The previous Epoz Aktimate Micro speakers – the ones with the iPod dock on top – were so enjoyable to listen to that they ran away with a What Hi-Fi? Award in 2012.
Three years on, the Epoz Aktimate Micro Bs have been updated to incorporate new technologies and changing music-playing habits.
The 30-pin connecting dock has been swapped in favour of Bluetooth with aptX, and a USB type-B input for laptops has been added alongside the faithful 3.5mm input.
Features and connectivity
The Micro Bs (the B stands for Bluetooth) are powered speakers, with the left speaker housing all the inputs, the class D amplifier, and the LED indicator (which lights up blue when the speakers are turned on).
To switch between the three inputs, use the dial on the front of the left speaker. Annoyingly, there’s no indicator on the dial or LED colour change to show which source you’re using.
You simply have to remember (from left to right: Bluetooth, 3.5mm, USB), or cycle through the inputs until you hit the one that’s playing your music.
Twiddling the volume dial (also on the left speaker) is more intuitive, and volume changes are accomplished swiftly.
More after the break
Build and design
The Aktimate Micro Bs are the exact same size and shape as their predecessors, so they’re still a bit too big for what we’d call the ideal desktop size.
Nevertheless, they look good flanking your laptop and can easily be used as TV speakers, too.
They are sturdily built, and the glossy finish comes in black, white or a fetching red. Just make sure there’s enough space around the speakers when putting them in place, as close proximity to a wall makes them sound a little boomy.
Streaming Birdy’s Shelter over Bluetooth (pairing is swift and automatic), the Aktimates sound big and spacious. There’s plenty of space surrounding each piano note, while Birdy’s sweet vocals are projected loud and clear.
It’s a solid sound that goes loud enough to fill a decent-sized room.
The Micro Bs’ overall balance is pleasantly even, with no bright treble or lumpy bass in sight. The only problem is a lack of oomph and excitement. The synthesisers in I Monster’s version of Daydream in Blue are detailed and have a well-timed rhythm, but we’d like more punch and texture to that deep bass. It doesn’t quite convey the sense of drama and atmosphere of the song.
That over-cautious presentation means the Aktimates sound rather flat and safe. They lack the level of dynamic subtlety and pizzazz that ultimately gives rivals such as the Award-winning Ruark MR1s the edge over them.
We’d like to hear notes with more definite edges, the fluid dynamics to be more dramatic and layered, and for the speakers to have more fun and engagement when playing songs.
The Epoz Aktimate Micro Bs may have traded pure excitement for an even-toned balance, but their well-behaved performance, range of connections and good build will appeal to many.
There are rival speakers that offer a livelier and more engaging listening experience, but the Micro Bs are solid performers for this price, both in terms of build and sound quality.
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