We’ve had a lot of experience reviewing the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but what haven’t yet covered speakers so small, you can actually wear them, put them on your bike, or listen to them in the shower. We have two for you today.
The first of these is the $30 Divoom Bean, a small, durable little Bluetooth speaker that looks a little like a ‘smurf lock’ and is the size of a large egg with a carabiner attached (blue above). It weighs almost nothing and it charges via a micro-USB port on the bottom. It only has 2 buttons on it, a power button and ‘phone’ button. You’ll need to change volume from your phone or other A2DP Bluetooth device and this device seems to automatically switch off after a few minutes of inactivity. It also functions as a speakerphone.
How did it fare in our tests?
The Bean, as I call it, is actually surprising good sounding and much improvement over an iPhone or iPad’s built in speakers. It doesn’t compete with more expensive portables like a $80 Logitech Mini Boombox and the bass get tinny pretty fast at high volumes however. But the sound was overall surprisingly loud for such a small, cheap speaker. As for the speakerphone, again, not high end but it was surprisingly crisp, on both ends of the call, for a small, cheap Bluetooth speaker.
Some downsides: Although it is wrapped in a silicone skin which helps pad the device for drops, it is not waterproof. I kept it away from splashing water in my shower and didn’t have any issues but there’s no guarantees here. Also, it doesn’t have a AUX port if you wanted to plug directly into a headset you are out of luck. Finally, I wasn’t able to achieve the stated 6 hours of battery at a reasonable volume that is quoted with this product. I think you are likely to get 4-5 hours (which is still pretty damn good). My times ranged from just under 4 minutes to about 5:20 on the high end.
Still, it is hard to argue with such a small, light, durable inexpensive speaker/speakerphone that delivers sound good enough to rock out in a shower or on a bike ride. It comes in 6 different color combinations (Below) and is $29.99 shipped.
The green speaker you see above is the Boombot Rex, a more high end speaker with dual 36mm drivers and full sound. Like the Bean, it is covered in silicone/plastic which softens falls but also in this speaker allows it to withstand some snow, mud and the elements. It is ‘water resistant’ not water proof so don’t go throwing this in the pool. On the back it has a strong, high quality clip which you can pop onto your bike, shower or just about anywhere. It is about double the weight of the Bean above but still comes in under a pound and 3x3x2 inches in size.
The Boombot Rex also works as a speakerphone and does well in this capacity. The Rex not only has an AUX line in but also has a line out for more audio options. If you are feeling game, you can also connect a few of these up and get a sound separated stereo effect. It charges via Micro-USB and I found the 6 hour stated battery life to be more believable than the Bean above.
As with the people in the video above, I found the sound to be better than a Jambox overall in a reduced size package. If I’m spending $100 on pure sound I would probably still grab a Logitech Mini Boombox but the portability, clip, weather-proofing and style are bound to earn some converts.
There is currently a $99 special on the Bobot Rex at 9to5Toys for Plox or Aluminum colors or about $105 at Amazon in 5 colors.
- The Boombot REX (Plox) for $100 (specials.9to5toys.com)
- Jawbone announces Mini Jambox at jaw-dropping $179 price, ships end of September (9to5mac.com)
- Logitech Mini Boombox Bluetooth speaker in various colors: $80 Shipped (9to5toys.com)