Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
9:03 PM EST, March 6, 2012
Name: JAMBOX by Jawbone
What it is: A rechargeable Bluetooth wireless smart speaker that packs a big sound into a box that's less than 6 inches long, 2 inches tall and about 11/2 inches deep. It includes a built-in microphone for phone calls, and features proprietary acoustic stereo drivers and a passive bass radiator. Jawbone says JAMBOX gets better over time because its MyTALK feature allows users to personalize their JAMBOX with a signature voice and add audio apps and software updates. The speaker is available in red dot, gray hex, blue wave and black diamond designs, and comes with two micro-USB charging cables (60-inch and 12.5-inch), a wall charger, sleek black carrying case and a 36-inch, 3.5-mm stereo cable for laptops or devices without Bluetooth connectivity.
The good: The JAMBOX pairs easily with my iMac and my iPhone 4S; the simple, intuitive settings make it easy to use straight out of the box with barely a glance at its operating guide. I preferred the Real Audio setting, which delivers a more acoustic sound without any pounding bass. I downloaded "The Rogue" from MyTALK to my JAMBOX, so it speaks with a sexy quasi-Italian accent, and when the Bluetooth connects, JAMBOX makes a kissing sound. Voices include a bombshell and a mobster. Used with my iPhone, the speaker's battery life is displayed on my phone screen. Pressing and releasing the "on" button also displays the charge.
The bad: The volume can be cranked only about half as high on the Real Audio setting, so I sometimes switch to the default setting when I want to boost volume. I wish the speaker cost a bit less. (At last check, Amazon was selling JAMBOX as low as $170.)
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