Jawbone Big Jambox

8/17/2012 11:36:09 AM

Putting you on speaker

Jawbone’s Big Jambox is a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a hands-free phone kit. It’s a foot-long slab of weighty aluminum mesh with rubberized ends. On top are thoughtfully shaped rubber buttons for controlling music playback, adjusting volume, skipping tracks and answering phone calls.

Finished in red, graphite or white, the Jambox looks snugly upholstered but it’s really aluminum mesh

Inside are pair of proprietary acoustic drivers and dual bass radiators, as well as a mic. There’s also a lithium-ion battery, which is good for up to 15 hours playback.

You can connect any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack to the Big Jambox, using the included cable, but that would be missing the point. Jamboxuses the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) to allow you to play music wirelessly from an iOS device or Mac. Setup is beautifully simple. Charge the Jambox, turn it on, and a voice tells you, very loudly, that it’s in pairing mode. Select Bluetooth in iOS and up pops the Jambox. Tap it and it connects first time.

Once it’s paired, you can makes calls from an iPhone and select the Jambox as the source in the Phone app. We found that calls were clear at both ends, but quality deteriorated at the other end when we moved more than a couple of feet from the Jambox’s mic.

Audio quality when listening to music was mixed. From an iPhone, low-frequency tracks with lots of warm bass, such as The XX’s VC R and Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues sounded great. Higher-frequency songs, particularly those with lots of electric guitar, such as Endless Boogie’s Smoking Figs in the Yard, reproduced poorly: plenty of volume, but the treble was shrill. From a Mac, audio quality was very poor, but that’s probably down to Bluetooth rather than the speaker.

Even on an iOS device, if you listen to a lot of music, you won’t want to use the Big Jambox as your primary speaker. And therein lies the rub. At $416, you’ll want to use it more than occasionally. Spend a bit more and you could have a very good Airplay speaker (although AirPlay is limited to iTunes on a Mac and the Music app in iOS).

Description: The Big Jambox

The Big Jambox is stylish, well built, easy to set up and we want to like it very much. However, there are so many options for listening to music from a Mac, iPhone or iPad that it really has to deliver on audio fidelity. To our ears, it just doesn’t do that enough to warrant its price tag.


Price $416 inc VAT

From .com


Pro Well-built * Doubles as speaker phone * Easy to set up

Con Audio quality not up to scratch

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