Pros - Not too heavy for a backpack (great campanion for an MP3 player at work or on the go).
- Solid, full and brilliant (but not grating) sound (which needs just a bit of EQing to meet more audiophile expectations - see below).
- Wired option to save batter
Cons - Small gripe: Loud start-up and shut-down sound and voice annoucement of "readiness" rather annoying (but you can turn them off temporarily each time you turn it on or off by pressing the "minus" button at the same time you power up or down). Would be be
Summary For starters, I'll admit I am VERY fussy about sound. I pay big bucks for great live music equipment and stereo stuff. I bought a Cowon J3 (fantastic MP3 player for audiophiles) instead of the rather bland-sounding iPod or similar. AND I make avid (but not exaggerated) use of EQ options (presets) to tweak my sound to match whatever earbuds, portable speakers, car stereos or home systems I might be hooking my music up to.
That said, I will also admit I simply LOVE this small, sleek, tonally sexy device!!! It's quickly become part of my standard on-the-go electronic gear, featuring the Cowon J3 and an iPad 2 (also used for music listening). I had previously used the Mobi Wavemaster recharageable speaker at a fraction of the cost of the Jambox, just to be free of using earbuds at work. (Employer blocks audio streaming and Web radio on our network, so you have to BYOM = Bring Your Own Music.)
Enter the JamBox: While nowhere near as insanely loud is the company claims it to be, you CAN tweak the unit's EQ (via your player) to get considerably more drive and hi-fi sound out of it. By my books, there is no better solution for on-the-go use. But you have to do your homework.
Here's how: If you own a Cowon J3 or other MP3 player that features user-configurable EQs (and not just set presets that rarely fit your own musical taste across several genres and properly compensate for specific earbud or speaker downsides), then you're home free! Just hit the sittings, head for the user EQ presets, select individual frequency bands (at least 5 are nice to have) and bandwidths, and use the good ears in your head to judiciously shape the sound of the JamBox to be a little less nasal in the mids, and tweak a bit more sparkle out of the highs and a bit more "oomph" out of the lows.
If you own an iPad (or presumably also an iPod), the first - and only - thing you need to do is stop using the nice-looking but sonically limited iPod app and buy "EQu". I got it for around EUR 2.39 yesterday, and it's got everything I need to shape my sound for a great (and sufficiently loud and undistorted!) listening experience on the JamBox.
Don't like doing ANY tweaking of the sound? Prefer presets? OK, maybe even then you'll be content with the JamBox, but I wasn't quite. Believe me: You can get a MUCH nicer tone out of it with a bit of minor effort. You don't need to keep switching EQs from one style of music to the next; just find the speaker's sweet spots, use them to best advantage, lower the levels in the mid range a bit and leverage the speaker's strong bass reponse in certain frequencies to give it even more foundation.
Too fictitious for you? OK, I'll reveal my current settings if it's helpful for anyone, though ears and musical tastes differ vastly (which is, by the way, why EQ presets called "Rock" or "Jazz" or "Classical" are rubbish). This is just my humble attempt to give you a general direction to go in...
On the iPad 2, using the EQu app: I popped in about 12 "handles" at which to bend the frequency curve. I ended up with just under a "thumb's width" of bass boost around 32 Hz , a bit less than that at about 70 Hz, then only about half a thumb's width at 120 or so, coming right down to zero +/- at about 350. From there, the curve dips BELOW the zero line (important when EQ'ing, since taking something away makes something else stick out better, AND saves you from too much gain leading to digital distortion and a generally overloaded sound). Around 1k, I've got the curve a bit less than an pinky's width below zero. From there, the curve gradually begins to head back up, passing by 2k and - at the zero line - 4k. Then it swings up rather steeply to be about 3/4's of a thumb's width high at around 5.5 k. There it continues with a slight downward slope on to 8k, only to nudge its way up a bit higher, to nearly a full thumb's width, at about 15 k, peaking even a bit higher at 16 k.
Sound complicated? It isn't. It's basically a "bath-tub curve" with a few irregularities, and the middle of the tub below zero a bit. You'll be amazed at how intuitive it is to tweak your sound using this nifty app (and I have no connection with its makers - just read a couple reviews on it and decided to take a chance on it). You can save presets on the fly, numbering them as you go, and swipe-to-delete your previous attempts when you find you're reaching perfection. Oh yeah, and before you dumbly assume that EQu doesn't show cover art like I did, let it be said that those three little colored dots at the lower left of the screen toggle you between the spectral wave view and a cover view.
With the Cowon J3, I found a similarly pleasing sound without an app, since the player has some nice EQ built in. Also switched on a bit of MP3 enhance, BBE and bass boost.
With either solution, you end up with sound you can pump up to a rather loud subjective level without any distortion. Not earth-shattering, but very enjoyable!
This review says less about the JamBox than on how to get the best out of it, and I hope that will help you to decide to buy it, since it's a decision you certainly won't regret if you have audiophile ambitions and bit of patience at EQing.
One more note: The iPad 2 has a rather weak output, compared with the Cowon J3.
Incidentally: All of the above is based on using the JamBox with the supplied cable, as opposed to using Bluetooth. While I also like the Bluetooth sound, there is no comparison, and you may need to tweak your EQs esp. for use with Bluetooth.
"It Does the Job"on by Biz101
Pros Small, Battery life is beyond the 8hrs that Jawbone says, closer to 10 or 11.
Decent Sound, Loud enough for a deck or a room to fill in
Easy to carry from room to room
Blue tooth works beyond the 33 feet
I can go up or down a floor and it still does
Cons Not as loud as they claim
It will "walk" off a shelf or table if you're not carefull!!!!
Summary Great little box to take with you to the beach, park or deck or even near the pool.
Has some neat upgrades like caller id and different voice tones.
Pros I have never seen a more Apple product arrive outside of Apple. Even the packaging that the Jambox comes in is extremely cool (keep it on my shelf). Very simply to connect, uses standard mini-USB for charging/connecting and generates excellent sound from
Cons If it were a little bit less expensive everyone would have one.
Summary A must have device for road warriors and/or folks with a home office looking for an excellent speakerphone. An excellent way to play music from any bluetooth device in a compact, stylish device that delivers on sound quality.
Pros The Jambox's size is ideal for carrying around from work to home, its integrated speaker is a nice touch, and the design is eye-catching. Connects as easily as stated on Jawbone's website with multiple devices and is easy to use.
Cons Complaint #1: POOR battery life while in Bluetooth connected mode. Only lasted a mere hour or less when I was listening to music via bluetooth from my ipod touch.
#2: NOT as loud as Jawbone claims it is.
#3: WAY TOO EXPENSIVE
Summary Bottom line, I have had this Jambox for 2 days and am returning it now because of the extremely poor battery life while in bluetooth mode and because of the sub-par audio output. Don't get me wrong, it puts out decent sound at a desk, but you will have to keep re-charging this device every hour or just leave it connected to a power source in order to fully appreciate it.I returned my Jambox to Jawbone and am pleasantly surprised with their customer support. EXCELLENT customer service with no complaints. Processed my refund with minimal questions - mostly for R&D purposes.
When paired with my phone, the integrated speaker had a delay of 3-4 seconds when talking with another person on the line, and the clarity of the call was poor; the person on the other line stated that my voice was muffled.
This product is decent, but needless to say, it has to go back. The size is excellent, design flawless, audio output fair, and battery life poor.
The other chief complaint is the outrageous cost for the device: $200. For this price, save another $200 and consider buying a Bose Sounddock (although it doesn't support Bluetooth connectivity).
Ways to improve the product:
1) extended battery life
2) better audio quality (making the product bigger?)
3) decreased price - this should be in the range of $80 - $120, not $199.99
Updated on Nov 24, 2010
Update: i charged the Jambox for a full 3 hours and the Jambox gave me 8+ hours of playing time via Bluetooth. However, the sound is still not to my liking. This Jambox is good for a single room or a small room, NOT for a large space as advertised in Jambox's advertisement video. Good for small rooms, etc.
Pros At close range it sounds ok
Cons I get as much pop and hiss as I did on my 1970s LPs! Constantly get the message that there has been a blue tooth error. The annoying blooping sound when start up or shut down.
Summary This is my SECOND Jambox and only because the first one I bought essentially didn't work or if it did, only sporadically. The worst part was the hassle I had to go through to get it replaced. Yes, Jambox did finally send me a new one but said that I would have no guarantee on it, because I refused to pay for the postage to California (from BC) - - heck, why should I when I'd spent $200 on a 'Jambox guaranteed' device that didn't work?
The 2nd one, while better, still has issues: pop and hiss like our old LPs for crying out loud! Blue tooth failure? I don't know why this happens everyday several times a day in mid-stream. Then, the delay to get it to connect with its annoying blooping noise.
On the positive side, when it's working properly, in a small space, it can sound good (not loads of volume but certainly adequate for the size). Packing up is easy: you can throw it in a backpack or purse and off you go.
In the end I would not buy another Jambox: too expensive for the hassle.