When it comes to mobile accessories and charging peripherals, one of the best brands in the business is Belkin. Over the years, Belkin products have risen quickly to the top of the food chain, and their products today are synonymous with quality, durability, and affordability, so when I heard that Belkin had come up with a new portable speaker device, my excitement was real. Belkin has not really dipped their hands into the audio market until now and a home run on the first try will go a long way in making their case.
We have with us today, the new Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi smart speaker, and without further ado, let’s jump right into the review!!
Design and Setup
As always, the first thing we are going to talk about is the design and build of the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi smart speaker. Belkin has been a pioneer at creating some of the most durable products in the market and the Belkin Soundform Elite is no different. The design does remind us of the Homepod device with a slightly wider profile, but there is a cut-out on the top where you can place your smartphone and charge it with the wireless charger placed over there. We can confirm that this cut-out wireless charger dock fits all the available smartphone sizes in the market today.
Coming to the speaker section, we have the mesh fabric covering the entire speaker and the quality is as stellar as it comes. However, when we see that the speaker also doubles as a wireless charger, there is a big question as to how this mesh will survive wear and tear.
Just in front of the wireless charging dock, we have the touch controls that allow you to perform actions like turning on Bluetooth, controlling the volume, and play or pause the media. Now, the controls themselves are responsive, but we have two suggestions to Belkin –
- Make the controls textured for better accessibility.
- Make the controls backlit to make them visible in low light conditions.
There is, however, a small LED that glows when you are charging your smartphone on the wireless charger, and just like the Google Home devices, we have a series of LEDs that shine through the mesh fabric when you are interacting with the Google Assistant.
The wireless charger is rated at 10W, which means an iPhone will be charged at the peak rated 7.5W, which is great. The cutout and incline of the wireless charging platform are perfect and the smartphones fit snugly.
Coming to the setup of the Belkin SoundForm Elite, we have an absolutely simple setup waiting. Since it’s a smart speaker, the first thing you want to do is to download the Google Home app on your smartphone. If you are an Android user and someone who uses Google services a lot, Google Home may be there on your device already. However, if you are on the Apple side of things and don’t really depend on Google apps and services, the Google Home app is going to be one extra app which you will need just for the speakers.
Now, once you have installed the Google Home app, the process is pretty much straightforward. The speakers will be detected automatically and will ask for certain permissions. Make sure you grant them all and in a few moments you will be able to start streaming your content through the Belkin SoundForm Elite.
Currently, the Belkin SoundForm Elite can play media from the following services – YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer. Services like Apple Music are not supported and you will have to play content from Apple Music through your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Belkin has developed the SoundForm Elite speaker in collaboration with audio technology experts Devialet. So, while the hardware is all Belkin, the audio performance is more of a Devialet show. Belkin has announced that they have adopted most of Devialet’s signature technologies including the acoustic architecture, Speaker Active Matching technology (For high-fidelity sound in any size factor), and the ‘Push Push’ Woofer architecture for a vibration-free bass experience. The latter also ensures that your smartphone does not topple off the platform due to the vibrations. It’s a small detail but very vital, so kudos to the team for putting this in.
Coming to the audio output, the sound is very bass-rich, and we are not complaining. The vocals we heard we clear and the high notes came through perfectly. Since this is a smart speaker, the Google Home app does feature an equalizer where you can play around with the minute details which is great.
When you compare the Belkin SoundForm Elite to the standard Homepod, you will see that while the audio output is comparable, the Belkin SoundForm Elite comes out on top in the bass department.
When we played some media in a medium-sized room, we were surprised to see that despite the size and form factor, the Belkin was able to output un-muddled sound at the highest volume setting. The media covered the entire room and we are not very disappointed with the range.
The bigger the room, the more the seemingly smaller SoundForm will struggle, but then again, the HomePod also is not so strong in a bigger setting.
One more thing we have noticed is that streaming music directly from the Belkin SoundForm Elite sounded a lot more mellifluous than when we streamed via Bluetooth. It’s something Belkin should look into for the next iteration of the speaker.
Overall, we are satisfied with the audio performance of the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart speakers. This is the first outing for Belkin in the smart speaker department and we are glad they have taken a step in the right direction. Devialet’s audio tech does shine through in its moments with good bass.
Te Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart speakers are the entry for Belkin into the audio technology market. The collaboration with Devialet just works as it combines the hardware expertise of Belkin and the audio expertise of the team at Devialet to give you a well-rounded product. Add to that a wireless charging mat and you have an essentially all-in-one device for your smartphone.
If you have an Android setup at home and you use any of the supported streaming services, then the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart speaker is something you should definitely consider buying. It’s an upgrade on the default Homepod and the bass performance is absolutely top-notch.
Now, if you use an all Apple setup at home including Siri and Apple Music, then we urge you to consider all the limitations before going for this speaker.
If you have made up your mind about buying the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker, you can go ahead and get the purchase done on Amazon for 1200 AED