Polaroid P3 Bluetooth speaker review: Retro design and powerful sound make for a compelling portable party piece
Polaroid’s P3 Bluetooth speaker screams FUN in big capital letters.
⊕ Cheery aesthetic and LED animations
⊕ Supports TWS wireless pairing
⊕ Play from your desk, or take it to the park
⊖ No AptX HD support
⊖ Too big and too loud for some desks
The Polaroid P3 Bluetooth speaker resembles a portable radio and is bursting with colourful charm. With a few exceptions, including the Marshall Emberton, most Bluetooth speakers are cuboid or cylindrical in shape, so it’s nice to see another brand embrace skeuomorphism.
The P3 is one of Polaroid’s bigger speakers, larger and louder than the dinky P1 (£49.99/€59.99) and borderline pocketable P2 (£119.99/€129.99), but smaller than the hefty P4 (£259.99/€289.99).
All of Polaroid’s Bluetooth speakers, with the exception of the P1, support True Wireless Stereo (TWS), and can form wireless stereo pairs.
What you get
The Polaroid P3 is fairly big but its handle makes it easy to reposition, and the sturdy base means it won’t tip over easily. It’s not IP (ingress protection) rated, so it’s hard to tell how water-resistant the P3 is, though the 3.5mm input and USB port are protected by a rubber plug.
Two fabric speaker covers sit on the front, flanking an acoustic cavity, and an eight by eight LED grid, which displays basic but fun animations, as well as track names and volume level. There’s also a volume wheel, media controls, and a Bluetooth pairing button. In terms of codecs, there’s no support for AptX HD, or AAC, just standard Bluetooth SBC.
To get the most from this Polaroid product, you’ll want to install the Polaroid Music app (iOS, Android), which will let you pair the P3 with another Polaroid speaker, install firmware updates, and stream from a number of Polaroid Radio stations.
As we were only sent one speaker for testing, we can’t comment on how well stereo pairing works. However, given that the P3 can reach up to 75dB, one is plenty loud enough on its own. The P3 goes five better than Spinal Tap, with a maximum volume setting of 16, but if you’re listening at your desk you likely won’t want the volume higher than about the 4 setting. With the ability to stream from up to 10m (30ft) away, you can crank it when you’re outside or having a party. Distortion is audible at volume levels beyond 10 but, unless you hate your housemates and/or neighbours, you probably won’t be listening around this level very often.
The extensive frequency range means that low-end noises have plenty of rumble, while toppy sounds are well defined. The middle section of King Crimson’s Starless begins with gently played bass guitar, and slowly builds, with guitar, percussion and drums gradually joining the fray. Listening through the P3, the bass remains clearly defined throughout this section, which sounds messy through lesser speakers.
The Polaroid P3 comes in blue, yellow, red, grey and black. At £169.99/€189.99, it’s an expensive product if you plan to use it solely as a desk speaker – in which case the cheaper P2 is a better option – but for outdoor as well as indoor listening, it’s a good buy.
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