NIMA BT speaker review: Superfan your NCAA sound in style

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech / Top Picks
NCAA

This is easily the most unique and best Bluetooth speaker design I’ve ever seen — and I’ve seen a lot.

The NCAA football season is underway and there’s no doubt that superfans everywhere are going to be partying. A proper party has a few elements that must be in place — beer, food, TV, friends, family, and big sound. While you’re tailgaiting or watching your favorite team annihilate the competition there will be times you may want to spin some tunes too. The NIMA BT football helmet speaker is your answer to superfan your sound in style. Read on to find out about another Top Pick winner, the NIMA BT football helmet speaker.

Specifications

The NIMA NCAA BT speaker has the following specifications and features:

  • Full range driver for midrange clarity Woofer – it’s all about that bass
  • Pair up to 2 NIMA speakers playing the same song
  • Hardwearing polycarbonate construction
  • APP for the Bluetooth speaker that includes 7 band equalization; available for iOS an Android
  • Built in microphone for use as speaker phone
  • Bluetooth 4.2+EDR (<20m reception)
  • DC IN (19v/6.3A), USB 2.0 (5V/1A)
  • Frequency: 100Hz-20kHz
  • Dimensions: 15.0in x 13.6in x 11.2in
  • Weight: 14.0 lbs
  • Officially licensed NCAA speaker

What’s in the Box

  • Large helmet (also available in small and medium)
  • Small AC charger
  • AUX cable
  • Owner’s Manual

Design

This is easily the most unique and best Bluetooth speaker design I’ve ever seen — and I’ve seen a lot. The NIMA speaker is shaped exactly like a football helmet and comes in three different sizes, small, medium and large. Our review unit was the large model, and it came with a few more features than its smaller siblings. The outside of the speaker is constructed of a high quality heavy polycarbonate material and is pretty sturdy. Everything is there as far as a helmet goes, face guard, eye shield, and of course your favorite officially licensed NCAA football team branding. NIMA is working with the NCAA to bring even more NCAA teams to it’s offerings, you’ll have to connect with them to find out if yours is available.

NCAA

Around the right and left of the helmet you’ll find your NCAA team branding along with mid-range speakers on both sides. The NIMA logo is prominently displayed on the speaker grills, it’s nice branding and goes well with the overall look of the helmet. On the front of the helmet speaker, you’ll find more NIMA branding on the face guard buckle that holds the face guard in place. Around back is where all the controls are located, the diagram above breaks it down. Our review unit had a few differences from what the diagram shows, for example, the play/pause/TWS button is the play/pause/call button on our unit. The other difference is the EQ button is the TWS button on our unit, we used the included app for EQ control in our testing. Overall this design is pretty amazing, not only is it built really well but who would have thought the helmet shape would make an excellent acoustical vessel for sound.

Ease Of Use

Bluetooth products are easier than ever to use and the NIMA BT speaker is no exception. Power it up and then hold the sync button down until you hear the beep for pairing. Head to your smart device and find the NIMA in your Bluetooth list. Tap the NIMA and you should hear a few beeps and boops indicating your connected. The other controls are pretty easy to pick up, the rewind/volume down and fast forward/volume up buttons work with a push and long press. If you want to go back or forward a track you just push it once, if you want volume control then you push and hold. The TWS button is used to pair two helmet speakers together, you can pair two of these together for even more sound.

The included app is pretty straight forward as well. Just get into the app after you’ve connected the speaker to Bluetooth and you can choose from presets or EQ it yourself. The app also plays your music library should you want to, I stream from Apple Music so that wasn’t something I tested. Once you have it EQ’ed you’re set and ready to start blasting your tunes, the app interface is easy and simple nothing to it at all. Overall the speaker is very simple to use, no issues in setup and no issues with the app I am very confident everyone should be able to operate this with ease.

NCAA

Sound

First off, dedicated volume control, well done NIMA! I am a huge fan of being able to control volume on my Bluetooth speakers independently from the connected device. I like to turn the volume all the way up on the helmet so I know I have all it’s giving me then I can tweak it using my connected device. Once you have your volume set and ready to go this thing has some massive sound. Depending on how you set your equalizer settings, you can get the bass rumbling pretty good and pretty much everything is clear and loud.

I like a balanced sound with a slight favoring of the low end but nothing that would overpower the mids and highs. I was able to take the NIMA to full volume there was a bit of shake and vibration through the low end but that was at full volume on the helmet and iPhone. The way you equalize the speaker will also have an affect on that shake and vibration — if you give it too much bass you’re likely going to experience this (that’s pretty normal). When I backed the volume down two notches on the iPhone from full everything cleared up good. If you set your equalizer with a more balanced profile you’re going to be able to crank this on full with no shake or vibration or distortion. Overall the sound is just huge and fills a good sized room just fine and pairing another to this will double your firepower.

Reception/Call Quality

First off, Bluetooth speakers shouldn’t be used as speakerphones, but some people insist on it. So there is a microphone and call button on this thing so we had to test it. As with most other Bluetooth speakers, the sound is great coming from the caller but you will need to be close to the speaker for the caller to clearly hear you through built-in mic. I don’t take many points away for the call part of these reviews as I seriously don’t think many people use these as a speakerphone.

Battery Life

NIMA does not list the battery size or the battery life but we’ve reached out to the company for clarification on them. I’ve been using the NIMA BT NCAA speaker now for about a week and the battery is still going. This has been a few hours of use here and there with volume at about half. Battery life will also depend on how loud you’re pushing the volume and the NIMA has a USB port so you can charge your device as well, using that feature will impact battery life as well.

Price/Value

Alright, here we go. Pricing on NCAA officially licensed items isn’t going to be cheap, if you are a superfan you know that. Jersey’s, hat’s, coats and just about anything with the NCAA logo is going to run a bit higher than other things. The official pricing for these speakers is $149USD for the small, $249USD for the medium and $399USD for the large. That’s not chump change but superfans of anything usually aren’t looking at prices and seriously, this is a really well made speaker with great sound so the value is there, aside from the NCAA branding.

Wrap Up

This speaker isn’t for everyone, it’s expensive but it sounds great. This is for the superfan who wants to add something unique to their parties and tailgate events.

NIMA BT Speaker
4.7 Out of 5
Nailed it
Unique take on a Bluetooth speaker, awesome design, huge sound, custom EQ app.
Needs Work
Can get pricey, NFC would have been nice for Android phones.
Bottom Line
OK, so yeah, this thing isn't cheap but if you're a true superfan of your NCAA football team this is totally worth it.
Design5.00
Ease of Use5.00
Sound4.75
Reception/Call Quality4.50
Battery Life4.75
Price/Value4.25
*We were sent a sample of the NIMA BT speaker for the purposes of this review.
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