Nude tries to bridge the gap between quality and portability. (October 23rd, 2013)
Product Manufacturer: Nude Audio
- - Small size, weight - Durable build - Attractive design - Clear sound
- - Volume not especially powerful - Buttons unmarked, unlit, inconveniently placed - No on-unit playback controls - 8-hour battery
Many Bluetooth speakers are marketed as "portable" these days, but that definition is often a stretch, to put it mildly. Just because something can technically be picked up and moved doesn't mean you can fit it into a bag or luggage. Nude's Move M, though, is one of those speakers that tries to be authentically portable; we'll put it to the test to see if that's true, and if it holds up as a speaker in general.
If something like Logitech's UE Mini Boom is minimalist, the Move M somehow takes matters a step further. Effectively it's a rubber puck with just enough space for sound components, Bluetooth controls, and an eight-hour battery. Which isn't to say it lacks style -- it has pleasing rounded corners, and accent touches like a logo embedded in the grill and a recess in the base. The most gratuitous element is the neon carrying cord, but even that's fairly practical, making it easy to grab the M or hang it somewhere.
Because it's so streamlined, the product also weighs next to nothing. I'd estimate it's about as heavy as a modern smartphone. It's certainly not that slim, but one thing that grabbed my attention is that it's still much thinner than some alternatives. It's enough that you can realistically slip an M into a purse or messenger bag without (completely) disrupting other contents. Factored in with its low weight, that makes the product extremely portable.
On a related note, it also seems to be very solidly built. The rubber and a tough metal grill mean that an M can drop from several feet and escape without damage, even if it hits pavement. I do worry about the way the grill bulges away from the body, but it would likely have to hit a sharp rock or at high speed to even take a dent.
One complaint I have is the arrangement of the on-speaker controls and the aux-in jack. The latter is situated on a corner, which is seemingly arbitrary and might make it difficult to find at first. The placement of controls along the side makes more sense, since it conserves space, but comes across as awkward versus having buttons on top.
Speaking of buttons, the M does nothing to address two of my most common gripes about Bluetooth speakers. The buttons here are unmarked and unlit -- making them hard to identify in low light -- and they're also limited to the most basic functions, namely power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. Track controls would be appreciated, and shouldn't be that hard to implement even on something as small as the M.
It's stranger still considering that Nude did save room for a microphone. That's right -- by tapping the Bluetooth button, you can answer phone calls. Why someone would choose to take a call on an M is a mystery, especially since you need your phone nearby to control audio playback anyway.
On that note, the ultimate arbiter of a speaker's quality is of course its sound, and here's where the M stumbles a bit more seriously. Output is very clear, actually, with minimal clipping at high volume. But "high" is a relative term, and the M is not what you would call room-filling. It's just powerful enough to be "loud" within a single space; even then, it would be drowned out at a party. Bass is only adequate, although perhaps that should be impressive given how small the speaker is.
The same sentiment can be applied to the M as a whole. It's a tradeoff; what you gain in size, lightness, and durability is offset by weaker volume and less battery life -- some other speakers can run for 10 hours or more. The M may well be worthwhile, but you have to consider just how crucial portability is.