Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 Review

Xiaomi is known for making affordable products that look and feel good, and the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is no exception. Despite only costing S$29.90, it looks better than most speakers in its price range. Should you get one?

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Design – Clean & Premium

With a metal frame all around the sides and very smooth matte plastic on the front and back, you will have a hard time guessing that this Bluetooth speaker can be yours at just under S$30.

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There are only 3 buttons on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2: the power and volume buttons, all located on the top of the speaker. The power button also doubles as a play/pause button.

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On the bottom of the speaker, you will find a pair of rubber strips that do a decent job at providing grip so your speaker doesn’t slide around or off a table. On the back, you will find the Micro USB charging port, as well as an AUX-in port.

The width of the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is only as long as the height of a Redmi 5, so is easily pocketable. Overall, I really like how simple yet classy the device looks. My only complain would be its matte white plastic, which gets dirty really easily.


Pairing & Controls – Easy to Use

You can turn on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 by holding on the power button. The notification LED, hidden behind the speaker grill, will flash red and blue, indicating ready to pair. Now, pair it on your phone like any other Bluetooth speaker.

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Once paired and connected, the notification light will turn solid blue and you will hear a long beep. To disconnect from the current device and play from another device, double tap the power button. To turn the speaker off, hold the power button.

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Alternatively, you can connect the speaker to your music device via a 3.5mm audio cable. It still requires the speaker to be powered on, but this might save your device some battery.

Whether you are using an iOS and some Android devices, the volume buttons on the Basic 2 can control your phone’s volume directly. Ironically, it is unable to control MIUI’s volume slider directly and uses a separate volume setting instead.

Holding the volume down buttons minimizes the volume instantly, while holding the volume up button will bring it up to max gradually. Nice touch. I do wish there was a way to skip or go to previous track using the speaker though.


Sound Quality – Very Good for Its Price

The Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is loud enough to fill a large room with music. Despite only having speaker grills on the front, audio is still very audible from the back – just a little less shiok.

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The sound it produces is also pretty good, with great balance and relatively good level of details. Bass is also respectable for a portable speaker. You can find something better if you pay more, but for a S$30 Bluetooth speaker, I am very satisfied.

Compared to the original Mi Bluetooth Speaker from years ago, the Basic 2’s produces sounds that is richer and more natural. Bass is noticeably deeper and vocals sound warmer and clearer.

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Battery Life – Exceeding Expectations

Xiaomi claims that the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is capable of up to 10hrs of battery life. From my testing, under varying volume levels (between 40-100%), I was able to achieve over 12hrs of continuous music playback via Bluetooth. Sweet!

When the battery has about 5-10 minutes of charge remaining, the device will constantly beep to inform you about it. One thing annoying is that it does it even while you are charging and still using it. (Not sure if it is safe to do so though…)

To conserve battery, the Basic 2 will automatically switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity, even if it is connected to your device.


Microphone – There is One Built In?!!!

The Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is a great way to listen to phone calls. But wouldn’t it be great if you can talk into the speaker directly? That was what the designers at Xiaomi thought, so they included a microphone in the Basic 2.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to record any audio with it due to the lack of support for Bluetooth microphone recording on Android and iOS. But testing it with my home phone, the microphone on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is of decent quality.


Conclusion – Worth Every Penny!

Like most of Xiaomi’s device, the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 offers excellent build quality and performance at a very affordable pricing. It looks modern, sounds pretty good and has excellent battery life. At under S$30, what more can we ask for?

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Logitech M585 Multi-Device Mouse Review

I have been a user of Logitech’s M545 wireless mouse for a couple of years now and I can’t say I have ever been more satisfied with a mouse. For me, it is an almost-perfect mouse. But it is old and dirty now, so I needed to get a replacement.

Ever since Logitech announced the M585, I have considered getting one to replace my M545, but could not justify paying S$49 when my M545 is still working so well. Then recently, Lazada held a 12.12 sale, selling the M585 at only S$35. I could not resist…


Unboxing – Easy-to-Open Plastic Clam Shells Do Exist!

The moment I received the M585 in its packaging, I panicked. Not another one of these sealed plastic clam shells; the last time I handled one, I hurt my hand. To cut through this type of packaging, you will need a pair of scissors, and a ton of strength.

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But turning to the back of the packaging, I heaved a sigh of relief. Logitech included an easy-tear cut-out, so you do not need a pair of scissors to open this beast. Simply pull on the popped-out tabs and the back will come off easily. Super cool!

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Inside, you will find an instruction sheet and the mouse itself. Pull out the plastic tab between the included AA alkaline battery and the connector and you will be good to go. To avoid damages, remove the back cover first before pulling.


Design – Modern & Comfortable

The new design on the M585 is a huge departure from the bold and a little gamery feeling M545. It looks fun, modern and round, matching Logitech logo’s new look. Love it!

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My favorite feature on the M545 were the thumb buttons and I am glad Logitech kept them on the new M585. They sit right below your thumb and can be customized to do different functions in Logitech’s software, only on Windows & Mac.

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These new buttons look a lot like Tic Tacs; super cute but I like the shape and feel of the old buttons better. In case that isn’t enough extra buttons for you, shifting the scroll wheel left and right can also be assigned to a function.

There is an arc on the side, allowing your thumb to rest comfortably. Unlike the M545 which has the arc on both sides, the M585 only has it on the left side. Not a mouse for left-handers.

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The M585 is wider than the M545, but it gets really comfortable to grip once you get used to it. You may have noticed the button and 2 indicator lights in the center. These are used for multi-device connection, which I will talk about in a short while.

Strangely, the wireless dongle on the M585 is larger than the old M545’s, protruding more when plugged into a USB port. It is still relatively small and unobtrusive though.

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Setup & Multi-Device – Flexible & Convenient, But Not Without Issues

There are two ways to connect your Logitech M585 to your computer. The first is via a wireless dongle and the other is by Bluetooth. The M585 can connect to 2 devices at a time and you can switch between devices by clicking on the round button.

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There are 2 notification lights, one for each connected device. A fast blinking light means Bluetooth pairing mode, a slow blinking light means unable to find paired device and a solid light indicates connected. To enter pairing mode, hold the round button.

The packaging says that the Bluetooth pairing will work with any Android 5.0 or newer devices, but I was unable to get it to work on my Redmi Note 4, running MIUI 9 on Android 7.0. Hope Xiaomi will address this issue with a firmware update soon.

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To re-pair the wireless dongle (after using both device slots for Bluetooth), you need to use the Logitech Options software and follow the instructions there. I only figured this out after fumbling for a while and I wish it was included on the user manual.

The multi-device feature is really useful if you are using an Android tablet and a laptop. But if you use two Windows or Mac devices, Logitech’s Flow feature allows you to do a lot more, like transferring files or copying texts across computers.


Experience – Louder Clicking, But More Refined Overall

If you are coming from the older M545, you will notice that the M585’s clicking is significantly louder. I personally love the clicking sound, but if you are using this in an open office, consider paying a little more for the silent M590 instead.

The scroll wheel of the M585 is just awesome. M545’s scroll wheel was insanely smooth but hard to control. The new M585’s scroll wheel has grooves to make it more precise, while still being a lot smoother than most mice in the market today.

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As for tracking precision and sensitivity, I am not a gamer so I am not able to tell you how it compares to gaming mice. But for regular productivity use, you will have no problem with it. Like most mice though, it struggles on glass surface.

The new shape of the mouse raises the center of your palm, which takes some getting used to if you are coming from the M545. Logitech claims that this domed design provides palm support, making long usage more comfortable.


Software – New Aesthetics, New Features

The M585 uses Logitech’s new software, Logitech Options, which can be downloaded from Logitech’s website. You still get a massive catalogue for button customization, but some features are gone, like game settings, which I honestly never used.

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As mentioned earlier, you also get something called Logitech Flow, which allows you to seamlessly move your cursor and transfer files across computers. You will need Logitech Options on both computers to pair them before you can use this feature.

Oh, and that new design? So much better than SetPoint! (The old Logitech software)


Conclusion – A Worthy Successor?

The Logitech M585 shares a lot of features with its predecessor: dual buttons, super smooth scroll wheel… But its refreshed design, as well as a couple of new nifty features like multi-device and Flow, makes it feel like a totally different mouse.

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If you are looking for a productivity mouse on a budget, I highly recommend the M585. While there were some changes I did not like, the M585 improves in many aspects that makes it more enjoyable to use from a productivity standpoint.

Pros:

  • Sleek new design
  • Comfortable shape
  • Customizable thumb buttons
  • Super smooth scroll wheel with more precision
  • Multi-device & Logitech Flow
  • Connect via Bluetooth or wireless dongle
  • Really attractive price, especially during sales

Cons:

  • Design not left-handed friendly
  • Super loud clicks (M590 solves this)
  • Bluetooth not compatible with certain phones