Today we’ll be looking at a smart wireless speaker called the E5 by a relatively unknown company GGMM. If you haven’t heard of them I’ll link their website here, so you can see what else they offer. But the E5 we have today is surprisingly affordable for its feature set, but does that make it a good buy?
Firstly I’ll cover off a few specs then we’ll get into the main review. In the main review I’ll be covering everything from design to setting up the speaker and more. So forewarning that it will be long.
- Power supply: 15V, 1.5A
- USB output 5V, 1A
- Input connections: WiFi, Bluetooth, Aux
- Audio Decoder Format: MP3,WAV,WMA,AAC,ALAC,FLAC,APE
- WiFi transmitter frequency range: 2.412GHz – 2.472GHz
- WiFi transmitter power: ≤20dBm (EIRP)
- Network compatibility: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
- Bluetooth transmitter frequency: 2.4202GHz – 2.480GHz
- Bluetooth transmitter power: 0-4dBm
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 265 x 42 x 155 (mm)
- Weight: 1.3Kg
In the box
- Power brick
- Warranty card
- Carry strap
Design and build
I think the design of the E5 is likely to split opinions. In leans towards a more retro style than uber modern. The shape of the E5 is reminiscent of older styled speaker. With its squared edges and rounded off corners its definitely retro at heart. The front facia is covered with a large metallic grille that slightly wraps around the edges, it features a circular perforated design to allow the sound to pass through. In the bottom right corner is the nicely integrated logo and that is pretty much the only visible branding which is nice. Its tastefully done.
The edges are kept clean and its the top section where all the interesting stuff is. There are two metal hooks built into the top section, this is used to allow you to attach the included strap. So if you want to take the speaker out and about, it makes it easier to carry.
There is a metal backing which ties in nicely with the theme of the aesthetic and adds to the quality feeling of the speaker. On the top you’ll find a large array of buttons and dials to control the speaker. Starting from left to right you have a battery level indicator, which of course keeps you aware of much battery you have left. The notification system isn’t that good though. It adopts a blinking light system that makes it trickier than necessary. A simple colour changing LED would have been preferred.You then have you power button, favourite button, play/pause, next track, volume rocker, a really cool bass and treble dial, a mode LED, a mode button and a mic button.
Round the back you have a few more inputs and outputs. You have a 5V 1A USB out to charge mobile devices, a power input (the mains), an aux in and a WiFi connect button. The design round the back is simple and clean too.
The build now and its made from mainly plastic and metal. The plastic feels very high quality and it has a nice protective coating. The metal grille does have a slight bit of flex when pressed, but that is good thing as if you drop it, it shouldn’t crack. Also its 1.3Kg weight is reassuring and it feels well put together. The buttons are metal and all feel nicely set into the frame and give off a nice tactile feel. The bass and treble dials again are metal, they feel great and are very smooth. All in all the design may not suit everyones taste, but it is very well made.
Setting up via Bluetooth is super simple. Turn the speaker on, turn the mode to Bluetooth, turn on Bluetooth on your device and wait for the E5 to pop up. Then simply tap and its ready to go.
Setting up to WiFi is a different kettle of fish altogether and quite tricky. So I’ll try and make it much easier for you. Also this speaker only supports the 2.4GHz frequency and not the 5.0GHz, so keep that in mind.
- Step 1 plug the speaker into the mains as it requires this to be paired to you network.
- Step 2 switch the mode to WiFi on the speaker and the blue light will begin to blink. Then go into the app store on your phone and download the accompanying app. This is for both Android and iOS. Either search for GGMM-E Series or scan the QR code in the manual.
- Step 3 turn the WiFi on, on your chosen device. Then open up the app. You’ll then be greated with an option to add a speaker, press this and move onto step 4. (Figure 1)
- Step 4 now you’ll prompted to type in your internet password (Figure 2), after this you’ll need to press the WiFi button on the back of the speaker (Figure 3). After pressing you should here a voice prompt which will either say “router connected” or “router not connected”. If its the the later follow on to step 5. If its successful, follow the rest of the instructions on screen and you’re good to go.
- Step 5 now here you can either re-attempt the previous steps or do what I did and save some time. So after 5 failed attempts here is the quicker solution. After failing it will bring you pack to the connection page and you should see the option ‘direct-connection’. Press that and follow the prompts on screen and you’ll save yourself a lot of headache. Figure 4, 5 and 6 are what you should see if you take the direct-connection approach. Again just follow on screen and its really that simple.
Now that your all set up on WiFi I’ll be taking a look at the app.
The App. The separate app that you can download is available for Android and iOS and is free to download. With the app you have greater control over the speaker when connected to a WiFi network.
After initial connection you’ll be asked to select the location of where the speaker will be placed. Your next option is to add more speakers to the network. If you’re not doing that then the next is the media interface where you control your music. This is nicely designed and works well. To the right side you have some options to connect to your source of choice. You can either pick your music, Spotify, Tidal (both of which need to be installed on your phone), you then have iHeartradio, Tunein and then the option to add another source. Tunein is my choice as you don’t need to set up an account and its free. With Tunein you get 1000s of internet and all your local stations. You have a search function in which you can quickly find the station you or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can browse the massive collection.
The app is really simple and straight forward and I found I could use it fully within 30 minutes.
For the price the feature set is pretty strong. So lets dive in and see what you get.
Built in mic. This allows you to take calls and this is controlled via the mic button on the top. Here you can answer a call with one press, reject a call by long pressing and a short press to hang up.
- Amazon Alexa intergration. Now this was quite a surprise to see this feature as I don’t think many others have adopted this feature into their speakers. I could be wrong but at this price its quite rare. Unfortunately you need an Amazon Echo device for this feature to work. Now it would have been better if it was fully integrated into the E5 and that way you wouldn’t need a Echo device. I know this is never going to happen but it would be very nice. But if you say just have an Echo dot, then it will sound so much better, the downside is that you have to touch the E5 to activate Alexa whereas with the dot its voice activated.
- Multi-room capabilities. Unfortunately this isn’t a feature I was able to test as I only have one, but I know that you can add more than one of these speakers to a network. I wish I could comment on how it works, but alas I only have the single unit.
- Airplay and DLNA playing. So with the speaker you get the option to sync it to an existing Airplay network and to do this you follow the instructions set out in the manual. Unfortunately being an Android/Windows user I don’t have Airplay to test this more. You also have options for DLNA, but again this isn’t a feature I tested as I stuck with WiFi and Bluetooth.
The battery life is quite impressive for the large feature set and the drivers that it has to power. So quoted time is up to 15 hours. I managed to achieve 15 hours 51 minutes at 60% volume, which is plenty loud enough. Charge time took exactly 3 hours via the mains, but this will vary depending on your mains output. You can also run the speaker via the mains if needed. But its good to know that the battery is impressive as its not just a multi-room speaker.
Before we talk about the sound quality, here are the specifications for its audio prowess.
- Rated power: 20W
- Frequency response: 80-20KHz
- Signal to noise ratio: ≥83dB
- Driver configuration: 4 x midrange drivers and 2 x subwoofer
Onto the sound now and I tested this both in WiFi mode and Bluetooth mode as I believe those would be the most common methods of pairing a speaker like this. I had the speaker set to 0 bass and 0 treble with a flat profile.
Bass is genuinely a surprise it actually produces it and produces it well. Usually speakers like this shake and vibrate, but this pumps up some good quality bass. Its quite deep and has a fair amount of punch too. Thats not surprising as as it packs in two subs. The bass is clear and is never too overpowering. Its a real nice compliment to the sound. Obviously you can dial up the bass, but I personally prefer it set to 0. If you do decide to turn up the bass then it becomes a little to overbearing. So be sure to balance it out with the treble. Back to the bass now and I’m really shocked as it almost produces as good bass as a set of budget Hi-Fi speakers. Plus the bass carries well and easily can fill a decent size room. It does vibrate a fair amount but its well isolated and there isn’t too much resonance.
The Midrange again is a surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it is. Its clear, well defined, detail is plentiful and the soundstage is quite apt too. Yeah can actually sit a listen to this and really enjoy it. So its not just good for a casual listen but also some more intense listening. Yes by no means is it Hi-Fi grade, but for what it is, its good. Its easily in the top three that I’ve heard and probably the best at this price point. Back to the quality now and you can really appreciate the music that you’re listening too. I listened to a lot of Rag N Bone man on it and I was deeply impressed. You can hear pretty much everything. Yes some minute detail is missing but speakers like this rarely can recreate those as you only often find those details in a good pair of headphones. But again its really impressive how good the mids are.
Vocal performance again is excellent, like mentioned Rag N Bone man is one of my favourite artists at the minute and I felt this speaker did his voice justice. It portrayed the power of voice as well as captured the emotion in it too. The tonal quality is superb, it projects really well, but it never steals the limelight. It manages to create a lovely cohesion between the mids and bass. Honestly if this had true stereo separation it would be hard to tell the difference between this and a set of decent speakers. So I’ve mentioned it has plenty of power, but its also able to tone things down for a more intimate performance. Highs are well handled, they’re not too obtrusive which is just how I like them. They’re quite soft too meaning you won’t get that grating or brash tone to the sound.
The sound as whole whether you connect to either the aux, Bluetooth or WiFi is highly impressive and only the Dali Katch and Beoplay A2 have sounded better. But keep in mind those offerings are more than double the price of this. But this is easily the best sounding speaker I’ve ever heard under £150, its honestly going to take some beating. It is that good.
Now I have uploaded a few quick demos to my YouTube channel and that will give you a rough idea of the quality. So check them out here if you want. Just remember that it sounds so much better in person.
I have to say that I am very impressed with this speaker. The design like I mentioned may not suit all tastes but its very well made, has tonnes of features, packs in a solid battery life and then it delivers a fantastic acoustic performance. It does have its small issues like
- Not being able to control the speaker with your system volume, you have to do it via the app or the speaker.
- It comes on really loud after initial set up and if you turn it off from a loud volume, that is what it will turn on with. So be sure to turn it down before switching off.
- The Alexa integration works well, but it would have been nice to have it as a stand alone feature.
- The WiFi set up is a little fiddly and if you’re new to WiFi speakers the instructions seem to be missing a few steps. Especially if the connection fails.
- Finally its a touch heavy if you do want to take it out with you.
But back to the positives and its a fantastic all round speaker. For £125 I am seriously impressed and if you want a cheap multi-room setup then this could be a good option. As a standalone speaker it still remains mighty impressive and one of the better ones I’ve ever tested. Then you add the smart features and the package gets even better. As I said it has its minor issues, but for the price its easily one of the best on the market right now.
Pick one up here via Amazon UK
GGMM E5 Wireless Smart Speaker