A couple weeks back, we reviewed the Fender Monterey Bluetooth Speaker — a large, heavy, amp-like design with amp-like sound. Our Fender Newport Bluetooth Speaker review takes a look at a second, and smaller, recent entry into the market by the well-known guitar and amp company. Let’s dive in and see what kind of sound this smaller, classic looking speaker puts out!
The Fender Newport Bluetooth Speaker has the following features and specifications:
- 30-watt Bluetooth® speaker
- Tri-driver system: two woofers, one tweeter
- 33-foot+ Bluetooth range; mic with echo cancellation
- 3.5mm auxiliary input jack
- USB port to charge external devices
- Speakers: Two Full Range with One Tweeter
- Maximum Output Level: 30 watts
- Inputs: One (3.5 mm analog)
- Bluetooth: V 4.2
- Codec: aptX, AAC, SBC
- Power Requirements: AC Adapter with barrel connector, input 100-240V, output 2.8A/16V
- Dimensions (W/H/D): 3 x 5.25 x 7.25″
- Weight: 3.2 lbs
What’s in the box
- Fender Newport Bluetooth Speaker
- AC adapter
- 3.5mm audio cable
- USB charging cable
- Quick Start Guide
Like the much larger Monterey, the smaller, compact, and portable Fender Newport Bluetooth speaker is also modeled after Fender’s ’68 Custom amplifiers. Every detail, from the witch-hat knobs to the amp jewel and control labels came from these classic designs, and if you Google the classic designs, you see that this is indeed true.
Whereas the Monterey is wrapped in vinyl, the Newport’s housing is made of plastic. It’s definitely a quality, sturdy plastic and covers the entire back and bottom, as well as wraps around the edges, across the top and bottom, and surrounds the button/knob panel on the top. The front speaker grille is made from metal and features rows of small slits. The Fender logo badge is located on the upper left corner to finish off the look.
The top of the speaker is where you’ll find (from right to left) the power toggle switch, the power “amp jewel” indicator, bass, treble, and volume dials, a talk button, and a pairing button. The small microphone hole sits between the pair and talk buttons. On the back of the speaker near the button is your 15V DC in, 3.5mm AUX, and 5V/1A USB-A ports.
The Fender Newport Bluetooth speaker really captures the classic Fender look in a smaller package.
Ease of Use
Turning the speaker on is as easy as flicking the power toggle. To pair to a device, simply press and hold the PAIR button until you hear the audio cue. Connect to “Fender Newport” from your phone or other device and you’re good to go. You can adjust volume, bass, and treble from the speaker itself. When you have an incoming call, the TALK button lights up green. Press it to answer, or press and hold to reject the call. While in a call, pressing the button will hang up.
All the audio cues — powering on, Bluetooth connected, Bluetooth pairing — are reminiscent of a quick guitar strum. Definitely a nice touch. Like the bigger Monterey, one thing you can’t do with the speaker, however, is control playback so you’ll have to keep your phone or other device handy to play, pause or skip tracks. It’s an interesting omission for sure on a Bluetooth speaker.
Out of the box, the speaker sounds pretty fantastic. It’s obviously not at the level of the Monterey, but with 30W of output, it gets pretty loud and has a nice balance across lows, mids, and highs. Any type of music we tried on this, from rock to old school rap and EDM (and almost everything in between), sounded decent. While indoors, a volume setting of around 4 was plenty, while in the backyard enjoying the last of these summer days, a volume of 7-8 was plenty.
Generally speaking, you should be able to get close to the sound you want using the volume, bass, and treble dials on the speaker. Given that the volume dial operates independently of your smartphone volume, you can really fine tune the volume to the levels you wish. While the speaker sounds pretty fantastic out of the box, I did find I was able to squeeze even more bass out of it when enabling the equalizer on my phone.
With a stated Bluetooth range of 33′, the Newport lets you move pretty freely around the house or backyard with phone in hand. Of course, an area with more direct sight lines to the speaker will allow you to get further away but for the most part, the Newport fared well with reception and range from my phone while in use.
As far as call quality is concerned, like almost all Bluetooth speakers, the closer you are to the speaker the better for the other party to hear you.
Fender claims a battery life of about 12 hours with this speaker, and it definitely delivers. During our testing, we were able to consistently get between 11 and just over 12 hours depending on the volume used. Most of our testing was done outside at higher volumes. Given that it also has the capability to charge your smartphone from the USB A port on the back, that will also affect battery life.
Still, the Newport definitely lasted long enough on a single charge to easily get through the day.
At an MSRP of $199.99USD, the Fender Newport is leaning towards the higher end for portable Bluetooth speakers. Given the Fender name, quality construction, decent battery life, and sound output, the price is pretty reasonable.
With Fender’s music background, it’s not surprising to see the second of their two introductory Bluetooth speakers take home a Top Pick of 2017 Award here at Techaeris. Compact, great sound, stylish retro design and an all-day battery are just some of the reasons why you should consider the Fender Newport Bluetooth speaker.