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Portable speakers have been gaining a lot of traction lately. Just recently, creative lifestyle brand, Native Union, entered the Philippine market, and introduced its most popular accessory, Monocle.

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Monocle is a 3-in-1 speaker. When connected to a smartphone or any device with 3.5mm input, it can act as a speaker, handset and speakerphone.

Check out a short video introduction of what it is in just a less than 2-minutes. Trust me, the video says it all.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/78790313[/vimeo]

Check out our unboxing photos to give you an idea what to expect inside the retail box:

Design

Monocle has a quite unconventional design. Off the bat, it looks like a “biggified” single earphone. Its volume control wheel can easily be gripped because of its rubbery texture. I am particularly impressed with Native Union to design the speaker with such texture in mind because it simply exudes a non-“plasticky” feel and cheap build.

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As for its speaker grill, my brushed copper Monocle matches the color of its top cover – this simply exudes a very premium feel and well-thought-out design.

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The device has 2 ports (for 3.5mm AUX and micro-USB charging port) and 1 switch, which are conveniently located just below the volume control wheel. Its well-cushioned speakers are designed to serve 2 purposes: as a headphone when the speaker is off and as a speaker/loudspeaker when it is on. I find this a very commendable multi-purpose design.

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Its ultra resistant nylon reinforced cable cord has a retro vibe and also gives an impression that it’s made to last. You can find its full duplex enabled microphone on the cable. Native Union also included a 3.55 mm loop so you can easily hang it to your bag.

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Monocle 30

You can choose up to six colors: Colar Red, Marine Blue, Mint, Slate, Brushed Black Diamond and Brushed Copper. The last 2 colors are special ones and are priced a little higher than the rest.

Function

It’s more than just a headphone. Such summation of function is good enough to help me decide to buy this device. Its multiple and yet very useful functions are also enough for me to give Monocle two-thumbs up.

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As a matter of fact, you can actually attach another Monocle to it to extend its sound. If you’re on for an all-night-long party, you can daisy-chain up to 10 Monocles. That is if you can or if you want to buy 9 more speakers!

As mentioned earlier, you may use this device as a headphone for you take calls and privately listed to your music tracks. I tested this using our iPhone 5s and I’m astounded with the clarity of the voice of my wife on the other line. My wife couldn’t believe as well that I spoke to her through the Monocle’s microphone. Ending and receiving calls are also a breeze on this accessory thru its multi-purpose switch.

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Verdict

Native Union Monocle is a simple and compact multi-function speaker that delighted me. Simply put: Monocle is a visual and functional spectacle.Its visually appealing design and ingenious features make it as one of top accessories on my list this 1st quarter of 2014. While it’s packed with features that are set to wow its user, it lacks a bluetooth function and detachable cable. Such features can address the ever-growing demand for multi-purpose bluetooth portable speakers. Nevertheless, Monocle is still a very good buy for PhP2,250 or PhP2,750 (for the special variants).

Availability

This portable speaker is now available at the following stores:

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Author

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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