JAMBOX Wireless Speaker by Jawbone

JAMBOX Wireless Speaker by Jawbone

JAMBOX Wireless Speaker by Jawbone

Click images to enlarge

Many years ago, in a far away land called college, I was a rower. Every weekend, I had regattas and races all over the East coast, varying from one day to a week in length. All allowed for a lot of down time to sit around and do nothing, as crews raced by on the water.

I remembered one race distinctly, where a friend and I – bored to tears, baking in the sun, and broke – wanted to get snow cones to treat ourselves after a race. We had no idea how to get money or who could loan us money, so we decided to tape an iPod/FM transmitter to a heavy boombox, walk around the race blasting Phil Collins, dancing for money. Twenty minutes (and sore shoulders) later, we made many friends and $15 for snow cones. The reward was definitely worth the effort but, damn, was that boombox annoying to lug around–especially if you are dancing.

That exposition aside, the boombox is a cumbersome product: large, bulky, ugly, and dated. It isn’t as fun as it could be. I would even go to say that it is currently extinct. There is no need to be able to blast your music with you, to more than five people around you, unless you are a pre-school teacher or some over enthusiastic singing emcee at a Vacation Bible School. Even if you do need to, you don’t want to have to tote around a ten pound box.

In the iPhone age, I have no reason to ever use a boombox, since the iPhone has it has its own built in speakers. Unless I am at my computer or have headphones, I have no use for plugging in an external speaker. If I am making dinner, taking a shower, throwing a picnic in the park, having an impromptu dance party: my iPhone speakers are perfectly sufficient for me…or are they?

The JAMBOX by Jawbone makes a very strong case that you and I do in fact need a boombox in 2010. For music? Not necessarily. For life? Yes. I have had the Jambox for almost two weeks now and–damn–my life done changed. When I am making dinner, taking a shower, throwing a picnic in the park, having impromptu dance parties, I have this Bluetooth powered, portable, forearm sized, “Damn, you can get loud!” boombox to blast anything I want. You wouldn’t think that this is valuable but, believe me, it sure as hell is.

If the product was just a sound amplifier, then it would be pretty silly and–duh–you could get that anywhere, from anyone. What makes the JAMBOX so special is that it also works as a wireless speaker for your computer or iPad/iPod and can conduct conference calls: it is perfect for anyone on the go, anyone with a transitory office, or any modern person with modern problems (like wanting to listen to NPR when you wake up). You don’t think about how often you are listening until something makes listening better. The Jambox does just that.

One of the most important aspects of the product is its beautiful design and simplistic functionality. As Jawbone describes it, the product is “part technical wonder, part modernist artwork,” a statement that could not be truer. In four different, discreet colors/designs (Black Diamond, Red Dot, Gray Hex, and Blue Wave) and priced a little over two hundred dollars, it would be quite unfortunate for you to not own this product. The JAMBOX is the modern person’s answer to amplification. If you own a laptop, a tablet device, and/or a smartphone, I urge you to think about the advantages of getting one (because there are a lot).

I mean, just think about it: what if you have to dance for money in the near future? I can tell you that if I had a JAMBOX, I sure as hell would have made more than fifteen dollars.


7 Comments JAMBOX Wireless Speaker by Jawbone

  1. Sean Madden March 1, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    To your point about the boombox being extinct, it would appear TDK doesn’t think so:


    An interesting revival of an old object. Should be fun to watch how the market receives it.

  2. Jeff March 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    We tried to switch over to Jambox for our conference calls, but have had nothing but trouble with it. Anyone else having issues with that?

  3. Tadeu Magalhães March 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I just returned my Jambox a couple days ago. I received it last week from Amazon and I was really excited with the reviews and what I had read about it around the web. The thing is, it didn’t sound nearly as good as I expected. The bass was pretty good, but trebles and mid-frequencies were poor. I listen to a lot of electronic music, and after a couple days it became clear that I would not be able to enjoy my music listening to glitch sounds at every beat. That happened constantly, with mp3 that were either 192 or 320kbps, at low or high volumes.

    I figured that for $50 more I could get a Phillips Fidelio speaker system that is also bluetooth and sounds much better. Of course, it’s not as portable, it’s bigger, but I choose quality over portability.

    The Jambox has a really catchy design and the concept is great. It’s a shame it doesn’t sound crystal clear. I was really disappointed.

  4. pneumonio March 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    i bought the Jawbone Jambox Reddot, blue tooth synced it with mac book pro sound quality was horrible. only sounded good when plugged in with chord. also if u buy one make sure u place it on a shock absorbing surface because it WILL vibrate and fall off most surfaces. this happened to me and the usb port fell into box making it useless. i did receive a replacement but i think it was refurbished because the sound quality isnt the same as the first one.

  5. Kevin March 1, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I’ve had my Jambox for several months and I couldn’t agree more. Netflix on your iPhone becomes a worthy experience!

  6. Ben King March 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I really appreciate the couple of video game articles Kyle’s posted recently (The Tally & Limbo), and look forward to more soon. They feel like an overdue compliment to the animation and music that Bobby posts occasionally, and I’m totally glad to see them.
    But… the light-hearted push for readers to purchase in this and the ipod games article grates with me. I like the conversational commentary we get here, with the 4 contributors and Bobby just bringing stuff they like to our attention. However, articles that veer toward product review aren’t what I hope to fing. The string of comments below the product’s performance are sorta what I mean. I’d rather hear folk’s thoughts on the boom box being extinct than see the comments board here turn into a product review.
    That being said, the boom box totally isn’t dead, it’s just being incorporated into mutant offspring like this and the FM3 BUDDHA MACHINE. Though i doubt you’ll see anyone blasting fuzzy ambient music out of one on the street corner. Ever.

  7. Bobby Solomon March 1, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    @Sean Madden – I personally think music products are becoming smaller, not larger, especially when you start thinking about Apple products. Imagine you wanted to travel and have a portable speaker with you, would you take that big ol’ boombox or a tiny speaker?

    @Jeff – I haven’t had any problems with that, but I can imagine that would be annoying.

    @Tadeu It sounds to me like your expectations were a bit unrealistic. It’s a 6″x 2.25″ x 1.5″ box, it’s got to have it’s own limitations. Kyle, nor I, are all that worried about our music sounding amazing, we just like to have a speaker we can bring around with us.

    @pneumonio – We haven’t experienced anything like that, neither the poor sound quality or the vibration problem. How loud do you have your Jambox?! haha

    @Kevin – I can’t wait to get a new iPad and try that, I’m sure it’ll sound awesome.

    @Ben King – There’s no such “push” to buy anything, we’re simply sharing the things that we love to use. I wrote about that I bought a JAMBOX on Twitter and a lot of readers wanted to know what I thought of it. Maybe you weren’t a fan of this post, but there are people out there who did enjoy it.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *