The GGMM E3 Wi-Fi speaker was kindly provided to me by GGMM GmbH free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The GGMM E3 (Pearl white) is available in the UK from GGMM GmbH Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £89.99 with free P&P (it’s also available in Blue and Grey at the same price). In the US the GGMM E3 (Pearl white) is available from GGMM Inc Fulfilled by Amazon at a cost of $84.99 with free P&P, it is also available in Blue or Grey with the latter being slightly more expensive at $89.99 (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The GGMM E3 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Airplay Speaker is supplied within a rectangular double corrugated brown warehouse style box, simply bearing GGMM branding and some basic contents information such as package size, weight, speaker model number and colour.
Opening this up we find a much thinner retail style cardboard box bearing product images on all sides and some additional product bumpf, although no specification information on the front and rear. Inside the GGMM E3 speaker is wrapped in a single layer thin foam bag and is also held in place and protected by large cellular foam inserts in the top and bottom of the box.
Alongside the speaker is also a small thin white cardboard box that contains the following accessories…
- A Manual, illustrated and in English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and I think also Russian, Chinese and Japanese.
- A warranty card.
- A reasonable quality (for a bundled cable) 3.5mm male jack to male jack audio cable.
- A travel style mains adaptor with interchangeable UK, EU and US plugs. The adaptor is a model FJ-SW120200N rated at 100-240V, 50/60Hz, 0.6A input.
The GGMM E3 speaker measures 20.75cm wide, 12.3cm deep and 12.5cm high and it weighs 1224g.
The power brick measures 7.6cm high, 4.9cm wide and 4.5cm deep. (not including the plug pins). Protruding from the top of the brick is a hardwired cable measuring 114cm long with a connector that plugs directly into the rear of the speaker.
The supplied 3.5mm jack to jack cable measures 75cm long (excluding connectors) and the cable measures 3mm in diameter. The connector housing is ABS plastic measuring 7.09mm in diameter, 18mm in length and additionally has a 6.35mm length of cable reinforcement.
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Aux in
Output power: 10w
Driver unit: 2x 2.5″ full-range speakers + 2x 3″ passive radiators
Speaker Impedance: 4 ohm
Frequency response: 70Hz – 20kHz
Power input: 12v, 2A
Power output: 5v, 2.1A
Bluetooth version: V4
Wi-Fi standard: 802.11 b/g/n
Audio decoder format: MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, M4A, AIFF, Apple Lossless FLAC, APE
Audio streaming technology: AirPlay for iOS and Mac OS X and DLNA for Android
System requirements: iOS 6.1 or above, Android 2.3 or above
The GGMM E3 speaker is a mains only powered speaker, it does not contain a battery and it cannot be powered via USB. The E3 also not a weather or waterproof speaker and it should only be used outdoors when it is dry and away from water sources such as pools, ponds or hoses.
BUILD & QUALITY.
The front of the GGMM E3 speaker is covered with an off white plastic panel with an eggshell like finish, this panel is U shaped and covers the front as well as part of the top and underside of the speaker. The top and bottom sections of the speaker covered with this panel are plain and devoid of feature, but the entire front section of the speaker is covered with perforated holes.
There are a total of 20 rows of 36 holes each measuring 3.2mm in diameter, through which the 2.5″ speakers can just about be seen located near the bottom edge with the majority of the holes actually being blocked by a black panel from behind.
Located in the top right corner of speaker grille is a rectangular section of much smaller holes measuring 63.5mm x 22mm which forms an LED display. I will confess that given the actual display is recessed behind the grille and given the size of the holes for the LED’s I suspected the viewing angle would be rather poor, but the fact of the matter is the green LED’s used in the display are reasonably visible regardless if in a dark or well lit room or whether standing in front of above the speaker.
As for the actual function of this display, this I will cover this in depth within the section of my review covering the GGMM E3 speaker controls.
The rear of the speaker is covered with a matching U shaped panel that unlike the front section does not sport any perforations and is with the exception of a small cluster of ports and buttons in the bottom left entirely smooth and without feature.
In the far bottom left is a USB A, 2.1A output (for charging devices through the speaker), to the far left is the AC power input port and between the two is a 3.5mm Aux in port (for connecting tablets, phones, PC’s or MP3 players). Above these ports are four 8mm diameter black buttons with the far left button marked with a Wi-Fi signal symbol, the button to the right being marked with the symbol of a clock, the next being marked with an alarm clock symbol and the final button on the far right being marked with a light bulb symbol.
Sadly, these symbols are rather hard to see short of holding them under a light source and the noted symbols found on each are as equally hard to detect by touch. There is some wobble that is largely restricted due to the size of the holes the buttons protrude through which are not much larger than the buttons themselves. The only praise being that the buttons are tactile in that they require a decent amount of force to push and there is an audible slick when the actuation point is hit.
Like the front display, these controls will be described in depth within the following section of my review covering all of the GGMM E3 speaker controls in the next chapter.
On the underside of the speaker the front and rear U shaped panels meet with a clearly visible seam between the two. Also found is a small serial number barcode sticker, a much larger sticker bearing product information as well as the speakers Wi-Fi SSID and password and a pair of non slip pads.
These pads are slightly raised with each measuring 19mm wide and 75mm long. The pads are grey in colour being made from rubberized silicone which serve to protect any surface the speaker is placed from any scratching and also to prevent unintended movement of the speaker, something they do well (if you push the speaker it is more likely to topple than it is to move).
On both the left and right side of the speaker we find matching dark grey end panels fitted to speaker each using 4 star head bolts. These panels sport a 13mm wide raised frame around the edge and have a centralised perforated grille in the centre made up of 16 x 16 holes measuring 2.7mm in diameter.
Peering through these holes we find the speakers 3″ passive radiators which appear to be partially blocked by the end panels and I can’t help but think they would likely benefit if the grille were one additional hole larger on all sides. Given the entirety of the front of the speaker is covered with holes and that there is easily ample room for two or even three additional rows of holes on the end panels I am rather curious as to why they made the side grilles as small as they did.
Finally, we come to the top of the speaker. Unlike the underside the U shaped front and rear panels do not meet, instead there is a separate 20mm wide panel located between the two that appears to be aluminium that is black in colour with a satin brushed effect finish.
On the far left this panel sports GGMM E3 branding in white lettering and to the far right, we find a series of buttons with a far more premium fit and finish to those found on the rear of the speaker. The first button on the far left is marked with a white heart, the button to the right of this is marked with a universal play and pause symbol as well as a heart with a white outline.
The 3rd button along is marked with a fast forward symbol and the fourth and fifth buttons are conjoined being marked with volume up and down symbols. The final button on the far right has a small LED indicator light just above it and the button itself is marked with a universal power symbol and also the letter M.
The conjoined volume up and down button which is rectangular measures 26mm wide and the remaining buttons are all round measuring 10.8mm in diameter. These buttons as noted, feel far superior in quality to those found on the rear with no noticeable wobble, clearly marked symbols and a nice clicky tactile feedback upon actuation.
Starting with the buttons on the top of the speaker…
The button marked with a white heart symbol. The manual advises this to be button 1 with a function of… “Favourite Channel 1-6”, curiously the only additional information provided within the manual is this… “The speaker can play channel 1 – 6 without cell phone control after connected to the internet. It will play the last channel re-connecting internet” and that’s it.
What this button actually does is allow you to play tracks or radio stations that you have previously added to favourites (bookmarked), exact instructions on how to add favourites will be covered very shortly. If these favourites that you have added are songs or radio stations streamed from the internet as long as the GGMM E3 is connected to your router it is possible to stream and play these stations or tracks using this button even if your mobile device configured with the E series App is switched off.
It should also be noted that should you switch the speaker off when it is not in use and it is switched back on and allowed to automatically connect to your router it will instantly begin playing the last played favourite before it was switched off, which even after this happened for the 20th time has caught me off guard. Just be aware that when you switch the speaker on the default volume level is 10 of 18 which in the early hours sounds loud enough to wake the dead.
The button marked with a universal play and pause symbol as well as a heart with a white outline. The manual advises this to be button 2 with a function of… “Short press for play or pause of long press for collecting favourite”. Tapping this button at any time will pause or resume music playback, whether you are streaming music from your portable device or from the internet. When streaming from a radio station, it effectively mutes playback rather than actually pausing it.
As for the “long press for collecting favourite” when a track is being streamed from your device or the web or you are streaming a radio station if you hold this button down it will add it as a favourite. Sadly, exactly how long it needs holding down for is a total unknown as there is absolutely no feedback or notification once a track or station has been added to favourites. All I can advise is when holding the button down and counting to 10 the track or station was added to favourites.
The GGMM E3 speakers favourites feature should not be confused with the Apps favourite feature. It is possible to add tracks or stations to favourites in the App but all this does is add them to a separate folder for easier access later on (something that will be described shortly), sadly it is not possible to add, edit or remove favourites stored by the GGMM E3 via the App.
You should also note that the GGMM E3 is only capable of storing 6 favourites and should you add a 7th the first added will be removed. As such, should you wish to add a favourite with 6 already stored and you want to remove say the 3rd previous favourites you will have to add the 1st and 2nd again followed by the new (7th) favourite to add the new and retain all previous favourites.
The button marked with a universal fast forward symbol. The manual advises this to be button 3 with a function of “Next”. If playing tracks from your mobile device tapping this button will skip to the next song on the playlist or album and in Tunein radio it does nothing. Sadly, there is only a skip forwards button on the GGMM E3 and there is no play previous button.
The button marked with a universal volume down symbol. The manual advises this to be button 4 with a function of… “Volume down, turn down alarm or clock”. This button is conjoined with the volume up button which can be tapped or held down to turn the volume of the speaker down and when changing the clock or alarm settings the button is also used to adjust the time setting.
The button marked with a universal volume up symbol. The manual advises this to be button 5 with a function of… “Volume up, turn up alarm or clock”. This button is conjoined with the volume down button which can be tapped or held down to turn the volume of the speaker up and when changing the clock or alarm settings the button is also used to adjust the time setting.
By default, when the speaker is switched on the volume is set to volume level 10 (which is slightly above what I would consider normal TV viewing volume in a 5m x 5m room) with the maximum level being 18.
The button marked with a universal power symbol and the letter M. The manual advises this to be button 6 with a function of… “Press switch mode, hold power on/off”. By default, when the GGMM E3 speaker is switched on at the wall the speaker itself powers on and enters Wi-Fi mode, connecting to your router if previously configured or just sitting waiting for a wireless connection if not.
Tapping this button will filter through the three available playback modes of Wireless, Bluetooth and Aux in and holding the button down for 3 or 4 seconds will turn the speaker on or off. When the speaker it switched off, the clock and alarm functions still remain active, although it is possible to further disable the clock as well by pressing the button on the rear of the speaker bearing a light bulb symbol and even then the alarm will still remain active… if set.
The light above the power button. The indicator light above the power button on the GGMM E3 speaker shows which mode the speaker is currently in and also the status of the speaker. When the light is solid green, Aux in mode has been selected. When the light is white and flashing, Bluetooth is enabled and awaiting connection, once it turns solid white a Bluetooth connection has been established. When the light is flashing blue the speaker is in Wi-Fi mode and is awaiting connection, once the light turns solid blue a Wi-Fi connection has been established.
The buttons on the rear of the speaker…
The button marked with a Wi-Fi signal symbol. The manual advises this to be button 8 (the status light is marked as 7 in the manual) with a function of “Wi-Fi connection button, short press to connect internet, long press 5 seconds to factory reset”. This will likely be the least used button of all as it only requires tapping once the first time the speaker is set up with the GGMM E series App and holding it down for 5 seconds will wipe any and all stored information on the speaker such as favourites and router information.
The button marked with the symbol of a clock. The manual advises this to be button 9 with a function of “Clock setting”. This button is used to set the time of the 24 hour clock on the front LED display. When the button is pressed the hour indexer on the clock begins to flash and is ready to be adjusted. The volume up and down buttons are used to change the time and once the correct hour has been set pressing the clock setting button once more allows for adjustment of the minutes and a final press of the clock setting button will save the input time.
It should be noted that while changing the time of the clock if there are no button presses on the speaker within 6 seconds at any time it will exit the clock setting mode and you will have to press the button once more and start from the beginning.
The GGMM E3 speaker is quite clearly designed to be left switched on and not switched off when not in use like a battery powered portable speaker. The reason for this is while the speaker is capable of retaining the time set, it is only capable of doing so for 36 hours, after which time when it is switched on again the clock will reset to 0:00. Why on earth a large backup battery wasn’t used capable of at least retaining the time for a week is as curious as it is disappointing.
The button marked with the symbol of an alarm clock. The manual advises this to be button 10 with a function of “Alarm setting”. This button is used for setting the alarm clock, pressing this button once and the front display briefly flashes “OFF” and the alarm clock is disabled. To enable and set the alarm clock in the 6 seconds that “OFF” flashes on the front display, press the alarm setting button once more and the display will change to show “0:00”.
Using the volume up and down buttons in the same manner they were used to set the time on the clock, set the time you would like the alarm to go off. Once the hour has been set press the alarm set button a second time and then set the minutes. Once you have set the exact time you would like the alarm to go off, do nothing (don’t press the alarm set button) and after 8 seconds the clock will once again be displayed on the front of the speaker and the alarm will be active.
If you accidentally press the alarm set button once more after the alarm time has been set, the time will be saved, but the alarm will be set to off, as indicated by the front display flashing “OFF”. Should you accidentally do this just press the alarm setting button while “OFF” is flashing and the display will again show the time the alarm is set, and it will be enabled.
The alarm itself is a bell / chime melody that plays starting at the volume which the speaker is set at becoming rather quickly much louder so much so that it presents the risk of not only waking everyone in the same room but also possibly those in adjoining rooms as well.
When the alarm goes off simply tap the power button to disable the alarm (sadly there is no snooze function), doing this will leave the alarm enabled and it will go off once again the next day. If you do not want the alarm to go off again the next day just tap the alarm setting button on the rear and the front display will flash “OFF” and the alarm will be disabled.
Now during the week or so that I was writing this review I also read through three or four other reviews on the web for the GGMM E3, something I often do to ensure that I have not missed any points or features or indeed made any mistakes. During this research I noticed on a review by SoundGuys that stated “The free app also lets you customize it so that instead of an annoying buzzer, the alarm will be your favourite playlist”.
I found this statement odd as not only could I find not such setting in the App but the alarm was far from an “annoying buzzer”. Despite this I spent several hours tinkering App and also the speaker, resulting in nothing more than several people getting rather annoyed with me due to the sheer number of times that I was triggering the alarm in a bid to discover how to set a track or radio station as the alarm.
In the end having wasted some 2+ hours and upsetting a few people along the way I have come to the same conclusion as Jarvis at GearOpen or Stu at NewAtlas… the same review on two different sites, so not sure what the deal is there, but I do agree with the following statement evident on both reviews…
“There’s also an alarm function, the noise of which is relatively inoffensive and melodic, but that can’t be set to play any of the user’s saved presets; that seems like a missed opportunity.”
The button marked with the symbol of a light bulb. The manual advises this to be button 11 with a function of “Display clock on or off”. When the speaker is plugged in and switched on the front display by default shows the currently set time. Pressing this button will disable the front display as well as the clock and alarm setting buttons, thankfully however it does not disable the alarm. If the front display is disabled when the alarm is due to go off it will still go off and the front display will be enabled automatically (and remain active) when the alarm goes off.
To use the GGMM E3 speaker with a wired connection first connect the device you wish to play audio from be it your MP3, phone, tablet or PC to the speaker with a 3.5mm cable. Then switch the speaker on at the wall and tap the power / mode button twice and the status light just above will light up a constant solid green to confirm Aux in mode selected. Unlike the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modes of the E3 there is no audio notification when this mode is enabled or the cable connected only the green light to advises the current mode.
Please note that the speaker volume is affected by the volume settings of the device that is connected. Either turn the speaker to max and control the volume from your device or vice versa.
To connect to the GGMM E3 speaker via Bluetooth, switch the speaker on and wait for the LED indicator light above the power / mode button to start flashing blue. Then press the power / mode button once and the indicator light will change to flashing white with a 4 chime melody playing from the speaker.
Next enable Bluetooth on the device you wish to connect the GGMM E3 speaker with and on the available devices list you should see “GGMM_E3”, if not refresh or rescan so that it does and then select it. Within 10 to 15 seconds the speaker will show as connected to your device and a double beep will play from the speaker to confirm connection.
Once connected via Bluetooth, unlike connecting via Wi-Fi using the GGMM E series App all audio from your mobile device is routed through the speaker. As with a wired connection the speaker volume is affected by the volume settings of the device that is connected and so either turn the speaker to max and control the volume from your device or vice versa.
When connecting to the speaker using Wi-Fi both the speaker and your mobile device connect to your router and the operational range is dictated by that of your router and the Wi-Fi adaptor of your mobile device. When connecting to the speaker via Bluetooth the connection is direct between the speaker and your mobile device.
The results of some personal testing indicate that indoors with a direct line of sight the connection is stable up to 10m and outdoors 12m to 13m. Through two stud walls and a solid pine door range is reduced to around 8m and through a double thick brick wall and an inch or so of plaster as well as a kitchen cabinet range is reduced to about 1.5m.
WIRELESS: MOBILE DEVICES.
The primary use of the GGMM E3 speaker over Wi-Fi requires the installation of the GGMM E series App from either the Play store that requires Android 4.0.3 or from the iTunes store requiring iOS 7. Thankfully the Android version at least works with both tablets and smartphones having tested on both an old Note 10.1″ 2012 and a Moto G 2nd Gen.
Once the App is installed a screen was displayed showing my Wi-Fi SSID and it asked for a router password input (I assume that it presumed this was my router likely due to the fact my device was already connected to it). Once the router password had been input, it then asks you to press the Wi-Fi button on the rear of the speaker which produces a vocal prompt from the speaker saying “Setting for Wi-Fi”.
The App then requests that you press next once this prompt has played, which then produces a second vocal prompt from the speaker saying “Waiting for connection” shortly followed by a third vocal prompt saying “Router connected” the App then advised that connection was successful and once again requiring you to press the next button one final time.
The speaker is now connected to your wireless network and configured for use with the App. Subsequently, when either the mobile device or the speaker have been switched off and back on again the speaker will automatically reconnect when switched on as will the App when loaded.
The first time the App is used, it asks you to assign a name to the speaker that has been setup. Here you have to option to select from a list of presets or you can input a name for it manually.
The following screen after this is the default screen that shows each time the App is loaded, which presents you with a list of GGMM E series speakers configured on your network. From here you can add additional speakers to your setup using the “+” button in the top right, adjust the volume level for each speaker configured on the network independently, reconfigure the names of the speakers, select the speaker you wish to play music through or play music through all of the speakers currently switched on and connected.
One of the more interesting settings on this screen is the ability to set individual left or right channels to separate speakers, a function that would allow you to create a surround sound system with a centre speaker outputting left and right and 4 other separate speakers providing front left and right and rear left and right channels, this however is far from advised given that far better solutions given the cost of doing this.
Once you have selected which speaker(s) you would like to use you are then presented with a list of available streaming options.
By default the list is as follows…
Search: This opens a simple search bar that allows you to search for music on your device (or any connected storage medium, such as a memory card) either by song, artist or album).
Favourites: When you are playing music located on your mobile device through the App it allows you to add songs as favourites (a black heart with a white outline is found in the bottom left corner of the playback screen that changes to white when it has been added as a favourite). Any songs marked as favourites will appear here, sadly it is not possible to add albums as favourites only individual tracks.
My Music: This option has four sub options of…
- Phone: This lists all of the songs currently on your mobile device as well as those found on attached storage medium (such as a memory card), entering this menu allows you to browse the music on your device in alphabetical order either listed by song name, artist name, album name or folder name. (With some 5500+ songs on a memory card installed in my device the first time this option was used, it took nearly 2 minutes to load with each subsequent time taking about 20 to 30 seconds for my songs to appear).
- Home music share: This is to access music on another device connected to your network that has been configured as a DLNA server such as a network attached storage device.
- My playlists: This option allows you to create, edit and delete playlists as well as to access those created for playback.
- Recently played: This simply lists the most recently played songs.
TuneIn: This option has sub menus or my station, local radio, music, talk, sports, by location, by language and podcasts. Simply browse through the stations or use the search feature in the top right to find the station you desire and shortly after selecting the station a live stream will begin playing. As for “my station” this simply lists the stations that you have favourited (which are added in the same manner that songs on your device are favourited).
iHeartRadio: This simply displays a sign in / sign up page and when I try to sign up a message displays saying “user country is not supported”, clearly the use of a proxy is required if you wish to make use of this if you are outside the USA.
Spotify: When this is selected, you are prompted to install the Spotify App if it is not already installed on your device, with the Android version of the GGMM E series App if you agree to install the App it automatically takes you to the Spotify download page on the Play store. Once installed it asks you to sign in or sign up (which can be done through the App) and eventually once signed in the Spotify App is fully functional and integrated with the GGMM E series App.
Unfortunately, if you want to stream music from Spotify through the GGMM E3 speaker you will require a premium Spotify account as without it the audio stream from Spotify will only play through the onboard speakers of your mobile device and not the GGMM E3 speaker. As such those without such a premium account will be limited to using the E3 speaker with either Bluetooth or wired connections.
Tidal: When this option is selected it simply presents you with an option to sign in, there is no means to create an account. To do this you will have to connect to the Tidal website and create an account, something I have no intention of doing just to test its functionality as this is a subscription based service that even charges you if you sign up for a trial.
Edit music services: Selecting this option brings up a list of all compatible plugins for the GGMM E series App with a simple toggle switch next to each one that when enabled makes the plugin accessible from the main screen. Those enabled by default are… Tunein, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and Tidal which I have just noted and described.
Those which are available but disabled by default are as follows….
- TTPOD: The App bumpf describes this as “One of the most successful and popular music players for Android with more than 10 million downloads worldwide”, I’ll have to take their word for it as anything I try to play simply states “no songs”, I can only assume this is region locked.
- DOUBAN FM: This is a Chinese music service that again appears region locked as it will not allow me to create an account.
- XIMALAYA: Another Chinese music streaming service, this one does not require a sign up and does work in the UK it is however entirely in Chinese.
- QINGTING FM: This plugin is a Chinese equivalent of Tunein, it’s entirely in Chinese and the stations are Chinese, but it at least works.
- QQ Music: When this is opened a message states “find no QQ Music Download?” and like the Spotify notification if it is not installed the QQ Music warning takes you to the Play store to download the App and while the App itself installs this is another option that appears to be region locked.
It should be noted that those enabled and disabled may well vary depending on the country that your speaker is purchased from, with my example it was ordered in the UK and shipped to the UK. Curiously, despite the Amazon product listing for the GGMM E3 stating that the speaker supports Pandora, it very clearly does not and this would appear to be the source of most of the negative reviews for the App on the Play store. Reading through the reviews it seems that the App did support Pandora at some point, but an update to the App during the summer of 2016 removed it for some reason.
Settings: This simply displays the current version of the GGMM E series App.
Sadly, at the present time my old Buffalo wireless G router once relegated as an access point in our summer house has once again had to take up the role of my main router. The reason being that Netgear have still not yet got around to fixing “security issue #582384″ which means that my main AC router is currently sat gathering dust.
As such the following testing is perhaps not entirely accurate for those with access to wireless N or AC class routers, as the GGMM E3 speaker supports wireless N protocols.
To test the signal strength of the speaker all routers and access points were turned off throughout the house, the speaker was placed in the middle of our house on the ground floor with Wi-Fi enabled and I proceeded to walk around the house with a windows 8.1 laptop to view the signal strength from the speaker in various locations and through various obstacles.
Sat next to the laptop at a distance of less than 1 meter the signal was 5 bars.
At a distance of 5m through either two brick non cavity walls and some plaster and a kitchen cabinet as the crow flies or indirectly though two double glazed windows the signal was 4 bars.
At a distance of just under 10m through a double glazed window and a double brick cavity wall as the crow flies the signal was 2 bars. I am glad to report that even with my laptop sporting an AC wireless adaptor my Note 10.1” with only an N class adaptor at the same location as the laptop was still able to stream seamlessly to the speaker.
Finally the greatest unobstructed distance I could test was 9 meters between the speaker and the laptop at which distance the signal was 4 bars, infrequently and very briefly dropping to 3 bars.
It should be noted that both the speaker and your mobile device connect directly to the router and not each other and the above testing only showed the speaker signal strength as detected by a laptop with a Wireless AC adaptor. As such the total distance between the mobile device and the speaker can be as much as 25m as long as both devices remains within about 10m to 15m of the router (depending on obstruction and bear in mind we are talking about a G class router) then the signal strength should be ample to remain in control of the speaker.
This is a chapter that could easily spill into a 10 page missive bordering on plagiarism. As such, it is something that is going to require some effort on the part of the reader as I am largely only going to offer you some links to read which should aid you with creating a DLNA server to stream your music to the GGMM E3 speaker. (Cheap HP micro severs or NAS boxes make for excellent DLNA servers to stream both movies and music to network attached TV’s, tablets and smart phones and yes, speakers or sound systems).
USB 2.1A CHARGING OUTPUT TESTING.
The following testing was conducted using a Drok USB multimeter to obtain readings from the USB A, 2.1A charging port on the rear of the GGMM E3 speaker…
The first device up for charge was a Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen, during this test the phone was switched on with Wi-Fi enabled and at the start the battery had a charge of 65%. While charging the screen was disabled, although it was occasionally enabled to obtain a current battery charge level.
- Initial readings from the Drok multimeter were 5.17v, 5.221w, 0.99A.
- After 24 minutes the readings were 5.19v, 4.255w, 0.86A with 375mAh having been charged and the phone indicated a charge of 82%.
- After 48 minutes the readings were 5.21v, 1.667w, 0.32A with 586mAh having been charged and the phone indicated a charge of 92%
- After 1 hour and 5 minutes the readings were 5.22v, 1.044w, 0.20A with 657mAh having been charged and the phone indicated a charge of 96%, the test had to be stopped at this point due to interruption.
The second device up for charge was a Samsung Note 10.1″ 2012 tablet, during this test the tablet was switched on with Wi-Fi enabled and at the start the battery had a charge of 79%. While charging the screen was disabled, although it was occasionally enabled to obtain a current battery charge level.
- Initial readings from the Drok multimeter were 5.17v, 4.911w, 0.96A.
- After 13 minutes the readings were 5.18v, 4.921w, 0.92A with 210mAh having been charged and the tablet indicated a charge of 82%.
- After 41 minutes the readings were 5.19v, 4.195w, 0.83A with 624mAh having been charged and the tablet indicated a charge of 88%.
- After 1 hour and 5 minutes the readings were 5.19v, 3.114w, 0.74A with 944mAh having been charged and the tablet indicated a charge of 93%, once again the test had to be stopped at this point due to interruption.
On a final note, you will be pleased to hear that music can be played through the speaker either via WI-Fi, Bluetooth or Aux in while you are charging a mobile device. Curiously, however if you are charging a device and you change the speaker mode (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Aux in) when you do so the speaker disables the USB port. As such, should you change the playback mode while charging ensure to disconnect and reconnect the cable to resume charging. (It’s just a shame there isn’t a secondary LED indicator to show whether the USB port is active or not as I accidentally fluffed up charge testing a few times because of this).
Also, if playing music back while charging a device ensure to keep the device you are charging as far away from the speaker as possible as using such device in close proximity can introduce interference, something that is covered further in the next chapter.
The following are some notes taken while listening to some music through the GGMM E3 speaker being played from a Samsung Tab S2 9.7″ through the GGMM E series App over a wireless G router.
Before I continue it should be noted that when the speaker is switched on either connected to your router or left in Wi-fi or Bluetooth mode it does not make a sound. If it is connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and music is playing there is a detectable hiss from the speaker within 75cm, which is easily drowned out when the volume level is above 7. (The sound level of the hiss is a constant and does not increase with the speaker volume level).
When the speaker is connected using a 3.5mm cable and set to Aux in mode this hiss is constant regardless if music is playing or not. In all playback modes it should also be noted that the speaker sadly does not appear to be shielded and it is subject to interference from devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. This interference manifests in the form of random variable pitch beeping sound far more audible than the hissing, not because of its volume, but rather due to its pitch that almost sounds like morse code.
Anyway on with some testing…
Clean Bandit, Rather Be.
Vocals and the mid range are rather commendable, the bass and treble however, while inoffensive do highlight a lacking separation and frequency response that is perhaps a little overstated in the specs. The performance is perhaps best described as warm and slightly unnatural as a result, it’s enjoyable and exciting enough, it just sounds slightly odd compared to how it should. Overall 3.5/5.
Black Eyed Peas, I Got A Feeling.
Intro synth highs are a little tinny and when vocals commence at the 30 second marker they sound rather underwhelming and shallow compared to instrumentals. By the 1 minute 24 marker it is rather evident that something isn’t quite right as the track appears to be playing slightly slowed down.
At 1 minute 46 when Fergie starts to sing and the deeper bass kicks in separation starts to fall apart and things become rather chaotic with instrumentals remaining like this for some time. Vocals remain clear and while superior to instrumentals they are still underwhelming. Overall 2.5/5.
Christina Perri, Jar Of Hearts.
While the performance far from blew me away it is very evident the E3 prefers acoustics and vocals to electronic instruments. Bass is a little flat and washed out and separation is still an issue and Christina’s highs were a little on the harsh side. Overall 3.5/5.
Fugees, Ready or Not.
Reasonably well balanced, far more evident separation, although there is defiantly room for improvement. Enjoyable, but far from consuming, based on the songs listened to thus far I would say the E3 speaker is more suited to personal audio than it is to get a party started. Overall 4/5.
George Ezra, Budapest Live At The Brits.
While vocals were hard to fault, instrumentals sounded absolutely horrific, separation was shocking and frequency response was all over the place, resulting in an incoherent unpleasant experience that was abandoned after 24 seconds of playback. Overall 0/5.
Meghan Trainor, All About The Bass.
With the exception of some slight resonance of the deepest lows which distracted a little, this was otherwise a very vibrant, exciting and enjoyable performance that was otherwise hard to fault for the E3’s price point. Overall 4/5.
Passenger, Let Her Go.
Vocal highs are once again a little on the harsh side, the bass during the intro is as little bathroomy and during the chorus the deeper lows exhibit some rather overwhelming and unpleasant reverberation which sadly continues throughout the rest of the song after the first chorus. Overall 3.5/5, if not for the dodgy bass it would have been a 4/5.
Coldplay, Sky Full Of Stars.
Ok first off, this is the first song that captivated me enough to listen to it all the way through without making comment and I wasn’t disappointed to have to sit through a second play through to write up my thoughts. Again the deepest lows have a notable reverberation with the bass overall sounding a little flat, muffled and unnatural. Other than this the track was both exciting and enjoyable with near flawless vocals and decent separation. Overall 4/5.
Alanis Morissette, Mary Jane.
Intro guitar sounded slightly tinny and even a little harsh towards the high end. When the bass kicks in at the 22 second marker it sounds as if it were being produced by a sub encased in bricks and cement, it sounds incredibly flat and the reverberation is borderline comical. Strings continue to sound rather tinny throughout, although vocals are hard to fault even after less than a minute the track does become rather fatiguing. Overall 2/5.
Stone Roses, I Wanna Be Adored.
Nearly but not quite, again, there is rather noticeable reverberation of the bass and given the speed of which the bass guitar and drums are being played the result is a chaotic unpleasant sounding bass line. Overall 2/5.
Queen, Hammer To Fall.
Bass is still an issue, but far less so with this particular track that thankfully does not entirely spoil the performance as it has done in the past. Sadly, however separation is lacking, highs were at times a little harsh and it can become a little chaotic at points resulting in a performance that was not as enjoyable as it could have been. Overall 3/5.
Separation was sadly rather poor, resulting in yet another rather chaotic and fatiguing experience and it perhaps wasn’t as exciting a performance as it should have been but the bass response was surprising capable with little evidence of reverberation like with previous tracks. Overall 3.5/5.
Nine Inch Nails, The Day The World Went Away (Still).
Some slight reverberation noticeable on the deeper notes produced by the piano, vocals at times sounded over pronounced and the instrumental section at 2 minutes and 5 seconds sounded rather chaotic due to a lack of separation. Overall 3.5/5
The GGMM E3 clearly has a preference for vocals managing well with most acoustical instruments. Electronic instruments can vary in quality, but the consistent complaint is regarding the bass, which almost always has issues producing a clean low frequency.
With the volume cranked up to max the speaker provides ample sound for two adjoining rooms, making it suitable for a small gathering and most importantly distortion at max volume is very minimal. Below half volume, however you wouldn’t want to sit within one meter of the speaker as the hiss generated does rather detract from the listening experience.
As for my scores they are simply based on the price at the time of reviewing using the £10 more expensive and clearly far superior sounding GGMM M-Freedom as a benchmark.
POWER CONSUMPTION TESTING.
Testing with my Brennenstuhl PM 231-E the following readings were obtained from the GGMM E3 speaker.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched off and the clock disabled = 0.9w.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched off and the clock enabled = 0.9w.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched on in Aux in mode and the clock enabled = 1.6w.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched on in Bluetooth mode (not paired) and the clock enabled = 1.2w.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched on in Wi-Fi mode connected to a router and the clock enabled = 1.9w (once connected).
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched on in Aux in mode, the clock enabled, and music playing at volume level 10 = 1.7w peak.
- Switched on at the wall, speaker switched on in Wi-Fi mode connected to a router, the clock enabled, and music playing at volume level 10 = 2.7w peak.
I have to admit to being a little confused by these figures so much so I thought my power monitor might be faulty, however testing it with our 800w toaster it gave a reading of 808w and with our 3kw kettle it gave a reading of just over 2.6kW (I only boiled a small quantity of water). While the PM231-E is clearly working I still cannot say for sure if these readings are in fact accurate.
One further additional reading was obtained when the speaker was switched on and connected to my router, but not playing music with the clock on and charging a Samsung Note 10.1″ 2012 with a battery level of 78% which gave a reading of 7.1w at the socket.
As a rule I generally try to avoid adding a verdict or conclusion to my reviews as the aim with my reviews is to lead the reader to their own conclusion rather than impose my own, but having previously reviewed the GGMM M-Freedom which is currently retailing for just £10 more than the E3 I feel there is a point to doing so, more than anything as a warning.
The simple fact of the matter is if you are seeking a wireless speaker such as the GGMM E3, don’t buy the E3, by the GGMM M-Freedom instead. It costs a little more and its footprint is slightly larger, but for a small additional outlay you are getting a far more attractive and premium looking device with a higher build quality and a notably superior sound output compared to the E3.
Granted the M-Freedom App is far from as polished as the E series App but at its heart it operates exactly the same, its just a bit more of a fiddle to setup. If, however Bluetooth, a clock, alarm or USB charging point (none of which the M-Freedom offers) are a must on your list of requirements, simply based on a price vs sound quality basis, I would keep looking.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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