The Tech-pert: Jawbone Jambox Portable Speaker Deal and Review
Earlier this year I reviewed the Soundmatters FoxL v2
, a compact portable speaker that produced bigger sound than I'd thought possible from such a diminutive device.
I like the Jawbone Jambox
a little better, even though it's not the audio-quality champ of the two. This wireless speaker/speakerphone connects to any gizmo that supports the A2DP Bluetooth protocol--meaning most phones, laptops, and tablets--and provides a huge improvement over the wimpy speakers built into most such devices.
The Jambox has a list price of $199.99, but an outfit called aSavings.com has the Jawbone Jambox
for $154.99 shipped. That's for the blue model; it's also available in red
for the same price. Prefer black? 101Phones.com
has the black Jambox
for even less: $149.99 shipped.
Whatever color you choose, the Jambox resembles a small brick, one with a rubberized base and top and wraparound metal grill. It's kind of a goofy-looking product, to be frank, better suited to dorm rooms than living rooms. But it's a lot more stable than the easy-to-tip FoxL v2, and it delivers a better overall user experience.
For example, the FoxL consigns all its controls to the rear (where they're very hard to make out against the glossy-black shell
), but the Jambox puts its power switch on the side and oversize volume controls on top. There's also an oversize Talk button used to answer and end calls. Listening to music? Tap the button to hear a spoken battery status.
I also like that the Jambox relies on industry-standard micro-USB charging, not some near-proprietary connector. Translation: one less AC adapter to bring along (assuming you're already bringing one for, say, your phone
Of course, none of this would matter if the Jambox didn't deliver in the sound department. And here I can give only mixed praise: the speaker sounds loud and clear, with a nice helping of bass, but without that same room-filling "bigness" afforded by the FoxL v2 (which, ironically, is a bit smaller
). Like I said, the Jambox is better for a dorm room (or other smallish space
) than a living room.
It's also around $50 cheaper than the FoxL, at least if you hit up one of the aforementioned vendors. And make no mistake: it sounds very good overall. If you're looking for a compact, portable, wireless speaker to greatly improve the sound quality of your mobile devices, a $150-range Jambox is hard to pass up.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for
over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently,
"How to Do Everything: Palm Pre." Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.