Top 3 Bluetooth Speakers: SWITCH, Braven 570 and JAMBOX

If you’re on the back of the bus and thinking of sharing your latest and greatest trapstep remix with your fellow passengers then we forbid you from reading this article. Or from taking the bus. If however, you are a sane and responsible member of society then you might at times want to amplify your smartphone’s sound system. We had a play with three Bluetooth speakers that go above and beyond the call of duty and do a little bit more than pump up the bass.

SWITCH

Native Union SWITCH

You probably remember Native Union from their chic take on phone handsets. They’ve applied that same eye for style and design to SWITCH a powerful, portable Bluetooth speaker, conference call unit and mobile power bank … all in one. The SWITCH is the newest speaker we’re looking at and its most useful function is obviously the combined output of its three speakers (including an active sub-woofer). However the SWITCH also doubles up as a portable battery, so if any of your many, many eligible devices need a top up it’s on hand to do the needful. And the SWITCH triples up as a conference call centre with its full-Duplex microphone enabling crystal clear group chats that I imagine business people have.

SWITCH is available online at NativeUnion.com for £129.99.

Braven-570

BRAVEN 570

The BRAVEN 570 wirelessly pairs with any Bluetooth-equipped smartphone, tablet or computer for 10 hours of audio playback. Like the SWITCH it also packs a internal battery – this time with 1200mAH so you can juice while your pump up the jams. And not to be outdone by the SWITCH, an internal microphone provides speakerphone functionality. The BRAVEN 570 may not look as pretty as SWITCH, but is a little prettier, encased in an impact-resistant polymer and is available in Arctic White or Lunar Black finishes,

The BRAVEN 570 speaker costs £99.99 and is available online for £99.99 from Braven.eu.

Jambox

Jawbone JAMBOX

Pretty much the speaker to beat in terms of mind share, the JAMBOX is a beautifully designed and lovingly assembled piece of hardware. Elegant in its simplicity the BIG JAMBOX I played with last year was one of my favourite bits of speaker tech. Unlike the other two the JAMBOX is not a portable battery, so you will have to make do with it’s dual role as a speaker and conference call centre. It’s no slouch in the design stakes however, and is available in a range of interesting colour combination (you can mix and match up to 100 varieties).

The JAMBOX is out now and can be found for a range of prices on Jawbone.com (expect to find one for between £120-145).

Jawbone Big Jambox: Booming bluetooth bass

The Jawbone Bluetooth headset is something of a shame. It’s great sound quality and slick design, packaged into something – a bluetooth headset – that looks inherently ridiculous when you wear it. So it was great when Jawbone brought out the Jambox, a small but powerful bluetooth speaker that went around collecting accolades wherever it when.

Jawbone’s Jambox is now back and bigger than ever with the Jawbone Big Jambox, a boombox worthy of Radio Raheem in the reboot of “Do The Right Thing” that I hope to god no-one is planning.

Big-Jambox

If you love the stylings of the Jambox, but like to party the Big Jambox is for you. Essentially a scaled up version, the Big Jambox adds a whole new world of booming bass sounds to bluetooth audio.

Set up and pairing is painless, (literally the push of a button) and there’s a warm voice to great you as well which is a nice touch. There’s everything you’d expect in a Bluetooth speaker (volume and playback control), couple with everything you’d expect in a Jawbone product (high quality audio and attention to detail).

It’s worth noting that this thing gets seriously loud and sounds amazing. The compact, sealed enclosure means you can’t see any of the magic at work but is also designed to eliminate energy loss for maximum power and volume. There are lots of carefully thought out elements like this all over the Big Jambox – down to the six rubber feet on the base which eliminate vibrations. It’s also great to look at and stands out in the room.

Inside the case are two proprietary active drivers and two opposing passive bass radiators. This is complemented by multiband compression to reduce distortion and a loudness compensation algorithm, which automatically adjusts the highs and lows to ensure the fullest sound at all volume levels. I’m writing this at 5 am and getting a rich sound from the Big Jambox without disturbing my flatmate (I hope).

“We designed Big Jambox to be artful and fit perfectly with how people live. Every element goes back to the purest expression of simplicity, performance and elegance – its compact size, the unique sound you hear when it’s turned on, the colours and the wrapped patterned steel grill. Well-designed products don’t sacrifice form or function.”
Yves Behar, chief creative officer for Jawbone.

A nice additional feature is 3D sound. Jambox and Big Jambox are the world’s first commercially available loudspeakers to feature 3D audio. The effect is most impressive when streaming binaural audio and we were treated to a demo of Pink Floyd’s “Money” when I went to a product demo earlier this month.

The Big Jambox comes in three designs (RED DOT, WHITE WAVE, and GRAPHITE HEX) and is available in the UK from today for £259 GBP at Apple, Dixons, Selfridges and Jawbone.com.

Jawbone Jambox: Brains and beauty

Aliph has ventured out into the big bad world beyond headsets (it makes those super-stylish noise-reducing Jawbone hedsets) and into the field of speakers.

It may look like an oversized Lego brick, but take a second look. The Jawbone Jambox is, according to its makers, the first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone in the world.

Jawbone-Jambox

How intelligent? Well, I’m not sure it’s planning to take A-levels any time soon, but it does sound like a smart cookie. It certainly looks smart – in a choice of colours – red, blue, black and grey, and a couple of designs, both of which look rather like those architectural novelties much loved of architects in the 70s or possibly something with a 50s retro vibe – take your pick. The Jambox can connect to mobile phones, tablets, iPods and computers – as well as any other Bluetooth device you may have knocking about.

Its mission? To allow you to easily stream and share movies, music, games – even phone and conference calls – wherever you are.

The speaker itself has two acoustic drivers and an ultra-small dome, which apparently can produce an audio spectrum that is almost as wide as that which can be heard by the human ear. These work together with a moving wall passive bass radiator and airtight enclosure – the makers say it’s the only one of its kind in an airtight speaker – that really deliver on the high and low ranges of your music.

It’s nice to know it comes with all the trimmings at this time of year – a travel adapter and USB cables for charging, a flat stereo cable should you need it, and a stylish fabric case.

The Jawbone Jambox comes in at £159.99 and is available from Jawbone from the end of November 2010.

Carphone Warehouse Christmas Preview: Jawbone Icon, HTC Wildfire and Samsung Galaxy

Latest Gadgets were invited to view the range of phones and accessories available from Carphone Warehouse. There is a definite trend towards phones which act as a social hub as most phones integrate networking sites.

Jawbone

The Nokia N8 is for the budding film-makers out there. The multimedia has a HD video recorder with a 3.2” HD Touchscreen. It has an impressive 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. What makes this phone special is the ability to be linked up to a TV using the HDMI output.  The N8 has access to Web TV services providing channels like CNN and Paramount. In addition, it is also the first phone from Nokia to run Symbian^3, an update to the Symbian OS, which provides multi-touch, gesture support and faster response times. Nokia N8 will be available from 1st October with pricing to be announced.

We got to play with the HTC Wildfire. This phone is made for social networking. It comes with the Friendstream App which displays texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates all in one place. You can post, tweet and upload without switching between apps. I found this so convenient to use. In addition, when a contact calls, their Facebook status, birthday will flash up along with their name and picture. It has 3.2” screen and a 5 megapixel camera. It is not quite as good as its big brother, HTC Desire due to the screen resolution but for a mid-range phone it is worth a consideration as it has some interesting features. It is currently available for free on a £20 a month contract.

Samsung Galaxy Europa was on show and got our hands on it. It is the only Android handset which comes with Music Anywhere preloaded. It provides access to your music from anywhere in the world.  It also includes Swype, allowing you to write a message by swiping your finger across the screen. Swype is responsive and fast to use. The Galaxy Europa has a 2.8” Touchscreen and 2 megapixel camera. Like the HTC it integrates social networking with convenient access to Facebook and Twitter. It runs Android 2.1 and is currently available from free on a £10 a month contract or £149.95 in PAYG.

Carphone Warehouse also had some accessories on show. We had a chance to try out the high-end bluetooth headset, Jawbone Icon. It comes in 6 styles to suit you. It is the only headset which shows the battery status on an iPhone screen. The audio voice can be customized online to one of 6 voices.  Icon can be customised with apps so that use your voice to text and email while you drive to keep your hands free. You can also connect to two phones at the same time. Available from £69.99 from Carphone Warehouse. Happy calling!