Disclaimer: I did work for Nokia/Microsoft while I was reviewing this unit. That being said this was bought as a personal product that I intend to keep, not through internal employee sources.
I like to always have background noise. It drives my wife nuts but oh well it’s how I work best. I tend to have either music/podcasts playing or the TV on whenever I am working or just getting stuff done around the house. Naturally the source of a lot of this media is my plethora of devices but most of the time the built in speaker just doesn’t cut it. For the past few months I have been on the search for a good bluetooth speaker and I think I finally have landed on it.
The Nokia MD-12 is their new portable wireless speaker. It’s quite small, comes in the bright colors the market has begun to realize are fun, and has an interesting new feature when it comes to audio quality.
Look and Feel
I wanted something that I could easily take around the house or outside easily. A lot of speakers on the market today are either weird shapes (Beats Pill) or are very heavy (Bose SoundLink). The Nokia is a little bit bigger and heavier then a hockey puck. It’s easy to pick up and carry over to the next room without even thinking about it.
The feature set here is minimal but its enough to get the job done. In the front you have a simple power button with LED indicator lights just under the speaker grille. In the back there is a Micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack so any device can use the speaker. This headphone jack is starting to become the standard but for many years bluetooth speakers only had one way to connect to them which was a giant pain in the ass when a friend wanted to use the speaker. Of course if you have NFC then pairing is a breeze as the speaker has it built in.
Not many people know but Nokia speakers have been top notch for quite a while. While Nokia does primary make phones they do have many teams working on accessories for those devices. While the past few speakers have been in collaboration with JBL it seems like this speaker doesn’t have any JBL markings so I take this as one of the first speakers made completely by Nokia R&D.
The overall sound that comes from the speaker is good, but a lot of it depends on the surface that you place the speaker on. I know that sounds weird but it was actually designed that way on purpose. The bottom of the device actually acts as a sound resonator and there for uses the surface that it’s attached to in order to amplify the bass. It’s a different way of thinking and it proves for some cool but mixed results.
I have found a few different places in the house that make the speaker sound better then others. Funny enough attached to the freezer door in the basement is actually one of them. And because the base is so close magnet for the speaker it sticks to anything metal surprisingly well.
There are other surfaces, like my kitchen table, that just doesn’t reverb the same way. It makes the sound feel flat and the listening experience is worse for it.
Overall for my needs the Nokia Portable Wireless Speaker ticks all the marks I has set for myself. On top of that the price was right, only $50 from the Microsoft Store. By no means is it the best speaker on the market. Sound quality and look and feel are solid but not “high end”. In the end I don’t think that’s what they were going for here. For your money you get a solid Bluetooth speaker with a great battery and that get’s the job done.
Image Credit – Microsoft
Nina Edit (Feb 2023) - Removed the link to the Microsoft Store as this is no longer available for purchase.