On the other hand, if you want to play music out of a device that doesn't have Bluetooth, the SuperTooth Disco has a 3.5mm stereo input jack on the back and includes a male-to-male stereo cord for direct connectivity. Playing music through the wired connection also gives you better sound quality since the bandwidth limitation of Bluetooth causes audible degradation over the wireless connection.
The Disco is powered by a rechargeable battery inside that the company claims will play music continuously for 3 to 4 hours at high volumes or 10 hours at medium loudness. SuperTooth also rates the standby time at an impressive 1,500 hours. Our review schedule doesn't allow us two months to confirm that figure, but our test unit lasted several days with regular listening until it finally need a recharge.
One of the trade-offs for cutting the cord with a Bluetooth speaker is the limited connection range; the standard distance is typically 15 to 25 feet away from the speaker, but the Disco held a connection for up to 38 feet before the sound cut out. If you're comparing Bluetooth speakers to use in a large room, the SuperTooth Disco's range sails over the competition.
As stated, Bluetooth audio streams require digital compression to transmit stereo audio, so music playing from the Disco sounds slightly distorted, even if you're playing a 320Kbps MP3 or a lossless track. SuperTooth attempts to compensate for the audio constraints with a bass boost button on the navigation dial that adds low-end amplification to the 12-watt internal subwoofer. For music that's lacking a punchy response, the extra bass adds a tighter kick as opposed to an audible boom without overpowering the melodies.
We prefer the bass boost for hip-hop tracks, but rock and pop songs sound better without the extra kick. The speaker can also handle high volumes as long as you maintain an equable volume balance between the device and the volume knob, and we heard very little distortion, even at the highest volume.
If you don't mind the unfortunate audio degradation innate to all Bluetooth speakers, the SuperTooth Disco is a solid alternative to the classic three-piece computer speaker set. And at $150, it's priced cheaper than most Bluetooth speakers we've tested without sacrificing usability or style, and should make a good addition to your home or office entertainment.