to any shelf, desktop or table it graces and audio quality is excellent across the board.
It’s a little light on features and customisation options, and battery life falls short of the competition, but the Edifier MP230 has enough style and substance to earn a recommendation if you’re after a reasonably priced portable speaker.