Boat has recently launched the Boat Stone 200A smart speaker which brings Alexa with you everywhere. Currently, there are a few budget smart speakers available including the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini. But these smart speakers need to be connected to a wall outlet at all times. Boat tries to solve this problem in the budget segment by pricing the Alexa enabled Boat Stone 200A smart Bluetooth speaker at Rs. 2,700. Here's how it performs out in the real world.
Boat Stone 200A Review: Design
Boat Stone 200A is basically the Stone 200 with Alexa. This means that the smart speaker shares the same design language as its predecessor. It carries the same rugged and waterproof design that makes the speaker a good companion for your trekking or swimming on the weekends. In order to test the dust and water resistance, I did put the speaker inside a bathtub and left it there for approximately 10 mins. The speaker worked fine upon taking it out of the water.
Boat has provided five buttons on the top, which are used to adjust volume, power, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mic. Due to the rugged design, the buttons are not quite tactile and will require some force. Boat Stone 200A also comes with an option to mount the smart speaker to a tripod stand. Apart from that, the speaker gets a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB port.
Boat Stone 200A Review: Audio quality, features, battery life
Unlike your normal Bluetooth speaker, setting up the Boat Stone 200A is little strenuous. As the speaker needs an internet connection to enable Alexa functionality, you will need to connect it to a Wi-Fi network. In order to set up the speaker for the first time, I had to download the "boAt Lifestyle" app from the Google Play Store (also available on App Store) on my OnePlus 7T. After going through the setup process, I was able to connect the speaker to my Wi-Fi network and make Alexa work.
Alexa can stream music from Amazon Prime Music, JioSaavn, Hungama Music and Gaana. Apart from listing to music, the users can also say the general Alexa commands like "What's the weather like" or "What's the latest news?".
Google Home Mini or the Amazon Echo Dot are dedicated smart speakers and come with far-field microphones. Even though the Boat Stone 200A comes with a far-field microphone, it wasn't able to listen to my Alexa commands from the other corner of my room. Also, when the music was playing, it became even tougher to give Alexa commands.
For music, I either relied on Alexa or connected the speaker to my OnePlus 7T. As for the audio quality, the smart speaker was louder than I expected. Considering the size of the speaker, the Boat Stone 200A was able to give surprisingly great audio outputs. At full volume, the voice did tend to distort a bit on bass-heavy music. Also, I did notice that the highs were a bit sharp. Otherwise, the speaker was really good and I had a great time reviewing it.
Boat Stone 200A was able to last for about seven hours before it went hungry for some power. I was even able to use Alexa out of my home by connecting the speaker to my phone's hotspot. However, using Alexa did slightly affect battery life.
Boat Stone 200A Review: Verdict
Boat Stone 200A is a great portable smart speaker and for the price, there is nothing that comes close to it. For a better audio quality, you might be able to find something in this segment but as of now, there is no other smart speaker that can let you take Alexa with you no matter wherever you go (as long as you have an internet connection).