I love being my quiet time. But when it comes to getting work done, I can’t focus on anything in silence. Between my short attention span and my tinnitus, I need a steady stream of noise to keep me focused and in the zone.
This was a problem back when I lived in a 2 story home. My office was upstairs, so when doing chores I had no way to listen to my music. Sure, I had my phone; but have you ever heard Samsung Galaxy speakers? In short: they suck.
I’d been planning to buy a Bluetooth speaker for months when Wayne dropped the Kitsound Hive 2 in our trolley during a Tesco shopping trip.
Spare-of-the-moment tech shopping isn’t something I usually do. Especially in supermarkets where you can’t spend hours researching reviews online before buying. You never know what you might get.
He insisted though so I accepted the gift, all the while suspecting that this was a ploy to get me to clean up more often…
I’ve owned the Hive 2 for over a year so have had plenty of time to make a judgement. Here’s what I think.
With its hexagonal bee hive design, the Hive 2 looks different to a lot of its competitors. I chose white and gold which looks great on my desk.
It has 4 buttons that sit on top: A power button, volume buttons and a Bluetooth/…something button. I’m still not sure what it does. It has a handset icon printed on it but it doesn’t appear to do anything.
It’s a matter of personal taste, but I really don’t like the button design. Their lighting looks cheap compared to the rest of the unit and the “BT” print is ugly.
Rubber feet keep the speaker from slipping off surfaces, and it has a nice weight to it. The casing is chunky and feels like it won’t break easily, and the gold grill is tough and not likely to bend or cave in.
The Hive 2 is durable and obviously built to last. I think it’s quite heavy for a portable device, which isn’t a problem when sitting at my desk but I am less inclined to take it with me in my handbag on day trips.
Keep in mind that the Hive 2 costs just £31 so I didn’t expect much, but this little powerhouse can hold its own in the sound department. It goes loud. Really loud.
The sound quality is better than expected too. Rich and full bodied, but can be bass heavy on lower volumes. Vocals are always clear whatever the genre.
I even use it as a piano speaker. It’s no Marshall amplifier, but it works better than you’d imagine a Bluetooth speaker would.
Where it fails however is in low volume listening. The bass seems to override the treble so I find myself straining to hear podcasts or gentle music.
A massive flaw is that when listening via Bluetooth, if someone talks quietly the volume cuts out. So, if you’re watching someone like PewDiePie for example – who likes to randomly yell in his videos and blast air horns – you’ll spend half of your times straining to hear his talking voice and the other half having a panic attack.
When plugged in via the 3.5mm jack though, this problem is eliminated.
As a side note, for the love of your ear drums, do not fiddle with the USB when it’s on charge. Many a time I’ve pulled the cable out and caused an ear-piercing screech loud enough to trigger all dogs within a 5 mile radius.
Charging the Hive 2 is the most frustrating aspect of this unit for me. Once it’s fully charged it will last the whole day, but getting it to that point takes the best part of the day. Oh you can still use the speaker whilst charging, but it won’t sound great.
For the first 6 months I had it, the speaker would whistle as it charged. Then it began to crackle as it charged which is worse when listening to podcasts but would sometimes be drowned out by music.
Instead, I now leave it to charge via USB overnight and once it’s had a full charge it lasts all day long. Easily 8 hours.
I use the 3.5mm jack that came in the box to connect to pc and it works perfectly for my needs.
For the most part, the Bluetooth works seamlessly, but it often cuts out whenever a very soft piece of music comes on, or when someone speaks quietly.
There’s also has an NFC option which I’ve never used.
If you’re willing to look past the flaws mentioned above, the KitSound Hive 2 is perfect for those interested in something like a lower-end Beats or Ministry of Sound speaker, but don’t want to spend on the brand name. This unit offers a similar, rich sound quality for most genres and at a 3rd of the price.
The Kitsound Hive 2 is available from Amazon for £31.