x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Gadgets: Jawbone Mini Jambox looks the part and just about delivers on sound

If music wanted to look pretty, it would play through a Jambox speaker.

Mini Jambox by Jawbone. Courtesy Jawbone
Mini Jambox by Jawbone. Courtesy Jawbone

Speakers are no longer devices that just play music. They have become a statement accessory, an extension of your personality and an expression of the genre of music you listen to.

In the dinosaur tech years of the 1990s, speakers came in two options: big and black or big and silver. That was it. But over the past couple of years different colours and styles of portable speakers have sprung up. And Jawbone has led the way in attracting the fashionistas serious about music and style.

I was given the silver Mini Jambox to review. It is small compared to the normal-sized Jamboxes, but not exactly mini. The company claims it is designed to fit in your pocket. That won’t happen, unless you walk around in combat trousers or a Parka jacket. Besides, why would anyone want to carry speakers in their pocket? Unless you are a street artist or a fanatic of impromptu dance-offs in the middle of nowhere, there is no reason to carry speakers on your person.

Anyway, the Mini Jambox is pleasing on the eye. Its patterned facade and striking colour would not look out of place in a flat that contains an Apple Macbook or Fitbit wristband.

The speaker connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. There is also a lead that can be plugged into the headphone socket of your phone to blast out those tunes. This is perhaps the easiest way to get things going.

I found the Bluetooth set-up slow and just a little bit too cranky to use when compared to the old-fashioned lead. Once connected, you can use the play and forward and rewind buttons on top of the speaker to control your music.

It has an exceptional battery life and Jawbone claims it will give you 10 hours of continuous wireless playback. There is also an app available on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android which allows you to wirelessly save and stream your music while also tracking the battery status.

The sound is fine, a little fuzzy and not as precise as I had hoped. But it does the job and does it well.

q&a portable speakers abound

Where can I buy a Mini Jambox?

You can buy the speaker on Tejuri.com, an online retailer which is the exclusive supplier in the region. It is available for Dh799.

What other colours are available?

It is available in red, blue, green, yellow, graphite and aqua. You can choose from the circular dot facade or the snowflake design or even the marine-inspired scale facade. They all look good.

That’s quite expensive, is it worth spending that much on a single speaker?

Depends, if you want a stylish speaker to listen to your music then anything by Jawbone is likely to appeal to you. If you prefer a more portable speaker or one that has better sound then look elsewhere. Jawbone focuses more on aesthetics rather than sound quality, although I’m sure they’d disagree and say something to the effect that both features are equally important and they offer the best sound quality on the market.

I’m the sort that likes to be able to have a party wherever I go, can you suggest something ultra-portable?

There are a number of hand-held, sphere-like speakers on the market that pack a punch when it comes to blasting out your tunes. Huawei has a particularly loud and stunning model in white with great sound, while Sony’s NFC-enabled offerings are also top notch. Just tap your smartphone on top and hear the sound magically transfer from phone to speaker.


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