Jawbone Mini Jambox Bluetooth speaker

A colourful and compact Bluetooth speaker with excellent build quality, let down by price and volume

Jawbone Mini Jambox
  • Jawbone Mini Jambox
  • Jawbone Mini Jambox
  • Jawbone Mini Jambox
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Compact, well built design
  • Reasonable sound quality at low volume
  • Excellent companion iOS/Android app

Cons

  • Distorts at maximum volume
  • Limited volume levels
  • Overpriced

Bottom Line

Jawbone's Mini Jambox stands out for all the right reasons. This colourful and compact Bluetooth speaker boasts excellent build quality and produces reasonable sound quality, but it's overpriced and distorts at maximum volume.

Would you buy this?

There may be a wealth of similar sized, compact speakers currently available on the market, but Jawbone's Mini Jambox stands out for all the right reasons. This colourful and compact Bluetooth speaker boasts excellent build quality and produces reasonable sound quality, but it's overpriced and distorts at maximum volume.

Unibody aluminum design

Compact size and eye-catching design.

The most notable aspects of the Jawbone Mini Jambox are its compact size and eye-catching design. The speaker is constructed from a single piece of aluminium and feels extremely sturdy despite its small footprint. It's available in six different colours, and five different aluminium textures on both the back and the front including Red Dot, Silver Dot, Graphite Facet, Blue Diamond, Aqua Scales and Purple Snowflake. At 255g, the Mini Jambox is lightweight, especially taking into account the unibody aluminium frame.

The design isn't all about looks and is pretty practical, too. Two small rubber feet on either ends of the bottom cleverly prevent the Mini Jambox from sliding around on a desk or table, while the playback controls on the top (volume up, down and play/pause) are raised above the edge of the aluminium and have a sturdy, clicky feel.

On the right side you'll find a power button with surrounding LED ring, a pairing key, a 3.5mm line-in port, and a micro-USB port for charging and for connecting to a computer for future software updates. In a nice design touch, Jawbone includes a 3.5mm audio cable and micro-USB to USB charging cable that matches the colour of the Mini Jambox. The audio cable features a flat-style cord, so it doesn't tangle very easily.

Also located on the right side is a built-in microphone, which means the Mini Jambox can be used as a hands-free speakerphone. Incoming audio quality is reasonably loud and clear, though you'll need to sit relatively close to the unit when on a voice call to ensure outgoing audio is clearly audible.

Packs a punch, but distortion evident

Perfectly adequate for soft, background music.

The Mini Jambox can pair with two devices simultaneously using multipoint Bluetooth technology. Pairing a Bluetooth-enabled device is as simple as holding down the pairing button to activate pairing mode, then accepting the connection on the device. The Mini Jambox will alert you with a number of spoken commands during use including battery level status, Bluetooth connection status and what device the speaker is connected to. The commands are basic, such as "battery is about full" and "iPad connected", but they are a nice touch.

Jawbone says the Mini Jambox utilises two custom, stereo drivers with neodymium magnets, along with a passive bass radiator. Sound quality is reasonably impressive considering the size. While many users will long for more thumping bass, the Mini Jambox produces reasonably good bass notes at lower volumes. Equalisation is also impressive, as audio sounds clear and crisp even at very low volumes. This makes it perfectly adequate for soft, background music at a low key house party, for example.

Notable distortion on or close to the maximum volume.

Where the Mini Jambox struggles is when you start to increase volume levels. There's notable distortion on or close to the maximum volume level, and audio lacks the loudness of many competing devices. The much cheaper (though slightly larger) Logitech UE Mini Boom offers higher volume levels, for example, and can fill a small to medium sized room with sound. The similar priced Bose SoundLink Mini can play audio at louder volumes without distortion.

Jawbone promises the Mini Jambox's internal battery will last for up to 10 hours of music playback, and up to 75 hours of standby time. We managed around nine hours of use on most occasions, though do keep in mind that battery life will lessen when listening at maximum volume levels.

A Jawbone app for the Mini Jambox on both iOS and Android platforms is available as a free download. The best feature is the ability to add and curate playlists from multiple sources including iTunes, Spotify and Rdio. However, the feature is currently iOS only at the time of writing and merely "coming soon" to Android devices.

The iOS and Android app allows you to customise the Play button on the Mini Jambox.
The iOS and Android app allows you to customise the Play button on the Mini Jambox.

The app also allows you to change voice prompts, customise the Play/pause button, and activate a LiveAudio mode that simulates 3D stereo sound. There are 18 downloadable voice prompts available, while the Play button can be customised to activate certain features. These include skipping tracks or redialing a call when pressed twice, three times, or pressing and holding.

The Jawbone Mini Jambox is available now in Australia for $229.99 through Apple stores and online, Telstra stores, Optus stores, and Optus online.

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