There are lots of smart speakers on the market. In China, the ones offered by TMall are quite popular and during a recent trip to Shanghai, our family got one as a gift from a relative. I had a look and at that time this model sold for RMB 89, approximately £10 / €11 / $12.
According to the box it supports Bluetooth and is dts ‘certified’. I am not sure whether that means that the speaker has to fulfil certain minimum requirements regarding sound quality or whether it just means that it can play certain sound formats.
The speaker itself is very small and, considering it’s small size and low price, it sounds great.
There are however a few drawbacks if you want to use this speaker, even if it’s only as a Bluetooth speaker.
- It (currently) only understand Mandarin – no other Chinese dialects and no other languages.
- You need to install the TMall app on your phone to install it, you then need a TMall account, too. They do want you to be bound to their eco-system.
- You need to ask the speaker to pair with a Bluetooth device in Mandarin. There’s currently no button combination that lets you go into pairing mode.
I set up a guest network in my Wifi router. I wasn’t too keen on Tianmao (‘Sky Cat’) seeing my other network devices.