In 2010, the folks at Jawbone unveiled the Jambox, a small, brick-shaped 12-ounce wireless Bluetooth stereo speaker that delivered surprisingly big sound. It cost $199 and doubled as a speakerphone.
Just over a year ago, Jawbone brought out a larger brick with even bigger sound, but also a bigger $299 price, the aptly named Big Jambox.
Now, Jawbone is at it again, and this time the company is going small again. On Wednesday, Jawbone announced the 9-ounce Mini Jambox, which comes in about half the size of the Jambox and retails for $179.99, same as the regular Jambox. The latest model is actually louder and clearer then the original despite its size, and like its sibling promises 10 hours of battery life. The original Jambox remains in the Jawbone lineup for now.
While that original brick is small and light enough to throw into a backpack and take to the road, Jawbone is positioning the Mini as an even more portable speaker. You can stash it in your pocket and pull it out when you want to bolster the sound of the music, game or movie emerging from your smartphone or tablet so that you can share it with your companions. The pitch is that this is the speaker you can always have with you, just as the camera in your phone is always there when you need it.
Mini Jambox comes in nine different colors and five designs, carrying the kind of names marketers love to drum up (Aqua Scales, Purple Snowflake, etc.). It's housed in a rigid aluminum unibody casing. On the inside, Jawbone says, are two neodymium drivers and a passive bass radiator.
Killspencer.com will be producing an elegant splash- and water-resistant handcrafted leather case that will allow music to play through. Pricing for the case wasn't announced in advance.
I paired the new speaker with an iPhone and iPad to watch YouTube, movie clips and to listen to an eclectic mix of music. I listened indoors and out and was quite impressed with the clear sound that came through -- whether I pumped up the volume or kept levels soft. As you might imagine, though, the Mini doesn't have quite the oomph of its Big Jambox sibling for providing the soundtrack at a large backyard barbecue. (continued...)
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