The $359 Esquire 2 from Harman Kardon costs less than version 1, and though it sports some improvements, there are a few key compromises which I will touch on. I must say, it’s got a nice box though.
The Esquire 2 is much flatter than it’s older brother and now has a kickstand which flips out and angles the speaker almost 45 degrees. The speaker feels solidly built with its metallic chassis and machined metal buttons. It also has a rubberised back for better grip, but it lacks heft which may be a good thing for some people, if weight is a concern. Although it states 8 hours battery life, I played a looping album on it at 50% volume and it actually lasted more than 12 hours, impressive! It has a USB port which charges your mobile devices. Quad-Mic technology speakerphone is built in and voice quality during phone calls is pretty good.
The speaker does sound clear and it balances the audio well whether at low or high volumes. The speaker is able to project the sound across the room quite well, when the kickstand is deployed. There's also fairly decent bass but honestly for that price, I expected more! The lack of bass shows up in Jazz music too, causing vocals to lack weight. When playing orchestral tracks audio feels thin and not well separated. In short, I'm sorry to say that the Esquire 2 has sound quality that you would expect in less expensive speakers.
When I turn the speaker on, the pairing tone is simply too loud! This was what happened when I just wanted some background music…
Yes the speaker is well built, but aside from the fact that it is NOT water resistant, why didn't it come with more accessories? All I got in the box were some booklets and a USB cable! At least the previous one came with a multi-USB charger which I thought was pretty handy. They should at least include a case! Well, at least the box was nice.
Overall this felt like a downgrade as compared with version 1. The Esquire 2 is no doubt a sleek and well built speaker, but I have doubts whether it lives up to the price point which makes it a tough sell. The sound quality is decent but there are so many cheaper alternatives with better sound and features. The Bose Soundlink Mini II (S$329), the JBL Charge 2+ (S$279) and the UE Boom 2 are some examples. It does make for a decent powerbank and conference call speaker but still, i find it hard to recommend unless the price is much lower.
Available in Black, Gold and Grey.
#harmankardon #esquire2 #esquire