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We all have something we love, but may not recommend to others. A PC Engine, minidisc player, or Right Said Fred record collection, but whatever it is the universal theme is guilty pleasure. So let me introduce you to my latest guilty pleasure: the Aliph Jawbone Jambox.
If the Aliph name seems familiar to you, it should. The company may largely hide behind its Jawbone brand, but it has been responsible for arguably the best range of Bluetooth headsets on the market - currently spearheaded by the Prime and Icon. These products standout because of Aliph's attention to detail, class leading sound quality and slick design. So it stands to reason that if you're a dab hand at Bluetooth audio you should expand your remit... doesn't it?
Well kinda. With the Jambox Aliph has created its first Bluetooth portable speaker and it makes quite an entrance. Styled within an inch of a Cupertino secret lab, the Jambox is a great example of minimalist design at its very best. The top and bottom are constructed from hardwearing, tactile rubber which sandwich a metal grill that mimics the Jawbone Prime and Icon designs and brings an instinctive unity to the range. Each colour also has its own distinctive texturing: 'Black Diamond', 'Blue Wave', 'Grey Hex' and 'Red Dot'.
Furthermore, operation couldn't be simpler. At the right hand side of the Jambox is a micro USB port for charging, a 3.5mm audio input for wired connection and an on/off switch which can also be held in the on position to initiate pairing. Along the top are oversized plus and minus buttons to increase and decrease the volume and an indented circle which speaks the battery charge status when pressed, or initiates a loudspeaker conferencing mode (via built in mic) when held.
So far so good and things get even better on the software side as Aliph has co-developed it with MyTALK, an online platform which allows the Jambox to upgrade its firmware and work with third party apps. Currently these apps include new Jambox voices, the ability to dictate emails and SMS messages and even post content to Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps most exciting, however, is 'Simultaneous Multipoint', an app which lets two Bluetooth devices connect at once. In real terms this could mean connecting to a laptop/tablet for beefier audio when gaming then having it automatically switch over to your phone when a call comes in. Aliph really does excel at attention to detail and it means the Jambox is like no other portable speaker.
So why is it a guilty pleasure? Two significant reasons...