David Lumm is a professional programmer and all round geek with a passion for taking complex things and making them simple.
I love music. I love listening to music, I love creating music, I’ve even worked a couple of sound desks in my time, but I wouldn’t really call myself an audiophile. In fact, it’s time I made a confession – I listen to a lot of music on youtube with just one earphone in… Sorry.
The last time I bought any kind of speaker for portable music enjoyment was a fairly long time ago. They were connected to a portable CD player. Yeah. CDs. Remember those? The speakers took 4 “C” cell batteries. The humble C cell seems to have fallen much out of fashion. But before we go down that reminiscing tangent, let’s turn our attention to the present day.
Little bluetooth speakers have been around a few years but up until now I’ve not really felt the need to get one. The built in speaker on my phone was good enough for listening myself, then I’ve got a media centre and a record player for all my listening at home. And anyway, such a small speaker would sound tinny and naff. Wouldn’t it?
And then I was sent the Olixar BabyBoom Bluetooth Mini Speaker to review…
First of all this thing is small, just over 5 cm square and about 5 cm tall. I’ve seen it described as smaller than a tennis ball. It probably weighs about the same too! This isn’t going to be a hard one to carry around with you. It even has a wrist strap so you can carry it around and still have full use of both hands.
The packaging was a little disappointing. A bit fiddly and not as elegant as we’ve come to expect from our top gadgets; that being said, you’re only going to open it once. Inside the packaging is the speaker and a second box, inside the (difficult to access and tricky to open) second box are a charging cable, 3.5mm jack cable, wrist strap and some brief instructions. If you’ve ever used any bluetooth device you may not need to put much attention on the instructions, even so, it’s nice that they’re in English.
Button presses on the speaker are usefully met with voice feedback, this easily makes up for the lack of any display – a display would use too much power for the few times you might need it.
Just 1 and half hours charge gets you up to 6 hours of listening time and boy can this thing produce some sound. I may not be an audiophile, but I enjoy hearing the full range of sound and this incredible little speaker can producing a booming bass to justify the name as well as a pretty impressive top range. I’ve yet to find a situation where I can safely turn the speaker up to full volume without becoming a nuisance neighbour. It’s that loud!
One thing that didn’t seem to work for me was the volume controls on the speaker itself, but that’s probably just my phone. I don’t mind controlling the volume from the phone, though. My mobile is pretty recent, running Android 4.4, but your mileage may vary.
The speaker is pretty rugged – my three year old can attest to that. I guess the tennis ball likeness was too much for him. Still it just keeps on going, so that is pretty good. Reasonably rugged it might be, but I still wouldn’t recommend being overly rough with it.
As if all that wasn’t enough, that little speaker can also be used for hands-free calling with your phone. You can even use it as a speaker for your old CD player, if you really want, thanks to the good old fashioned 3.5mm jack socket.
At £24.99 this seems to be well worth the investment. If you’re ever likely to be in a situation where it might be useful then I’d say give it a go! Think music at the beach, park or BBQ. Go make the most of the tunes on your mobile!
Do you have a bluetooth speaker? Do you find the speakers on your phone are usually good enough? Why not tell us about it in the comments?
The product for the review was supplied by MobileFun.co.uk who have recently added the BabyBoom to their huge range of accessories.