Review: Is The Bluetooth Jambox Jaw-Dropping Or A Pricey Punch In The Jawbone?

Written by Matthew Lentini     27/06/2011 | 05:38 | Category name i.e.ACCESSORIES

The Jambox by Jawbone is a small but weighty Bluetooth speaker that delivers surprisingly deep sound for its size. The initial reaction from turning the Jambox on leans towards jaw-dropping, with the stylish, rectangular unit belching out a digital bleep that thuds in your hand.

One of the most impressive aspects of the speaker is that very physicality of the sound. If you hold the unit in your hand as music plays or as it turns on, you feel the bass punch out in deep vibrations that make the unit feel like its punching above its weight.

It's fun and gimmicky, but beyond that it can deteriorate the sound. For two small 1.25 inch drivers, it handles quite the handful of sound, delivering a rich sound that can fill a room, but the overdriven bass can give follow up with a buzzing noise from vibrating against a table (like when a phone is on 'Silent' and buzzes against a coffee table).

The Bluetooth capacity is one of the more important features here though, running multiple inputs at once via strong Bluetooth connection that holds together over metres and metres. Pairing is as simple as holding the on/off button to one direction for a few seconds then identifying it with your device. The on-board satnav-style voice guides you along the pairing.

Multiple inputs mean you can attach more than just your phone to the device at once. There's also a mini-USB input for connecting to your PC and updating the software or more extensively tweaking the phone-pairing settings and applications on the dedicated MyTALK platform, as well as a 3.5mm jack for connecting media players and the like.

On the phone-pairing front, the Jambox is great for answering calls on its easy three-button interface that sees two extra large volume up/down buttons and an equally large circular button for answering calls (and other tasks depending on the input). The unit deals with incoming voice with high clarity, and the Bluetooth connection showed no lag in audio. The other end didn't pick up my voice as clearly as if I'd been normally using my phone rather than the speakerphone Jambox, though this could just be part of typically using a speakerphone rather than an up-close handset.

The battery life wasn't as impressive as advertised, lasting around six hours with a 3.5mm music input playing at a medium-to-high volume, especially since this was without using a Bluetooth connection. At lower volumes it performed for longer though, and quick charging cycles make it less of an issue.

While its sturdy build, smooth, rubbery exterior, high strength bass and high connectivity give it big pluses, the $249 price tag is still a bit of a high ask for a portable Bluetooth speaker. That being said, its simplistic controls and portability (though not pocket-sized by any means) make this a potential winner for a home office substitute for laptop speakers and your phone's speakerphone.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Meaty bass; Multiple Bluetooth streaming; Doubles as speakerphone and speaker

Cons:

Expensive for a small unit; Unimpressive battery life