All of which brings us to the wider question of portability. At 1.23Kg the Jawbone Big Jambox isn’t just a bit bigger than the Jambox, it is nearly 4x bigger and heavier. This places it in the same position as the 1.3Kg Bose SoundLink Wireless Speaker in that it is a little too large to pack on anything but a long trip but not that substantial for home listening.
Furthermore, the Big Jambox’s much touted angular Yves Behar design is also a problem on the move because its sharp corners and rough, almost cheese grater edges catch and scuff everything they come into contact with. Aliph doesn’t provide a carry case and here the Bose’s more rounded lines and inbuilt protective leather cover is far more practical. The SoundLink may lack conferencing capabilities, but it has better audio quality too.
So what about pricing? The £160 price tag attached to the original Jambox forced us to label it a guilty pleasure, but the £260 RRP subsequently placed on the Big Jambox is simply too much to bear. At this price the equally bulky Bose is the more sensible buy (something we never thought would pass our lips), but more to the point there are myriad cheaper, smaller alternatives that offer far greater value and practicality for your money.
The most obvious is the superb Altec Lansing InMotion Air Wireless Speaker System which costs just £150, weighs a mere 450g, comes with a remote, built in handle, PC dongle and has better audio quality (yes, it employs aptX).
In addition, the £120 Soundfreaq Sound Step Recharge is a sonic match for the Big Jambox and incorporates a dock while the remarkable Pasce Minirig at just £85 is little bigger than a fist, beautifully made, lasts up to 60 hours on a charge and also stands toe-to-toe in the audio department, though it lacks Bluetooth.
Ultimately then what would make the Big Jambox a smart purchase? We’d argue a different set of priorities. The Big Jambox is primarily a design statement, however impractical at this size, and has audio performance that is perfectly fine in isolation along with excellent conferencing capabilities. For those with a healthy bank balance looking for a stylish, competent addition to their homes the Big Jambox will be ideal, but we’d urge you to look beyond the superficial.
The Jawbone Big Jambox is an intriguing concept. It enlarges the successful Jambox approximately 4x throwing in larger speakers while retaining the Bluetooth connectivity and inbuilt mic for conference calls. As a style statement it works, but the angular design and 1.23Kg weight are impractical when travelling while the sound quality is unremarkable and bettered by several much cheaper portable speakers. Bigger isn’t always better.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 6
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