STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ naturally balanced sound
+ rich, deep, differentiated bass
+ carry strap
+ well designed and marked controls
- Not everyone agrees with its design
- between tracks you might hear audible noise
Sound: tonal balance / transparency7.0
Sound: Bass / Dynamics7.7
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.4
Price / Performance9.7
Tronsmart´s latest Halo 100 offers pretty similar dimensions as its cousin Bang Mini, which appeared to be a mixed bag in our review. But while the latter seems to be kind of a compact boombox, the Halo 100 is more of a portable party speaker on a carry strap combining Bluetooth playback with a more serious lighting console.
Okay, it admittingly looks a bit cute and funny standing upright with its three illuminated rings around woofer and midrange drivers. We felt a bit reminded of a 1990ies´ toy robot. For people who might feel uncomfortable having a “gadget with face expression” staring at them, the Halo 100 may not be the first choice.
On the other hand, the specs are pretty promising: a serious18 hours of battery life, 3-way stereo system, 60 watts of total amp power, compound driver – that´s what is making party people really wanting to check the Halo 100´s capabilities in real life beach sound reinforcement. By the way, a similar version called Halo 110 is available adding karaoke functions.
Three ways but just one tweeter
At 2.7 kilograms, it’s no lightweight, but it’s easy to get from A to P (like party) on the carry strap. The water ingress protection suitable for any purpose at IPX6 rating, but it does neither offer certified dust nor sand protection.
The driver conecpt is somewhat unusual to say the least. The specs show an electronic 3way crossover plus 2-channel circuitry distributing a total of 60 watts to 4 drivers. While a monaural bass offering a whopping 12 centimeters of an active plus 16 centimeters of passive driver, we were quite suprised to find a monaural tweeter as well. So solely the midrange provided by two rather compact 2″ cone drivers forming the ´eye´ of the face could provide a stereo image to a certain degree. We would not expect too much in terms of ambience as both drivers are positioned quite close to each other on the baffle. However, those who want to invest in two Halo 100 unit might be really happy to know that they can form a true stereo pair without even using the app.
Bluetooth and much more
Music playback is offered via latest Bluetooth 5.3, analogue AUX input, flashcard slot (simply micro SD) or USB storage. The USB-A for the latter also provides a powerbank function and runs independently of the USB-C, which is where the power supply should be connected. Consider us impressed: That´s a really versatile concept, especially since it allows multihosting keeping two Bluetooth sources connected at the same time.
Getting used to all the options takes a bit of time as there are quite many. The ´M´ key does not represent a short cut to murder, but means source selection, keeping in mind that AUX is a prioritized input as soon as there is such a signal. Lighting console and EQ can be activated using the unmistakable keys. For playback control, voice assistant and answering phone calls, however, you have to memorize quite a variety of double-clicks, long-clicks and short-clicks until you really master the Halo 100.
Lighting console and app
The battery life is 18 hours. Theoretically, with all lighting effects turned off. If you want some fancy shmancy disco feeling from one of the 5 patters, battery life is eaten up considerably quicker. We did not find any official specs about how quick. But we noticed that it is pretty heavily decreasing the battery life.
The Tronsmart app for iOS and Android comes free of charge offering some personalization of the EQ. Furthermore, you can use it to pair two Halo 100s or do it without. Not a bad idea as you shouldn’t expect anything like ambience or imaging from a single unit despite a significant number of drivers. When launching it for the first time, we were requested to upload firmware version 1.2.2 showing a satisfying maturity of the software.
The moment of truth: Tronsmart Halo 100´s sound quality
Even if traditional audiophiles might start listening to the Tronsmart with a certain degree of skepticism due to its rather toyish look: it is a pretty natural and decent speaker. We found voices being reproduced with clarity and distinct, sounding unexpectedly natural at the same time. That said, offering some shiny treble revealing just a hint of harshness when being compared to more expensive competitors,it is already a pretty strong performance in this class, nothing more to ask for. Even more surprising: Even SPL close to the call did not reveal any hint of strained or aggressive tonality. The icing on the cake in this price range is surely its tight, rich bass punch. It is surely reaching deeper than most of tiny portable speakers even taking the big names like Bose, Sony or JBL into consideration.
With this rich, clean punch we found it to be satisfying for any genre of music, not just hip hop. If you are into classic rock you might find the acoustic drum solo in “Africa” (Toto XX) surprisingly energetic given the price range. Okay, there is a natural limit from an audiophile perspective when focussing on the background choir, sounding somewhat strained here. So if you are simply looking for fun listening you might find the Tronsmart Halo 100 punching not just one but rather two or three classes above its weight.
Want even more bass and drive? Check the Sound Pulse mode or select “Deep Bass” as an EQ preset in the app. Bass will become even richer and at the same time might milden up a bit of the slight treble harshness.
Conclusion and alternatives
As a clear alternative to the well-known brands, Tronsmart Halo 100´ is likely to appear on many wish lists. The sound quality it delivers should put the fear of God into its direct competitors. After all, the Bose Soundlink Micro offers a typical tiny Bluetooth speakers for a similiar amount of bucks. And it is pretty limited by the laws of physics.
In contrary to Tronsmart´s Bang Mini , which was meant for party people as well but did not deliver a convincing performance in terms of sound quality, Tronsmart has hit the bull’s eye (or the gadget´s eyes) this tim. If your budget is a bit higher, you might want to consider the Dockin D Fine 2: It comes with its own power supply..
Technical specifications Tronsmart Halo 100
- Retail price: approx. 110 dollars/pounds/euros
- Dimensions (W x H x D ): 20 x 28,5 x 15 cm
- Weight: 2.7 kg
- Battery life up to 18 hours (with lighting console deactivated)
- Features: AUX input, IPX6 water protection, stereo pairing, multi-coloured LED lighting console.
- More at: www.tronsmart.com