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Aliph Jawbone Jambox - Sound Quality, Price & Verdict
The problem you're likely to encounter is controversial only in context and that is audio quality. Aliph has a tremendous track record with Bluetooth headsets and the power it manages to crank out of a device measuring just 151 x 57 x 40mm is nothing short of remarkable. Sound does distort at maximum volume and you're not going to vibrate your window frames, but there's a surprising amount of bass via Bluetooth 2.1 EDR (enhanced data rate) and A2DP 1.2 (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and while a little muddy, sound is rich and conveys bags of emotion. It is perfectly suited for a dinner party or small gathering and at 327g you can put it in a pocket afterwards.
Aliph quotes output level at 85dB at 0.5m with frequency response of 60 Hz - 20 kHz and, given its size, it will be no shock that the Jambox uses proprietary acoustic drivers (stereo pair) and a proprietary passive bass radiator. In the strictest sense sound from the Jambox may not be amazing in its own right, but it is amazing for the size.
So where does the 'context' part come in? It is fundamentally tied to the second significant issue: price. Aliph is charging a whopping £159.99 for the Jambox and for that price (and a lot less) you can buy all manner of conventional speaker docks that offer louder, clearer, quite simply better sound quality that are also capable of charging your device. They may not be as portable as the Jambox, but you're paying one heck of a premium for Aliph's little speaker - no matter how well polished it may be.
At this point the majority of you will have decided to keep your money in your pocket and for that we can't blame you. It is a shame though, because there are still more good things about the Jambox. Key among these is battery life, with Aliph claiming up to 10 hours of continuous playback from a single charge. This can vary depending on volume level and audio content, but I topped eight hours at just under maximum volume feeding it a diet of BBC Radio Five Live, Gil-Scott Heron, The Indafels and The American Analog Set.
Aliph doesn't skip on the Jambox bundle either supplying 60in and 12.5in micro USB charging cables, a 36in stereo cable, A/C wall charger and carrying case. Is it a £159.99 bundle? No, but you'll want one nonetheless.
Buy a Jawbone Jambox and you'll be desperate to pull it out at parties and impress your friends. The problem is they'll ask you the price and you'll feel rather silly. Ultimately the Jawbone Jambox is a hugely impressive feat of engineering with admirably rich, powerful sound at mid and upper volume levels, but Aliph needs to price it under £100 if it really wants to be taken seriously.
Time for some Right Said Fred...
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