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February 07, 2014

Samsung DA-F61 Portable Wireless Speaker Review

A year after its official debut , Samsung Philippines has brought their top-of-the-line wireless speaker called the DA-F61 to our shores. Check out our full review after the break.

Design and Construction

One of the things that we’re not used to see on some of Samsung’s consumer products, particularly on their smartphones, is the use of metal. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the DA-F61 as the speaker is almost entirely made of steel which gave it a nice elegant yet durable feel to it.

Samsung DA-F61

The speaker’s front panel is predominantly occupied by the speaker grill which hides the pair of 10-watt neodymium drivers and other inner workings from plain sight. There’s a small strip of metal on the right flank which houses six LED light indicators.

Five of these LED lights corresponds to three of the four buttons found on the right flank of the DA-F61 namely the Mute, Function and Bass Boost. The only other button not mentioned earlier is the Power button which sits at the bottom of the heap.

DA-F61

On the opposite pole, there’s a fairly large and free-wheeling dial that adjusts the volume. By default, the knob is pushed inside so it’s not sticking out of the speaker, but it can be popped out to easily adjust the sound intensity.

Over to the back side, there are a trio of ports for charging, USB and audio out. Unfortunately, the USB port is only intended to supply power to the audio source (smartphone, PMP, etc.) and it doesn’t support flash storage.

DA-F61

Lastly, there’s a detachable magnetic cover that’s latched at the DA-F61’s underbelly. This cover is a nice addition to the speaker’s repertoire as it protects the front panel from being scratched and prevents dust from getting inside the speaker grills’ crevices.

Wireless connectivity

Just like other wireless speakers, the Samsung DA-F61 is also equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and NFC which allows user to wirelessly stream contents to it. However, what sets this bad boy apart from most Bluetooth speakers is the additional technologies that its BT chip supports.

We’re talking about the SBC (Subband Coding) and aptX . These two codecs allows the DA-F61 to produce better sound quality, especially when paired with an audio source with Bluetooth A2DP like the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Sound Performance

But even without these fancy Bluetooth technologies, the DA-F61 is still one of the best sounding portable speakers in the business to date. In our opinion, the aptX and SBC support are only there to further sweeten the deal, but at the end of the day it’ll still boil down to the drivers.

And let me tell you up front, the DA-F61 has some serious fire power underneath its classy chassis.

Samsung DA-F61 wireless speaker

The moment we fired up the speaker, the first we noticed was the unadulterated bass that’s coming out of it, the kind that one wouldn’t normally expect from a portable speaker of this size.

But it’s not just the richness of the bass that impressed us; it’s how the DA-F61 was able to blend its powerful bass with a near-flawless treble which results to balanced sound output.

(24 hours of burn-in was done prior to the actual test)
Device: Samsung Galaxy S4 (i9500)
Volume: 100%
Equalizer: Off
File format: Combination of MP3 and WMA
Track bitrate: 256Kbps and above
Tracks:
• Little Respect – Wheatus (Good)
• Not Done Yet – SOJA (Good)
• Poorman’s Grave – Eraserheads (Best)
• What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Best)
• Prom – Sugarfree (Best)
• You Rock My World – Michael Jackson (Best)
• Mockingbird – Eminem (Best)
• Therapy – India Arie (Good)
• Aerials – System of a Down (Good)
• Happy –Squareheads (Best)

In addition to its superb sound reproduction, we also noticed that the speaker has a relatively wide soundstage and it was able to pick up some of the faint sounds on some of the songs we played on it.

By and large, the DA-F61’s bass output is more than enough to satisfy one’s cravings for rumbling bass lines. However, should you feel the need to have deeper and more pronounced lows, you’re just one button away from doing it by pressing the Bass Boost which sits in between the Power and Function keys.

Battery life

Samsung claims that DA-F61 battery can last up for up 12 hours of continuous playback before it asks for its proprietary charger. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to exactly time how long the speakers last on a single full charge, but our mileage-per-charge was definitely well more than what was advertised.

Samsung Bluetooth Speaker

To put it in perspective, in the span of three weeks that we’ve spent with the DA-F61, we only charged it a total of five times. Our average daily use falls somewhere between 4-5 hours with the volume set to around the 20-40% mark and we’re connected to it via Bluetooth.

Of course, your mileage will vary depending on the volume, whether you use the bass boost and how you’re streaming your contents to the speaker (wired or wirelessly). But regardless of usage type, the DA-F61 should be a perfect companion for your outdoor trips, provided that you’re willing to add an extra kilo to your luggage.

Conclusion

The Samsung DA-F61 Bluetooth Speaker is the total package. Nuff said. It’s got superb sound output to match its outstanding design and build. That said, it’s no longer a question of whether or not you should get it, but rather can you stomach shelling out ten grand for this speaker?

Samsung DA-F61 speaker

In all honesty, the DA-F61’s Php9,990 price tag puts it at a slight disadvantage against cheaper but clunky wireless speakers without NFC and fancy aptX codec. However, if your budget allows it, we think that the Samsung DA-F61 should be worth your every dime.

What we liked about it:
* Premium look and build
* Superior sound output
* NFC and aptX support
* Relatively loud with well-pronounced bass output

What we didn’t like about it:
* Proprietary charger
* Exterior is prone to sratches
* No USB Flash Drive support
* Highs are bit recessed

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29 Responses to “Samsung DA-F61 Portable Wireless Speaker Review”

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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