Portable Bluetooth speakers are dime a dozen, but if you have the right one it can be used with a mobile device to boost its audio so that it is more enjoyable and can be shared with others. With so many manufacturers of portable speakers it may be difficult to pick the right one. Today I will be looking at the Senta Ally speaker system and if it is good then hopefully this will make the decision a little easier
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- 2 full range speakers and 1 passive radiator speaker
- 10 hour play time, 8 hour play time on Bluetooth
- Audio Inputs: Bluetooth, Aux-in, SD Card and USB Drive
- FM Radio
The Senta Ally has a triangular shape with the speakers, display, and navigation buttons in the front. The display and the navigation buttons are on the right of the speakers. The Senta Ally has three speakers, 2 active and one passive.
The display is a small single color LCD screen. Because the screen is so small it is not capable of showing very much. So the menu has been designed to only show text labels, and you sometimes have to go several layers deep in the options to find what you are looking for.
The right side of the Senta Ally has a series of inputs and a volume control. Their is an SD Card slot, DC in Mini USB slot for charging the battery, 3.5mm Aux in jack, USB slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the back is the battery compartment. The battery that the Senta Ally uses is a proprietary one which means it will be difficult to find a replacement. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just build it in because no one seems to sell a replacement.
On top is the power slider switch.
The biggest problem with the design is that it is slightly back heavy. This means when you need to push a button you have to brace the speaker or it will tip over.
So how does the speaker work? Let’s find out.
To test the Senta Ally I put it through a few tests. The first test is with Bluetooth. To test this I connected it to my phone and played some music. I was really impressed with how easily it connected, and how well the music sounded. There was a slight delay from when I pushed a button on the phone and when the speaker responded, but was most likely caused by the Bluetooth connection and the time it takes to send the signal. I should also mention that when in Bluetooth mode, no other options are available. You have to turn off the Bluetooth on your mobile device before you can use any of the other input methods.
When using the SD Card I noticed that the menu changed to only allow access to SD card related functions. With these function I was able to navigate the folders on the card and play any song that I had. I also had access to delete individual songs or the whole card, and their was also an equalizer setting that allow me to choose from one of many presets like pop, jazz, rock, and others.
Using a USB stick is exactly like using an SD card, all the same functions are available and when a USB stick is plugged in the menu locks you out of all other functions.
I should also note that the Senta Ally comes with a warning. Even though I never experienced this, because I don’t have these kind of files, the Ally cannot play .AAC or Apple lossless files from a USB thumb drive or SD card. I am guessing that this is because of some licensing problem.
The next test is on the FM radio. To get to the FM radio you have to remove all other inputs so that the FM Radio menu appears. Once you click on the menu option the radio starts playing. If you press the menu button while playing the FM Radio you get a few radio options like Auto Search, add/remove channel (preset), and switching between the common band and the japan band. The radio works fine, the antenna is built-in so it is not really strong. You have to move it around to get a really good signal, unfortunately the Senta Ally does not have a signal indicator so you just have to guess.
After running all these tests I needed to recharge the battery. This is done simply by plugging the provided USB cable into the DC IN port and then into a USB plug on a computer or a wall adapter. One interesting thing I noticed while it was charging is that you cannot turn off the speaker. As soon as it is plugged in it turns on and stays on. This seems like a strange design because I think it would charge faster with the power turned off.
Support and Warranty
The Senta Ally comes with a 1 Year Limited warranty. One year seems to be a standard length for consumer electronics, but in my opinion this warranty is not long enough. I would like to see standard warranties with lengths of around 5 years, this would surly help consumers have more confidence in those products. With a product like this, with very few moving parts, a longer warranty would not require a lot of extra cost on the manufacturers part.
As a portable speaker the Senta Ally performs really well. It is not super small, but it is easy to carry around and it even comes with a small bag to help. The triangular design is not very good and it tips over easily. The battery is another source of concern because it is not standard and will be difficult to replace when it finally wears out. My suggestion to C.Crane is to stabilize the design so that when the buttons are pressed it does not tip over, and user standard AA or AAA batteries so they are more easily replaced.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|