Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review
Portable Bluetooth speakers go through trends. They may be small one year, and larger the next. Currently, the cylindrical form factor is the hot thing. Nearly everyone has a cylinder-shaped Bluetooth speaker on the market. Not to be outdone, Monoprice has released their Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker. The Capsule 200 sports three drivers, two passive radiators, and IPx7 water rating. But how does it sound? Let’s take a closer look!
Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Specs
|Driver Size||1x 66mm, 2x 52mm|
|Amplifier Power||1x 18 watts, 2x 6 watts|
|Bluetooth Range||Up to 32 feet (10 meters)|
|Bluetooth Pairing Name||MP43262|
|microSD Card Capacity||32GB|
|microSD Card Formatting||FAT16 or FAT32|
|Battery Type||7.2V Lithium‑ion|
|Charging Time||About 3 hours|
|Playback/Talk Time||About 8 hours|
|Input Power||5 VDC, 2.0A|
|Dimensions||3.5″ x 3.7″ x 8.8″ (90 x 95 x 224 mm)|
|Weight||34.4 oz. (974 g)|
Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth Speaker First Impressions
The Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker is all black with large “+” and “-” signs on the front. On the back you’ll find a rubber cover that hides the 3.5mm Aux port, USB-C charging port (cable included but not the wall adapter), and microSD slot. The rubber cover needs to stay in place for the IPx7 rating (no dust rating, submerged in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes).
Battery life is a reported up to 8 hours on a single charge. There is a lot of space in the user manual talking about battery maintenance. Monoprice recommends fully charging the Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker before first use. They also recommend that you never let the battery completely die (charge when the four-light indicator reduces to a single light) and charging it at least 10 minutes before each use. Monoprice also suggests you recharge it completely at least once every two months. I saw some user reviews suggesting that the battery life was lower than promised. Not following these instructions might explain these.
Harmony Capsule 200 Drivers and Orientation
The Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker has a single 66mm and two 52mm drivers. If you touch the ends of the tube, you’ll find that they have what feels like drivers. But they aren’t the right size. Studying the sides, I found the drivers mounted on the sides under the grilles. These are exceptionally large drivers. The endcap “drivers” are really passive radiators. Think of them as drivers without any power. These are designed to add to the bass much like a port would.
This makes all the pictures of the Capsule 200 standing up very confusing. Standing it up covers one passive radiator. It seemed like the correct positioning would be on its side. There are very small feet on the “back” to keep it from rolling off a table, but they definitely could be larger. If the surface is at all uneven, it will roll.
Turned out I was wrong. On the endcaps, there are small feet that allow the sound to escape (see below). When I placed the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker on it’s back, it sounded wrong. Either the two smaller drivers would be facing you or the single larger one. With it standing on its end, you were off-axis to the main drivers and the passive radiators. This is how the Capsule 200 sounded best and how I oriented it in all my listening tests.
Author’s Note: To get the best sound, the controls should be facing you. When in this orientation, it sounded pretty good. But if you were off axis at all, you’d hear more from one set of drivers than the other. This design made the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 far more directional that other portable Bluetooth speakers. If you are looking for 360° sound, this is really not the speaker for you.
Monoprice Harmony Controls
As mentioned, the plus and minus signs on the front control the volume. I thought each tip of the signs would be a control, but they aren’t. In addition to controlling the volume, you can hold the plus to skip forward a track and hold the minus button to skip backwards. There are three buttons below for Bluetooth, Play/Pause, and Power in descending order.
The bottom three buttons also have multiple functions. The Bluetooth button initiated pairing if held for three seconds but switched between the three inputs with one press (only if something is attached) and between EQ modes if double pressed. The EQ modes, Standard, Bass, and 3D, had individual tones. This is not described in the manual so you’ll need to trial and error it to figure out which tone is associated with which EQ mode.
The Play/Pause button will start/stop your music and connect/disconnect calls. Two second holds will reject calls and double clicks (when connected to your phone via Bluetooth) will redial the last number called. Lastly, if you have two Capsule 200s, you can pair them for stereo mode when a call is active by holding the Play/Pause button for two seconds.
The power button will power the unit off and on with a three second hold. A single click will engage your phone’s voice assistant (the manual only lists Siri but it worked fine with my Pixel 5).
The biggest problem with the controls isn’t that they are confusing (they aren’t) or hard to remember (they are pretty standard honestly). The problem is that there is no audible click or other indication that you’ve operated the controls. There is a very slight change in resistance, but it would be nice if there were some other indication. I should also note that the buttons are not at all illuminated and are often hard to locate without looking. The buttons are so flush to the front face that they are difficult to negotiate via touch alone. Add to that little tactile and no audible feedback and it is hard to know when you’ve pressed a button or not.
Sound Quality and Use
Portable Bluetooth speakers, like the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200, need to be long lasting, loud, and very portable. I’d prefer something that sounds pretty good, but that takes a back seat to the rest of functionality. To get it out of the way, the Capsule 200 sounded pretty good (when in the correct orientation). Playing a sweep, it kicked in around 80Hz but started playing with authority closer to 150Hz. It rolled off above 10kHz but was pretty inconsistent starting at 5kHz. Honestly, I wouldn’t call the frequency response flat at all. But it was fairly inoffensive and vocals were clear. Especially at louder volumes. At lower volumes, I didn’t like the Capsule 200 as much. If you are looking at this speaker, be prepared to keep it on the loud side.
Author’s Note: If you place the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker on its side, it doesn’t sound very good. Either you’ll have the single 66mm driver facing you or the dual 52mm drivers. Either way, it sounds very unbalanced. By standing it up and having the controls facing you, you get the best sound quality.
Speaking of volume, the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker could get plenty loud. The bass, while not as deep as I’ve heard, was plenty deep enough. I was actually surprised when I had the speaker on my desk at max volume that it didn’t vibrate the desk. I consider this a plus. That said, within arm’s length, max volume wasn’t so loud that I needed to turn it down or risk hearing loss. I couldn’t have a conversation near it, but it wasn’t distorting. This could be that my content wasn’t mixed overly loud, but it says something. If you are looking for rave-level music, this isn’t the speaker for you. If you want to fill a smaller room with sound, the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker will do just fine. Larger rooms? Background music only for the majority of the room
One thing I haven’t addressed is the price. At $70 retail. the Monoprice Harmony Capsule 200 Portable Bluetooth speaker is an absolutely value compared to many similar speakers. At this price point, many of the idiosyncrasies and issues seem to fall away. It sounds good, the price is right, and it has more than enough functionality for what most people want to do. This is a solid portable speaker for those that want to lounge around by the pool or just enjoy some tunes around the house. Recommended!
For more information, check out Monoprice.com.