i've spent the last few weeks trying out the jambox, a wireless speaker designed by yves behar for jawbone. the jambox has been around for a while now, and i was keen to see how it would perform, coming from a company previously known mainly for their bluetooth earpieces.
as with their earpieces, this speaker works with bluetooth, rather than over a wireless network like the recently reviewed libratone live. when setting it up, this is a massive advantage. on a smartphone it is really simple to 'discover' the speaker, and it can be working within seconds.
it is a relatively small thing, but for it's size the sound is very good. it will not compete in terms of quality and volume with bigger speakers like the libratone, but for most situations it is great. it's main uses will fall in to three categories i think: firstly, to increase the audio quality when watching or playing things on smartphones and tablets. it's easy to move around with you, and while you wouldn't want a huge amp for the sound, it's an improvement on the built in speakers in those devices.
secondly, for situations when you're out and about, be it next to a pool on holiday or out camping in a field. again, the volume and sound quality aren't hi-fi quality, but you don't need that in those situations, and having a little speaker that fits neatly in the bottom of a bag to pull out when you need it is ideal.
the third use (which they make a big point of on their website) is for conference call use. i don't have need for this myself, but it is a nice looking thing sitting on a table, and having a built in microphone and the wireless capability makes it perfect for this.
there a are a few different colours available, and a few different mesh grill patterns too (the one pictured is a limited edition green with 'wave' pattern). what they all have in common is stainless steel construction, with moulded rubber casing. it not only looks good, it feels good too. it's not too light, and with all wires removed and the minimal amount of buttons, it not only declutters but looks very elegant.
on the top there are three buttons: volume up, volume down and a talk button. on the side there is a usb input (for charging), a 3.5mm jack input (for non-bluetooth enabled devices) and an on/off switch. the jambox will last up to 10 hours on a full charge, which is pretty impressive!
the only negative point i could find with the speaker is the noises it makes when performing functions. turning it on and off, and increasing and decreasing the volume are met with various beeps and noises, which can get quite irritating. i have since found out that by updating the firmware on the jambox you can stop it doing this, which is a relief.
overall it is such a nice little thing, and really useful in the right situations. easy to use, and simple to set up too. not for anyone that wants a replacement for their hi-fi, but great to stick in a bag or keep on your desk.
the jambox costs £159 from jawbone themselves, but i have seen it cheaper elsewhere. the higher prices seem a bit much but for around £100 i think it's great value.