- Clean, stylish design
- Excellent projection of audio
- High quality portable speakerphone
- Average audio quality & weak bass performance
- Heavy, impractical travel design
- Bluetooth streaming lacks aptX
Manufacturer: Aliph Jawbone
Aliph is a company with great ambition. After years of making arguably the best Bluetooth headsets on the market it has expanded radically in the last 18 months with the Up lifestyle monitor and hugely successful Jambox portable speaker. For a company clearly thinking big creating a larger Jambox appears a logical next step.
Design and Features
The wonderfully-named Big Jambox is the result and it is exactly what the name suggests: a larger version of the Jambox. This means a significant jump from 151 x 57 x 40mm and 327g to 256 x 93 x 80 mm and 1.23kg though the styling is identical. On paper this makes sense. The Jawbox may look like a large Lego brick, but it is beautifully made with a vibration absorbing rubber top and bottom, and smart metal grille around its circumference.
There are a few subtle tweaks - there are now eight rubberised feet on the bottom, play/pause and forward and back buttons added to the top and a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button on the right side. Aside from this the Big Jambox looks and feels exactly like a blown up Jambox. In terms of connectivity again it is a match: it connects to devices via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary input, has an inbuilt microphone for conference calls and is compatible with the company's MyTalk upgrade platform which offers firmware updates and apps. These include adding the ability to read out texts/emails, hear calendar alerts and more.
Naturally enough, however, the primary reason Aliph saw the need for a Big Jambox at all is just one reason: better sound. Like the Jambox the Big Jambox retains a 2.0 speaker arrangement, but each driver is enlarged (though unspecified) and there are now two opposing passive bass radiators instead of one for stronger, deeper bass response. In addition the Big Jambox has multiband compression to reduce distortion as appropriate and a loudness compensation algorithm which automatically adjusts the highs and lows to balance sound at different volume levels.
On top of this Aliph has equipped the Big Jambox with LiveAudio, a virtual 3D spatial sound technology, which aims to trick the ear into hearing wider stereo separation. The original Jambox had this feature added via a firmware update and like the Jambox, the Big Jambox can enable/disable it by simultaneously holding down the volume plus and minus buttons.
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