Maxell MXSP-WP2000 review

Maxell MXSP-WP2000 review

A wireless speaker that can connect to your digital music source via Bluetooth, NFC and 3.5mm cable, the Maxell MXSP WP2000 is a step up from the Maxell MXSP-BT03. That's a step up in terms of size and features, but also a big step up in terms of price. The Maxell MXSP-WP2000 retails for £120, putting it above the rank of impulse buy for most consumers. See also Group test: What's the best portable Bluetooth speaker?

For that price you get aptX and AAC compatibility, which should make for a better fidelity than Bluetooth's default SBC codec. And built-in Qi inductive charging allows compatible devices to be placed on the speaker system for a wireless charge. A nice feature for those for whom it is relevant.

The Maxell MXSP-WP2000 isn't really portable as it needs to run from the mains. A mains adaptor is supplied.

We liked the bargain basement MXSP-BT03, so the £120 inc VAT question is: does the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 offer 120-quid's worth of audio and features? Read our Maxell MXSP-WP2000 review to find out...

Maxell MXSP-WP2000: design and build

We're fond of Maxell's style. Our version of the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 was mostly white and grey, but it is also available in black.

It's an oblong lozenge of a device with curved edges, 284 mm long, 103 mm high on sprung rubbery feet, and 79 mm wide. That latter figure is more like 90 mm in terms of the space taken up, however, as the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 leans back on its heels, somewhat.

At the top we find a textured rubber finish in a fetching grey. On close inspection we found that this wasn't perfectly smoothly applied on our review sample, but the overall effect is largely pleasing. To the right-hand edge of the top is a touch-activated control panel, with Play/Pause in the centre, and search and volume rockers around the edge.

The entire front half of the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is encased in a soft grey cover that wraps around the edges. In the middle is a slightly cheap looking silver plastic 'Maxell' logo. The back side is textured white plastic, with a panel bearing product details inset in the middle. Here also we can find the on/off button, as well as ports for 3.5mm line in, USB and power adaptor.

Down at the bottom there is a square metallic speaker grid, as well as white rubber feet that keep the base off the floor.

Overall the feeling the look is, in my view at least, understated and classy. And the design makes sense from a user point of view. Get too close and the build feels less than stellar. There's nothing wrong here, but don't expect the very highest quality.

Maxell MXSP-WP2000: features and connectivity

The Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is a wireless speaker with built-in Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC pairing capability. It also allows you to connect via 3.5mm line-in. Basically, if you have a music source, it will be able to play through the Maxell MXSP-WP2000.

And it plays your audio via two speakers with a listed frequency response of 100Hz-20kHz. This is not high-end audio we're talking about, but again the price tag has to be taken into consideration. And we do like the fact that the WP2000 can use the aptX audio codec, which should mean less of your music is lost as it streams over Bluetooth.

Besides its Qi Inductive Charging there's a  5V output through USB so you can charge your smartphone. There's also an included remote control.

Maxell MXSP-WP2000: performance

Let's start with usability, and then get in to the interesting stuff. You switch on the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 around the back, and pair your device either by hitting the 'Pairing' button on the remote, or by holding down the Play button. Either way it was a snip with both our phone and tablet. Then controlling the source via remote or on-speaker controls is straightforward and worked well in our tests.

Using a USB charger our source phone and tablet charged up at a decent rate, too. That's a good feature.

On to audio. First we paired via Bluetooth, and tested using both an iPhone 5S and an iPad mini, which usually means music is being streamed in AAC format.

The first thing to mention is volume. Over Bluetooth at least the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is loud, but not LOUD. It will comfortably provide background music for a reasonable-sized room, but don't expect to DJ at a party.

Playing acoustic music (such as ‘Ho Hey' by Lennon, Stella and Maisy Stella) we heard a nicer, warmer sound than we are used to when playing digital music via Bluetooth. But it was slightly muffled, and we noticed an absence of bass.

More rocky guitar music (such as ‘Arabella' by the Artic Monkeys) was a little less successful. We found it quite muddy, and the bass problems were more pronounced. The most successful music we played were too distinct types that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the device.

First up were early Beatles records such as Please Please Me. Here the simpler, more raw and less layered audio was clear and punchy. We noticed the slightly weedy bass much less, although bass is a key component of that record.

The most successful music we played over the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 was hip hop from the likes of Big Boi and Dizzee Rascal. Here the brighter, more in-your-face production combined with the distinct spaces between sounds made for a clearer more punchy and balanced sound.

Overall, then, over Bluetooth at least we would say the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is just about worth the price of entry. It's as good as some of the more expensive Bluetooth speakers on the market. But that's not great: even with aptX I can tell Bluetooth audio a mile off – and I'm no audiophile.

The proof of that particular pudding came when we switched to using the supplied audio cable to connect up to the 3.5mm audio-in port, and play our music with wires.

In every single case the sound was transformed. Much, much louder. Clearer and cleaner. That's not to say that using wires the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is an audiophile's speaker, but it is so much better as to make the Bluetooth sound even worse.

Maxell MXSP-WP2000: value

You can't fault the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 in terms of its feature set. And the audio fidelity – both wired and wireless – is as good as you can expect at this price range. Build quality is okay without being amazing, and we'd wager that most people like the design (or at least don't dislike it). In short, at this price the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 is good value, if not an outstanding bargain.

Maxell MXSP-WP2000: Specs

  • MXSP WP2000 Wireless Docking Speaker
  • 2x 60 mm drive units
  • 2x 7W rms amplifier
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX and AAC compatibility
  • NFC
  • Qi charging capability, 5V/1A
  • 3.5mm minijack input
  • 5V/1A USB output for charging
  • 100Hz-20kHz specified frequency response
  • 12V DC mains adaptor
  • remote control
  • 285 x 102 x 101 mm
  • MXSP WP2000 Wireless Docking Speaker
  • 2x 60 mm drive units
  • 2x 7W rms amplifier
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX and AAC compatibility
  • NFC
  • Qi charging capability, 5V/1A
  • 3.5mm minijack input
  • 5V/1A USB output for charging
  • 100Hz-20kHz specified frequency response
  • 12V DC mains adaptor
  • remote control
  • 285 x 102 x 101 mm

OUR VERDICT

A full-featured Bluetooth speaker that's nice to look at, the Maxell MXSP-WP2000 offers decent value paired with solid audio performance.