SonicGear is a Singapore brand under Leapfrog Global, who also manages tech ware brands such as Armaggeddon, Alcatroz, Elysium and AudioBox. The Sonic Pod is a portable Bluetooth speaker with 3000 mAh battery, touch controls, and frequency response range of 120 – 20,000 Hz. It retails at S$59.90 in Singapore.
There are three features that make the SonicPod a little more unique compared to the other portable speakers of similar design and price. First, you can connect two SonicPod units wirelessly to enjoy 2-channel stereo output. Second, the SonicPods illuminates with RGB lights with patterns that you can toggle either from the touch panel or from the SonicGO! 2 smartphone app. Finally, the app itself can directly control the SonicPod’s built-in functions like volume, EQ, radio, audio source. The speaker can last for 12 hours per charge, and requires 4.5 hours to fully charge the battery. There is a 4-LED indicator at the back of the speaker to show the battery level during charging.
The SonicPod is operated with a physical on-off switch at the rear. There is also a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm line-in connector. Powering up the device, you will be greeted with a loud startup audio sequence to demonstrate its dynamic range, which unfortunately, cannot be disabled. My recommendation is that during the startup sequence, place the speaker facing down on the flat surface until the initial sequence is over.
On the top of the speaker are 6 touch-sensitive areas to let you control the device. The first button is a soft power button similar to the hardware button at the back, and tapping it will toggle between Bluetooth and Line-In mode. The next three are the usual playback and volume controls. The “TWS” button is to activate the stereo pairing, and the last one is to toggle the various RGB preset modes. The touch buttons will be disabled after 1 minute, so to use them, press power and light icons together to unlock.
To maximise the functions of the SonicPod, install the SonicGo! 2 smartphone app on the app store. On the Android, the developer is POECES Audio Co. Ltd., no mention of SonicGear or Leapfrog Global, but this is the app for the SonicPod. The app is functional, nothing fanciful. From the app, tap the “Bluetooth” page at the bottom and you should be able to see the SonicPod appearing in the list. Tap the device to connect: the app makes use of the BLE protocol to communicate. If you go to the phone’s Bluetooth menu, you will see two Bluetooth profile: the “SonicPod” and “SonicPod App”. The first is the normal audio profile which you select to pair for wireless audio. To enable pairing, press-hold the play button.
Once connected to the speaker via the app, you can tap the bottom row of icons to access the features on the speaker. On the radio page, adjust the frequency to listen to the radio station. Whenever you adjust the radio frequency, it will create an entry, even though the channel is not what you want. It can be a little annoying, but just consider it as a browsing history tracker. Just long-press the unwanted entries and delete them. Volume can also be adjusted by tapping the three-button menu just above the row of menu icons.
All these settings are directly controlling the speaker hardware: the radio is built in the speaker and not transmitting audio from your phone. Therefore, features that the speaker does not support will not work. For the SonicPod, the TF and USB pages will not work. The SonicPod supports equalizer adjustment, and this feature is accessible from the “Phone music” menu page. Tap a song from your play list and you will see the EQ icon. The EQ will apply to music from any Bluetooth audio source, which means even if the speaker is streaming Bluetooth audio from a different paired device, you can use the app to adjust the EQ even though the music is not playing from the app.
Notice that there is a floating lightbulb icon on every page on the app. This is a direct control to turn on and off the RGB light on the speaker. When you tap the “Light” menu page, you can select some of the lighting pattern presets.
Audio Quality – Single and Dual Speakers
The SonicPod is definitely not for serious audio listeners, so I would not want to judge the audio quality based on audiophile standard. The bass is definitely lacking in presence, though the impression is there through the driving of feeble air at the mid-upper bass. The midrange is clean without clouding the sound, and the treble is clear and fast without harsh sibilance. The upper frequency music details are available, though cluttered given it’s all coming out from the 50mm driver. It makes a decent speaker for bling and intimate listening.
As the SonicPod supports TWS stereo mode, I asked SonicGear to send 2 units for me to test this mode, and see how it sounds like. To connect the 2 units of SonicPods, first you pair the first speaker to your playback device. Once done, you press-hold the TWS button on the first speaker until the pairing prompt is heard, then you turn on the second speaker and it should receive the TWS pairing request and connect both together. I recommend that you turn on one speaker at a time, because when two speakers are on, you will find two devices on your Bluetooth menu with identical names, and then you would not know which one you end up pairing to.
Once the stereo pairing is done once, you do not have to do it again the next time you turn on the speakers. Note: wireless stereo does not work when the audio source is Line-In.
Having two speakers is double the bling and more than double the sound quality. Besides increasing sound level, the stereo imaging is more accurate, and I can position the speakers for optimal audio experience. It definitely improves my audio experience when using my laptop in matching white. YouTube videos deliver impact and loudness that catches my family attention. At least the audio sounds wider, more spatial, instead of coming from a single point. The annoying part is the slight audio lag.
The SonicPod is more than just a compact portable Bluetooth speaker. On its own, the speaker might not seem like an attractive purchase option. But when you dig deeper into the feature list, I find that it is a product that could find a place at your study table next to your speakers. The 12-hour battery life means you do not have to worry about charging too regularly, the customisable RGB lights add a nice bling to your gaming setup. The built-in radio lets you listen free-to-air stations without using meLISTEN app and draining phone battery. The S$59.90 retail price might seem a little high compared to the numerous other SonicGear products below that price with larger drivers. But the price you pay is not for the sound quality (or lack of). Rather, it is the visual attraction of two colourful pods with wireless control over extra features. I think I wouldn’t mind getting a pair for below S$80, so do keep a lookout for regular price promotions.