I don’t normally review or comment on vendors in general but I’ve recently been introduced to the electronics company Mpow when I bought an inexpensive Bluetooth wireless speaker that was waterproof for my son. I was surprised by its overall quality construction and sound. For about $20 (when I bought it, it’s now going for about $14.50) the Buckler delivers reasonable sound, fair loudness, and seriously IPX4 level protection. This not something that you want to drop in a pool but you can certainly stick it in a shower. This seems to me to be good value for what you pay. I’m not all about the best nor the cheapest; I am about value for your particular use. If you going to do serious, careful listening, your value proposition changes than if you’re doing casual listening of a Bluetooth speaker while doing homework or take a shower. So your application your use of the item does play an important role in figuring out what is reasonable enough even for an inexpensive price. For our particular application, this was awesome. [Note: I have no affiliation with Mpow; all of the items mentioned here were purchased by me]
So when I saw they had a gizmo that kills the noise I get when my phone is plugged into the car recharger and the aux cord, I thought I would give it a try. “Good enough” in this case meant it had to be easy and result in no noise since I really wanted to get rid of the annoying noise over my car’s speakers. Mpow “Ground Loop Noise Isolator” to the rescue. For $7.50, on promotion (currently $10), this thing works perfectly. There is no noise when my phone is both plugged into the auxiliary and into power and it’s as easy as plugging it into my phone and the aux. cord into it. In this case, partial noise reduction wouldn’t fit the bill; it had to be all or nothing.
Next, I was looking for an inexpensive set of decent sounding Bluetooth headphones that I could use while working out. This was not an urgent need since I have wired in-ear monitors that worked well for this but would look forward to not having to deal with the wire. So I could take my time looking. Along came Mpow “Wolverine Bluetooth Headphones 4.1 Wireless Sport with Noise Cancellation.” Now there’s quite a mouthful. For $15 (again on promotion, currently $22), I was shocked how good these sounded. Now, I had pretty low expectations, but they were far exceeded. They’re mainly used when I’m working out or doing chores, so my focus on the music, podcast or audiobook isn’t the focus. Certainly, for this use, they are more than adequate. Even sitting down and really listening to the music, they’re pretty good. Certainly better than any wired $20 headset (I’ve never tried any other Bluetooth headset at this low of a price point). These really fit the bill when I need to have music take my mind away from the grind (or the stroke, when rowing) but even for casual music listening, While initially pairing them is dead easy, they do have some challenges, from time to time, reconnecting to a paired phone (both on iOS and Windows 10 Mobile). They tend to connect, then turn off unless you start streaming sound to them almost immediately (maybe to save battery life). So it often takes to attempts to connect. In terms of sound, range, and battery life, I’m amazed at what these do. They even take phone calls in a reasonably decent way. All for $20 normally priced. So if you can accept the occasional pain of reconnecting or pairing, these offer stunning value. NOTE: They have a new version call Mpow Coach for the same price; it may (or may not) address the connection issue
Finally, we recently had to replace an FM transmitter for an old van whose previous transmitter went with my oldest son to college. Again, I turned Mpow. They seem determined to always deliver more than you anticipate, so they included a USB port to the car plug for the transmitter. This is a digital transmitter that allows you to go to many channels, not just a few static channels typical of a physical switch and the results are better connection, less interference and good sound. This actually looks good, works well and you don’t lose a potential phone charger when you plug it in and it currently goes for $10.
I’m becoming a Mpow fan. Is this the place that I would go from a high-end gear? Not so much. However, for delivering value under a plethora of uses, I’m going back to Mpow because the quality they deliver at their price point provides lots of value.