Philips EverPlay BT7900 Bluetooth speaker

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We all know that bass, bass and more bass is the only thing anyone cares about when choosing a Bluetooth speaker, so let’s cut to the chase; the EverPlay BT7900 does bass. It does bass well. It doesn’t overdo it, but it’s clearly been designed to impress those who like their music meaty as well as mobile.  

However, there’s a lot more to like about this sleek speaker than its low frequency finesse. It also puts some significant extra distance between it and a phone, which proves really useful. While most Bluetooth speakers offer 10m, you can walk about 30m away from the EverPlay BT7900 before the music cuts out. That’s really handy, as is its waterproof, shockproof and drop-proof design. 

Design

At 210 x 72 x 71 mm and 520g, the EverPlay BT7900 is a meaty yet mid-size Bluetooth speaker, a touch smaller than the Sony SRS-XB40.  

While most Bluetooth speakers are fashioned soft silicon plastic, this one is covered in a mesh-like DuraFit jacket, which gives it a tactile, anti-slip coating. It helps the EverPlay BT7900 be compliant with IP57 and IPX7 standards, so it’s waterproof (dunk-able for 30 minutes in a metre of water, no less), shockproof and dust-proof. Great stuff, but while that distinctive styling copes with water, it does seem likely to get stained by sand or dirt. By all means sit it on a table at a BBQ, or beside a swimming pool, but on a beach or while camping? We’re not convinced it’s as easy to clean as it might be. 

Besides, it looks more elegant than outdoorsy. The EverPlay BT7900 has a soft, round shape that hide twin front-firing 1.5-inch neodymium speakers that each reach 7W. End end of the sausage-like design is sliced to make it easy to position upright. That just about works, but leaving it side-on is more stable. Two silicon runners give a soft grip on surface, while a hidden clip allows fastening of a handle (though it’s not big enough to go round a wrist). There’s also a microphone for hands-free calls. 

Each end hides some important features. On one end you’ll find a standby button surrounded by controls for Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, and volume, while on the opposite end is a small hatch that covers a micro USB slot for recharging it, alongside a 3.5 mm audio jack for wiring it up to a non-Bluetooth device. We’re not sure how many people actually use that audio jack, but it can be useful for using with projectors and laptops during business presentations. 

Performance

Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, this one doesn’t make a stupid noise when you turn it on, just a quiet beep, followed by another trio of tiny beeps when Bluetooth pairing is achieved. It follows up that subtlety was something entirely different. Reaching incredibly high volumes without any distortion, the EverPlay BT7900 really does make an impressive noise for its size when paired with a smartphone. 

It’s more than just loud, however, with good mid-range and treble detail too. A blast of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Always Like This was delivered with a lot of presence, with a lively mix featuring a very distinctive bass line behind some strong, clear guitar and vocals. However, what we did notice was that the otherwise very impressive bass levels dissipate slightly when you put the EverPlay BT7900 on a surface. It actually performs slightly better when you use the grab handle to hang it somewhere, or hold it in your hand. 

In our tests the battery lasted for just shy of 10 hours, so there’s no worry about longevity. However, at this price (UK£90) it would have been nice if it also acted as an emergency portable battery for a smartphone. 

Final Verdict

Although the EverPlay BT7900 is adept with bass amid a tremendously loud yet balanced soundstage, that’s not what we liked best about it. Few actually use a Bluetooth speaker like this one on the beach or at a music festival – that’s just marketing mush – and it’s far more likely that you’ll be using something like the rather pricey EverPlay BT7900 in your garden/house while hosting a barbecue/party. So having a 30m connection means you can go back inside your house without having to worry about interrupting the entertainment (unless you live in a mansion, in which case why not get a proper outdoor sound system?). 

We do have a few tiny problems with the EverPlay BT7900. The bass sounds better when it’s not positioned on a flat surface, and the mesh jacket could get sand or dirt in it easily and could be hard to clean. 

However, overall this is a hugely impressive Bluetooth speaker. We’re just not sure whether it’s for the indoors or the outdoors…but then perhaps that’s the point. 

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