Fender's new Bluetooth speakers look like amps - review

Roisin O'Connor
The Newport and Monterey speakers from Fender pack a decent punch: Fender/press image

My faithful old JBL portable bluetooth speaker just gave up the ghost (not by any fault of its own – more due to my being the clumsiest person in the universe) so I’d been keeping an eye out for something just as good or even better.

Fortunately Fender recently put out two new Bluetooth speakers that look as good as they sound: that classic logo is one of the most evocative around and if you don't play guitar you can at least pretend to be cool.

Fender’s design is obviously the first thing that catches the eye – both models are made to look like its classic ’68 Custom amp, with the retro grills, knobs for volume, treble and bass, and satisfyingly old-school ‘on-off’ switch.

The Newport is dinky compared to the Monterey but feels hefty, while its bigger brother - with its textured grill just like the guitar amp - has a slightly more appealing, authentic look.

The Newport could theoretically double as a charger if you're willing to lug it about with you, but Fender makes no attempt to pretend that the Monterey is anything other than a stay-at-home speaker.

While the Monterey is obviously the more powerful of the two, the Newport still packs a decent punch. Its bass is a lot better than I was expecting, and you can adjust that and the treble to fit your personal preference. It makes a cute guitar sound when you turn it on, and a different one when it pairs up with your phone.

The Monterey is made for the home – sound quality-wise it has a decent punch for the drums and bass guitar sounds well-textured. And it goes loud - practically up to 11.

Both the Monterey and the Newport have some way to go before they challenge the sound quality you'd get with a brand with a more established reputation for Bluetooth speakers, but for day-to-day quality and a novelty touch that'll look great in your home, they're superb.

Price for the Newport: £190

Monterey: £300

For more information and specs visit the Fender website.

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