Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Jambox Grows Up, Gets Bigger

The worst-kept recent secret in tech — aside from Google Drive — is out: Audio-gadget maker Jawbone has created a monster Jambox.

The original Jambox, for those not familiar, is a nifty Bluetooth-equipped speaker that wirelessly connects with the iPhone, iPad and Android phones to play music. It’s easy to see why, even at a price point of $199, the little Jambox has become the best-selling speaker in the U.S. — it’s small, sleek, and it works; plus, it’s easy to travel with, as I noted in this review of a competing speaker.

Starting today, a new, bigger version of the Jambox is available for preorder, and is expected to hit stores on May 15. The bigger Jambox is called — wait for it — Big Jambox.

Big Jambox is 10 inches long by 3.1 inches wide and 3.6 inches high, closer to the size of the shoebox-style box the original Jambox comes in. It weighs 2.7 pounds, is made of stainless steel with a polymer base and sides, and has music-control buttons on the top of the speaker, in addition to volume control.

Soundwise, Big Jambox definitely packs more power and better sound than the standard Jambox. It’s got Jawbone’s signature LiveAudio technology, which is supposed to digitally enhance the sound coming out of the speaker to create “3-D” sound. The company claims 15 hours of continuous play on Big Jambox without needing to recharge the built-in battery, although that’s with the volume output at 85 decibels, and not maxed out at 110 decibels.

Like the little Jambox, Big Jambox also acts as a two-way speaker for phone conversations and conference calls. And there’s a bonus feature for Android users: If a calendar reminder pops up on your phone while it’s paired to the speaker, the Jambox will read the reminder out loud, then patch you directly through to any phone numbers you might have put in the reminder.

Unlike the little Jambox, Big Jambox allows more than one person or one device to be paired with the speaker at the same time.

It will be interesting to see whether consumers buy into Big Jambox as much as they did the original. With its “little” Jambox, Jawbone was focused on mobility — in terms of both mobile-phone connectivity and portability. Now, even though the company insists that the new device weighs less than a rolled-up yoga mat, Big Jambox is no doubt a little less portable. Plus, with a price point of nearly $300, the Big Jambox will now go up against products like the the Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker.

At the same time, Big Jambox is still less expensive than speakers like the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air or the JBL OnBeat Xtreme Bluetooth speaker.


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