The following review is based off of owning a Jawbone MINI JAMBOX for a period of four months.
For years I’ve desperately wanted a Bluetooth speaker that could hold up to my high standards of audio quality while still being easy-ish on the wallet. Given just how packed the wireless speaker market is I found it pretty overwhelming at times to narrow the playing field down. While I was willing to pay a bit of a premium for a good product, I wasn’t willing to jump on a brand band wagon. I’ve had Bose products and been satisfied, but their price point was off the chart for what I wanted. I’d used Beats by Dre headphones and their speakers did catch my eye, but the audio quality at mid to high volumes went too tinny for my liking. I needed something that could be heard in a crowded room without creating a wall of static. Something that could produce crisp treble sounds without sacrificing bass or vice versa.
Bluetooth speakers tend to bring one of two thoughts to mind; super expensive name brands or dirt cheap convenience store tin cans. I had lost all hope of finding a middle ground until I encountered Jawbone’s MINI JAMBOX. Admittedly it was the physical appearance that caught my eye first. Brightly colored with funky patterns, metal exterior, and about the size of an eye glass case. Fun, sturdy, and portable came to mind and Jawbone’s marketing team should give themselves a pat on the back for it. But how would it sound?
I was in a store a couple of days before Christmas when I finally ran across a testable display model. If there was ever a time to do my crowd versus volume test that was it! At half volume the MINI JAMBOX in front me easily soared above the dozen or so conversations that were happening in the area. I didn’t feel the need to turn it up all the way (I didn’t want to be that guy) given that at even a little over what I assumed to be half way, the clarity and richness of the store sample demo blew me away. The brief audio track sounded like a movie trailer voice over and showcased both music, film, and video games sound. It was exactly what I needed to hear! Not just a rogue smooth jazz loop or a wall of distorted guitars, actual audio that matched all the things I would be looking to use my speaker for.
The MINI JAMBOX can handle any kind of audio you throw at it. From listening to my favorite Marvel movie soundtracks to Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning” album to the land of obscurity that is my Lil Jon playlist, MINI JAMBOX did not falter. The MINI JAMBOX provides incredibly dynamic sound for such a small unit. While majority of my time with it has been for playing music, it can and should be applied elsewhere in your life. Streaming The Fifth Element from my tablet was a particular highlight, putting Bruce Willis and sci-fi hijinks all up in my living room. I turned the volume way up at one point during the movie (the Diva singing epic combat scene) to see at what point the speaker would start vibrating against the table I had it on… it never did. The low profile gripped feet and weight (only 9 oz.) of the unit prevented that ever annoying buzz that comes with space explosions on a portable speaker from ever happening. Well played, MINI JAMBOX.
One of the many gripes people have had with Bluetooth devices is the ease of pairing and keeping them connected. Synching your respective devices with MINI JAMBOX is a cinch! You can either hold down the pairing button on the device or use the JAMBOX application on your phone. A quirky character voice of your choosing will tell you that “MINI JAMBOX is in pairing mode. Waiting to pair with your device.” It’s a nice feature so you’re never stuck wondering whether or not you’re searching for a connection! The Bluetooth itself is intuitive and picks up enabled devices easily. It works so well in fact that if your phone is connected and you get a call, MINI JAMBOX tells you the number and allows you to use it as a hands free speaker phone. The built-in omnidirectional microphone works well enough that you don’t need to be on top of the unit for your caller to hear you clearly. The buttons on the speaker you use for skipping or pausing tracks can also answer a call, decline it, or change the voice volume.
Battery life on the device is said to be about 10 hours and by my rough estimates on it, I wouldn’t argue with that. Anytime you’re talking power though you have to go into it knowing that results may vary. The lithium-ion battery is charged by a micro-USB that’s included with the device but any old micro-USB cable will get the job done. I’ve gone as much as two weeks without plugging the unit in and using it almost daily for varied stints of time. A verbal warning also tells you when the speaker is at half battery so you’re not likely to miss when it’s time to plug in for a power up.
Perhaps the biggest selling point about MINI JAMBOX is that it has updateable firmware, as time goes on, it seems that the plan is to add new features to the speaker. One such feature has already been released, the ability to pair two of the speakers together for stereo quality sound. Retailing at $129, Jawbone’s MINI JAMBOX wireless Bluetooth speaker is absolutely worth the extra pennies for any entertainment lover. In an age where consumers sometimes think that expensive is better, do not be fool. MINI JAMBOX has a mid-level pricing for what is arguably a better product than their competitors who come in at twice the cost and size. Having the ability to update the firmware of the speaker over time makes you feel like you’re investing rather than just purchasing.
MINI JAMBOX already does so much more than similiar products that it’s hard to envision what this wireless speaker could do better. You can learn more about the Jawbone MINI JAMBOX by visiting Jawbone’s website.