After a few weeks of testing, we have determined that the NUBWO A9 is a good value, and the LENRUE A2 is a fair value among budget bluetooth speakers. In the budget price range, both the NUBWO and the LENRUE stand out for their sturdy metal construction, ease of use, and good battery life.
While neither of these speakers competes with a JBL or UE, they each have adequate sound quality. And considering the price tag, the audio is better than we had expected, especially for the NUBWO speaker.
Continue reading for a discussion of what we liked, didn’t like, and whether or not these speakers will fit your needs.
Both products are manufactured by Dongguan Loyfun Industrial Co. Ltd. The company has been around since 2010, and manufactures “2.0 digital speakers and Bluetooth speakers” in China. The LENRUE brand also sells laptop stands, headphones, and a gaming mouse. NUBWO specializes in gaming headsets and wireless headphones.
Looking at the controls, design, and packaging, you can tell that the two products are manufactured by the same company. The size, shape, and design are similar. Both have a light at the base, and the configuration of the buttons is identical. The jacks and accessories are identical as well.
Our testing revealed that the NUBWO A9 has noticeably higher sound quality than the LENRUE A2 We rate the NUBWO as fair sound quality, and the LENRUE as below average. But these ratings are price-blind. If we exclude premium speakers, and compare to other products in the budget speaker category, the NUBWO is above average and the LENRUE rates as average.
The NUBWO A9 portable speaker gets louder with its 5 watt speaker, versus the 3 watt speaker for the LENRUE. But, the NUBWO’s sound quality is poor at the high end of the volume range. In other words, if you crank the speaker to the max, it will be loud but distorted. The range of appropriate volume was small, because using the speaker at less than 50% volume was too quiet for most settings. So, the speaker only sounded decent with the volume in the 50% to 80% range. We cranked this speaker over 80 dB, but it sounded best in the 70 dB range.
The LENRUE A2 portable speaker didn’t get quite as loud (3w speaker vs 5w), but maintained its sound quality up to 90% of max volume. We found that the operating range on this product was wider, generally between 40% and 90% of max volume.
The NUBWO scored overall higher marks for audio. Sound quality was noticeably worse on the LENRUE. The LENRUE had a tinny sound that was jarring at high pitches. But it struggled even more with bass. Although the speaker did have a nice subwoofer bounce with bass, the audio was very empty.
The NUBWO audio can’t compete with premium Bluetooth speakers, but it is fair quality, especially considering the price of the product. It didn’t have the tinny sound at high pitches, and the bass sounded cleaner.
Both speakers have finicky buttons that interfere with use. The “change track” and “change volume” functions use the same buttons. Holding the button is supposed to increase volume, while tapping the button skips to the next track. With both speakers, these buttons were unreliable. We found ourselves advancing to the next track when we tried to increase volume, and vice versa. The problem didn’t occur every time. But the issue was frequent enough that we gave up on using the controls on the speaker, and instead made adjustments using the device that was connected to the speaker.
Both speakers had a slight static noise that was noticeable at lower volumes and with softer songs. This was more pronounced on the LENRUE, but didn’t significantly detract from listening on either device.
Sound quality winner: NUBWO
Both speakers have a sturdy aluminum alloy frame, which we will discuss in the next section.
The start-up process and bluetooth pairing are simple on both speakers. We had no issues pairing with any device, and the process was user-friendly.
The buttons are identical on both the LENRUE and the NUBWO speaker. The buttons are located on the bottom of the speaker, which is somewhat quirky but easy to get accustomed to.
Ignore the manufacturer’s info on product size and weight. Both products show conflicting information on their Amazon pages. The NUBWO is listed in one place as 3.0″ in height, and another place as 3.8″. The LENRUE is listed in one place as 2.7″ x 2.7″ x 1.8″, and later is listed as 2.5″ x 2.5″ x 1.9″. The accurate size and weight of both products is as follows:
- 3.2” (diameter) x 1.9” (height)
- ~ 8 oz.
- 2.8” (diameter) x 1.9” height)
- ~ 4 oz.
So, the NUBWO is just a little wider than the LENRUE, but about twice the weight. Regardless, both are lightweight and easily portable speakers.
Both speakers have a bright light at the base. Depending on personal preference, this may be a good or a bad thing.
Design winner: Tie
We didn’t subject the speakers to a crush test, but we were amazed by the strength and durability of the speakers. Both speakers are marketed as “metal speakers,” and have an aluminum alloy frame that seems too solid for the budget price.
Both products are made by the same company, and advertise a 2 year warranty. For the test models, our LENRUE came with a 2 year warranty card, while the NUBWO came with only a 1 year warranty card. Interestingly, the NUBWO warranty is offered and fulfilled by LENRUE customer service. So don’t make a buying decision based on one brand having better or worse customer support.
Our review didn’t test these products long enough to determine the longevity of either device. But users report that both the NUBWO and the LENRUE hold up fairly well over months of daily use. At this price point, we anticipate the useful life of each product to be 1-2 years at the maximum.
Durability winner: Tie
Power & Battery
Both products came fresh out of the box with 80%+ charge, and were ready for use immediately.
The NUBWO is powered by a 1,200 mAh battery, and claims an 8-10 hour playtime with a 4 hour charge time. The LENRUE is powered by a 1,000 mAh battery, and claims a 10 hour playtime with a 3 hour charge time.
In our field tests, we found a battery life similar to the ranges claimed by the manufacturer. However, as mentioned above, we have not tested these products long enough to determine how much this battery life changes after months/years of use.
Features & Function
The NUBWO A9 claims to have a bluetooth range of 30 feet, while the LENRUE claims a range of 33 feet. In our field tests, we saw ranges of 50-60+ for the NUBWO, and 55-65+ feet for the LENRUE in various conditions. Even in indoor conditions with walls, the range and connection quality was impressive. We were surprised to find that the marketing materials actually under-sold the bluetooth range of both products, by about half. Importantly, we were able to maintain a connection when walking through the house, even when the connected device was in a pocket. If you have ever used a bluetooth device with poor range, you know how frustrating it is to lose connection while you are still in close proximity to the speaker.
Neither speaker is waterproof to any degree, but they never claim to be.
The speakers have jacks for an aux and micro USB. The provided cord is short enough to cause some frustration.
Another similarity between the two products was a loud, somewhat obnoxious start-up and shut-down noise. This noise occurred at a high volume, even if the sound of the speaker or connected device was turned down low. Depending on the setting in which you plan to use the speaker, this could cause aggravation.
The NUBWO speaker advertises that you can connect multiple speakers for “stereo” sound, but these will not be true stereo speakers. In other words, there will be no right or left speaker, but just two speakers playing in unison. We did not use this feature, as we only tested one of each product. But based on the finicky controls, you should expect unreliable performance using multiple speakers in unison with one device.
Neither the NUBWO A9 nor the LENRUE A2 bluetooth speaker is a premium product that you will break out at parties or brag about to your friends. But, in the ultra-low price category, these are both fairly solid speakers. Given the choice between the NUBWO A9 and the LENRUE A2, we would confidently choose the NUBWO. If you want an affordable speaker for your office workstation, a child’s bedroom, we would recommend either of these products as long as you realize what you are getting — a cheap, easy-to-use bluetooth speaker with minimal features and decent sound quality.