Jawbone is a very popular brand, and their Jambox speaker is well known and very iconic. In fact, if someone knows what a Bluetooth speaker is, they surely know what a Jambox is. It’s the luxury item of Bluetooth speakers, you could say. Simple, well built, gorgeous, and lacking where it counts. For some, it’s enough. But for those who really care about functionality, it may not be.
Price: $199.99 (you can find it for less)
Buy it from their site
Battery life: Up to 10 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio in
External device charging: No
What’s in the box: Jambox, charger, car charger (in the bundle I purchased), and a flat 3.5mm cable
This device was obviously designed with great care and attention to detail. Photos don’t do it justice, it’s a great looking speaker. The top and bottom are coated in a rubbery finish that adds grip to a device made to be carried around. The grill is also shaped into a diamond texture (on this model), which looks absolutely fantastic.
Jawbone sells many different versions of the Jambox, in many colors and even color combinations. You can customize your own, choosing colors for the grill and top/bottom segments, then choosing a grill pattern. It’s a really nice concept, to be able to personalize your speaker.
The controls on this speaker are simple but effective. The top has only three buttons. The plus and minus buttons are obviously volume up and down, while the big circle, when pressed, causes the speaker to tell you its battery status. Yes, it speaks to you. More on that in a moment.
Three of the sides are completely unadorned, screaming simplicity. The one side that has anything at all is the right side, with a switch, a 3.5mm jack for audio in, and a microUSB port. The switch can be pushed to the middle to turn the speaker on, or held all the way up to enter pairing mode.
Here is an interesting detail: This speaker likes to talk and make various noises. A lot. When you turn it on, it makes a beep. It also beeps differently when you turn it off. When you put it into pairing mode, it tells you it’s in pairing mode followed by yet another beep. The volume buttons beep when pressed. This thing does not stop making noise, even when no music is playing. It’s cool, it really is, but it gets old fast. It’s useful to an extent but is far too excessive to be a truly good design choice. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like my speaker making elongated beeps at me when I’m just trying to connect my phone to it.
In the end, I absolutely love the design. It looks great, it feels just fantastic, and I truly feel like I’m holding a $200 device. No other Bluetooth speaker has felt so good to just hold. Too bad it was such a dust magnet. I literally could not clean all the dust off.
The build quality in this speaker is amazing. It feels solid, no creaking, no flex, just a solid brick. It also has a great heft without being at all heavy. It just feels indestructible. Jawbone really tried hard to make this speaker last.
Here is where things get rough. I’m a bit of an audiophile, and no matter how well a speaker is built and no matter how great it looks, it is no good to me if it doesn’t sound good. And long story short, the Jawbone Jambox is no good to me.
Let me explain further. At full volume, it’s surprisingly quiet. But even so, it distorts the audio a lot. Seriously, the music is extremely distorted when played at full volume, and couldn’t fill my small room with loud music. Lowering the volume to the point where it no longer distorts means you couldn’t even dream of listening to this speaker at a good volume from more than 10 feet away unless it’s directly pointing at your earholes.
For a $200 device, I was extremely disappointed. There is no way a $200 device should sound this bad. Unfortunately, it does. Remember, these are the words of someone who expects a lot out of speakers, but when you’re paying $200 there is no excuse for such bad audio.
If you were looking to buy a Jambox and care about audio quality, just stop and look away. This does not sound like a $200 speaker, nor does it really sound like a $100 speaker at all. The Soundfreaq Sound Kick, while bigger, sounds absolutely fantastic for a measly $100 and is still portable.
If you don’t care about audio quality at all, and don’t care about distortion, and just want an attractive and well built speaker, and have a bit of extra money on your hands, this might be the speaker for you. It looks great, feels great, and is very portable. But the sound quality is absolutely unacceptable. I couldn’t recommend this for anyone. However, if you’re looking for a very small speaker like the Jambox on a budget, stay tuned to DroidDog! We have a review cookin that might be exactly what you needed.