Gadling Gear Review: Jawbone Jambox Portable Speaker

The Jawbone Jambox portable speaker systemA few years back the Bluetooth portable speaker market was a small one that mainly consisted of tiny, underpowered speakers with mediocre sound. Then along came the original Jambox by Jawbone and consumers realized it was possible to get high quality sound in a small, yet stylish, package. Since then, the company has continued to refine the product, offering new features and updates. Their latest innovation even allows customers to personalize the look of their Jambox by selecting from literally hundreds of different color patterns.

Starting tomorrow, Jambox customers are invited to Remix their speakers by selecting from a variety of grill colors and styles, and matching them with their choice of body color. This allows you to choose exactly how your Jambox will look and gives you the option to create one using the colors of your favorite sports team, alma mater or what ever else appeals. The process is fun, easy and doesn’t add any additional costs to the Jambox’s $199 price. Once you’ve selected your personal look, Jawbone will custom build your Jambox and ship out in about a week.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the new Remix process and after spending a little time on the Jawbone website, I was able to order my own custom Jambox. It took just a few days to get it in my hands and like previous models, the speaker features great build quality and sounds fantastic. The diminutive device is just 6 inches in length and weighs about 12 ounces, which makes it an excellent travel companion. An included soft case helps to keep the speaker well protected when not in use.Jawbone Jambox RemixFor those who haven’t used a wireless speaker like the Jambox before, it pairs via Bluetooth with your smartphone, tablet or laptop and allows you to stream audio from any source. That means you can listen to music, podcasts, movies or just about anything else. Considering its size, the Jambox is capable of putting out an impressively big sound and it can easily fill a room with your favorite tunes. While putting the device through its paces, I enjoyed listening to Pandora, Last.fm and Spotify, both at home and on the go, and was constantly impressed with how loud and clear the audio was. In fact, be careful when using it for the first time. When I started jamming tunes on mine it actually scared the heck out of my cat.

The Jambox has built in voice cues that are actually quite helpful. For instance, it’ll let you know when it has powered on, when it’s in discovery mode for Bluetooth pairing and even how much battery life remains. The pre-programmed voice works well, but Jambox users can download a number of other unique voices from the Jawbone MyTalk website. MyTalk also has some installable apps to extend the functionality of your Jambox, and when connecting to the site, it’ll even check to be sure you’re running the most recent firmware.

As if being a great portable sound system wasn’t enough, the Jambox also works as a hands free speakerphone too. While testing it in this mode, calls were clear both on my end and those that I was chatting with, which isn’t always the case with similar speakers from competitors. Speakerphone mode not only works with your favorite cellphone, but also Skype, Facetime and just about anything else that uses a microphone. A round button on top of the device not only activates the mic but also grants access to Siri.

All in all, the Jambox is a great portable speaker that travelers will love to have with them. Its ability to wirelessly play back audio of just about any type makes it a great option for entertainment on the go and its ability to act as a quality speakerphone is a welcome addition. With a battery life of about ten hours, you won’t need to worry about charging it often and its rugged construction makes it more than road ready. The fact that you can now order one custom built in your favorite colors is simply icing on the cake. It makes an already excellent product even better.

Review: Jawbone ICON Earwear Collection Bluetooth headset

Jawbone Icon

Ah, the Bluetooth headset – the kind of gadget you either love or hate. If you love them, you’ll probably have one stuck to your head 24/7. The Jawbone series of headsets from Aliph have long been considered the best of the best in Bluetooth – and rightfully so. Even in its first version back in 2006, Jawbone headsets used technology not found on any other headset.

Since then, Jawbone headsets have come a long way – and the newest generation not only improves on the sound quality, but also reduces the size of the headset. In this review, we’ll take a look at the new Jawbone ICON Suede.

Right away, the ICON headset grabs your attention – it is small, and the outer silver plastic shell is wavy. On the back of the headset is the signature bone conducting sensor, earpiece and a physical on/off switch. On the top are several microphones, and a multi-function button is on top, just above a MicroUSB charge/connection port.

Comfort is high on my list of expectations from any Bluetooth headset, and the ICON really does deliver. Inside its box is a variety of earpieces and an earloop. With these, you can fit the headset using a silicone earbud or an earbud with hook. The earbuds all come in several sizes.

Charging the headset is simple – an AC charger is included, along with a neat rigid/flexible MicroUSB cable. This allows you to charge the ICON using wall power, or your computer.Jawbone Icon

The USB cable also lets you connect the headset to your PC to use with the MyTALK suite of applications. More on that in a moment.

Sound quality is obviously just as important as comfort – and once again, the Jawbone Icon does not disappoint. Even in the nosiest environment, callers on the other end of the line commented how clear I sounded. At one point I was driving with my car window open, and the wind barely made an impact on the call quality. Of course, the more unwanted noise the headset has to cancel, the more muffled the call may become – but it beats the alternative.

Jawbone Icon

The Jawbone MyTALK feature is quite brilliant. This web based application suite lets you configure settings on your headset, load new text to speech voices, and even load new Dial Apps. These apps provide instant access to frequently dialed numbers, voice dialing, 411 services and even online notation services. Blackberry users can add a battery meter. Take things even further by adding instant access to music stations like AOL Radio and you’ll extend your headset way beyond what most other brands offer.

Other features inside the headset include support for A2DP streaming music and spoken instructions – yes – the headset will read caller ID and its battery level to you. Of course, it also supports multi-point connections, allowing you to connect to more than one device at the same time.

If new features are released, the MyTALK site can even take care of firmware updates for your headset, making it futureproof.

Of course, all these neat features come at a price – the Jawbone ICON retails for $99. However, with excellent sound quality, good looks and a variety of apps and other updateable features, this may very well be the last headset you ever need.

The new Jawbone ICON Earwear collection is available in four styles. To learn more about the Jawbone headsets, to compare models, or to place an order, head on over to Jawbone.com.

Jawbone expands into portable speakers with the new Jambox

Jawbone Jambox

Jawbone, one of the biggest names in Bluetooth headsets recently announced their newest addition – the Jambox. The Jambox takes all the best parts of a Jawbone headset, and adds it to a portable speaker. Inside the Jambox are two acoustic drivers and a “bass radiator”.

The device supports the Jawbone MyTALK application suite, and its built in microphone lets you hold conference calls when connected to a suitable Bluetooth device.

The Jambox is available in black, blue, red or silver, and retails for $199.99. While this may seem like an insane amount of money for “just a speaker”, according to Engadget, the technology inside the Jambox was developed in part by the brains behind the amazing Soundmatters foxL which we reviewed this summer.

Bottom line is simple – you pay a lot, and you get a lot in return. The reviews of the Jambox confirm this. We hope to have our own review here on Gadling as soon as we can.

To check out the other features of the Jambox, or to order your own, head on over to the Jambox site.