We were given a sneak peek at the Belkin Soundform Elite in a noisy exhibition room last year (long before its launch at CES 2020) and even then it stood out as remarkable piece of audio equipment. Since then I had waited to get my hands on the speaker. Finally it came to the UAE in early July and I’ve been using it since then.
Made in partnership with high-end french audio brand, Devialet, the Belkin Soundform Elite is the brand’s first smart speaker. Accompanied with a 10w fast wireless charger on top of the speaker and Google Assistant, the Soundform Elite can be a great addition to a modern household.
Belkin Soundform Elite
Build and Connectivity
The Belkin Soundform Elite feels premium from the minute you pull it out of the box. Looking like an egg chopped from the top, the top houses the ‘fast’ wireless charger of the speaker. The top also houses the five touch-sensitive buttons which control the microphones, volume, play/pause and Bluetooth connectivity.
The bottom of the speaker is wrapped in good-looking fabric (available in Black and Grey) and the overall speaker is pretty small in size (162mm x 162mm x 168mm). On the body, you also have the standard four lights which come on when interacting with the Google Assistant.
There is not 3.5mm headphone jack on the speaker. So if you were hoping to connect a phone or media player via a cable, it isn’t an option. The speaker comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and Wifi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) connectivity. Setting up the speaker via Google Home was a piece of cake and pretty automated.
Accoustics by Devialet
Now Belkin brings a tech filled speaker as far as the SoundForm Elite is concerned but I can understand if a consumer shys away from spending on a ‘Belkin speaker’ considering their lack of expertise in the genre.
This is why their partnership with Devialet is so important. The French audio giant brings in various technologies to the foray like their SAM and Push-Push technology. For the audiophile in you looking for more details, click here but from my experience the Soundform Elite packs a punch.
As soon as you switch the speaker on, you’re first surprised by its sound output. There’s a whole lot of sound coming out of this tiny little speaker. A song like ‘Southern Man’ by Akshay Alizadeh pushes out some decent bass while something like ‘Kasoor’ by Prateek Kuhad brings out clear vocals. Sitting in the corner of my living room, the speaker proved to be a great addition to a casual evening sitting in reading or while getting some cooking done in the kitchen.
I found the speaker reaching some limits when listening to something like Daft Punk or Bonobo, specially at louder volumes. Audio was shrill and mids weren’t anything to write home about.
One thing I love about the speaker is the lack of vibrations. Whether you’re talking about the phone on the wireless chargers or small knick-knacks around the speaker, nothing moves. Even at higher volumes!
There is very limited audio customisability as far as the Soundform Elite is concerned. There aren’t any preset profiles and having to enter the Google Home app for customization is a little bit annoying. A quick voice command with the same would’ve helped tremendously.
Speaking of voice commands, one of the biggest reasons I wanted something like the Belkin Soundform Elite its capability to be a Google Smart speaker too. The two far-field mics on the speaker work well. Right from across the hall and even from my kitchen, the speaker was able to determine my voice and easily follow voice commands.
Acting as central hub for a lot of the tech in my house, the Soundform Elite allows a whole lot of control if you’re planning to invest in a smart home.
Should you buy one?
The Belkin Soundform Elite isn’t cheap. It is available in the UAE for Dh1299 at most major retailers as well as online and proves to be a pricey purchase.
If we’re only talking about a speaker, there are definitely comparable options out in the market at cheaper prices. If we’re talking about just smart speakers with voice assistants, there are cheaper options in the market. if we’re talking about wireless charging pads, there are definitely much cheaper options in the market.
But if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, the Belkin Soundform Elite proves like a pretty good combination. It’s a decent speaker, with great smart functionality and a wireless charging pad. I only suggest you get your hands on one if you’re absolutely going to use all three features of the speaker.