Review: JAMBOX (by Jawbone)

Seems the ALL CAPS naming convention of the JAMBOX was meant to convey a message: these portable speakers are LOUD. Jawbone has released a line of Bluetooth enabled portable speakers entitled the JAMBOX.

As I travel a fair amount, a good pair of speakers has become a necessity to enhance life on the road. I have tried a fair number of solutions: Internal speakers, headphones, USB and line-out-based portable speakers, even headphone out to a TV. Each of these are adequate, and in some cases can be fine.

However, I don’t live in the world of ‘fine’ (or I would be running Windows).

I needed something that produced excellent sound, could be loud and was as portable as possible.


I made a somewhat impulse buy at the Apple HQ store at the end of January 2011: the JAMBOX. I heard it was good, but it wasn’t until I returned to the hotel, when I heard how good. The sound quality is excellent: clean and crisp; good range with a bass that packs a wallop for a small device. Indeed, this is the first portable set of speakers anywhere close to this size that I had to turn down from the highest volume for fear of disturbing other rooms!

The volume is nice when playing in a noisier environment as well as providing a larger wall of sound at a party. It’s also the only pair of portables that let’s me clearly hear podcasts when I’m in shower (TMI?)

The feature set isn’t limited to sound quality. Because it supports stereo Bluetooth, there is no need for wires: a huge plus when moving the speakers around rooms or putting it bedside. If you wish to hook up a non-Bluetooth device, it does support line in.

JAMBOX speaker images

The JAMBOX Speakers

The speakers can play for approximately ten hours (nicely timed to the battery of the iPad) and will audibly provide battery charge at the press of a button. Very nice.


The JAWBONE comes in four designs and colors; the price is $199. While this is higher than many other speakers on the market, this is a textbook example of ‘you get what you pay for’.

Finally, the speakers also have a built in microphone to support phone calls. The integration with phones is excellent, sound quality is top notch, and this is the first speakerphone I have used where people do not know I am ‘on speaker’. In addition, the battery capacity is shown at the top of iPhone screens, giving a quick indication of how much is remaining.

In two words: highly recommended.

Review Summary

Jawbone JAMBOX
$ 199.99

FMEO Rating: 5 Macs
Rating: 5 Macs

System Requirements: Mac OSX 10.5 or higher

Strengths: great sound, ultra portable, long battery life, built in mic

Weaknesses: none