If Nokia's MD-7W Bluetooth speakers are the Rolls Royce of cell phone accessories, then the company's MD-6 Mini-Speakers are the Nissan. Sure, they're reliable and easy to use, but you wouldn't want to take them to the prom. But even if they're not particularly flashy, the MD-6 speakers deliver decent sound quality for their portable size and affordable $79.95 price tag.
You wouldn't be alone if you thought the MD-6 speakers resembled an oversized lipstick case. Indeed, many people made such a comparison when the speakers were laying around the CNET offices. At 4.8 by 1.3 by 1.3 inches, the bar-shaped speakers are small enough to slide into a bag or a large pocket. Also, as they weigh just 4.9 ounces (with the batteries), they're relatively light for their size. And for even easier portability, Nokia includes a carrying bag in the box.
The speakers are clad in a black plastic skin with red caps at either end. The only other exterior features are a tiny light and a sliding button that pushes out one end of the bar to expose the phone connection cord. The cord stretches a generous 2.3 feet, but it wraps up neatly; just the end is left dangling outside the case
To expose the speakers just flip open the opposite end of MD-6. Doing so activates the power automatically, so there's no need for any other controls or buttons. Though we liked the simplicity of the design, the hinge didn't click into place in the open or closed positions. As such, be careful that the MD-6 speakers don't flip open accidently when you're on the go. Otherwise, you'll just waste the battery. Setup is completely painless. All you need to do is connect the cord to your phone's headset port. The MD-6 speakers feature a 3.5mm jack, but Nokia includes a handy adapter for connecting to 2.5mm ports.
We tested the MD-6 speakers on a Nokia Xpress Music 5300 and a Creative Zen Vision:M. Sound quality was very respectable on the whole. Though it didn't match the audio from Sony Ericsson's MPS-70 speakers, it was better than we expected. Our music was quite sharp and clear, and like the Nokia MD-7W speakers, it didn't sound too tinny.
You can adjust the volume only on the phone or MP3 player; there are no controls on the speakers. That's a disappointment, but it's one we can get over. The output of the speakers was more worrisome. Though the volume can get pretty loud, there's a lot of static at the higher levels. As such, the MD-6 speakers are best suited for times when you're not overly picky about how your tunes sound.
The speakers run off four AAA batteries. We'd prefer that the speakers were powered from the phone instead, but Nokia insists batteries should last for a solid 27 hours.