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The Jawbone Big Jambox: A Compact Speaker With Big Sound

June 1, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

For many music lovers, speakers are practically a necessity.

And they want the speaker that will hit the right note and do their favorite tunes justice.

If you’re one of them, take a look at our rundown of the Jawbone Big Jambox, one of the most popular models on the market. If you want your music wherever you are, it might be the one for you.

Design

The Big Jambox is a wireless Bluetooth speaker from Jawbone.

Shaped like a colorful, rectangular block with oversized buttons on top, this speaker’s compact size and cordless design make it easy to transport. The Big Jambox measures 10 inches long, 3.1 inches wide and 3.6 inches high. It weighs 2.7 pounds.

The product is sold in a variety of bold colors, including red and purple, and buyers can customize the appearance of the speaker. Choose a main grill color for the body of the speaker and a secondary cap color for the ends.

Features

In addition to delivering a big bass sound from a small package, the Jambox also has other appealing features, including:

  • Speakerphone. Use the Jambox’s built-in microphone to make hands-free calls (or supply the audio for video chats) using popular services such as Skype and FaceTime.
  • Smart technology. Jawbone calls the Jambox a SmartSpeaker because it improves even after you buy it. Use Jawbone’s website to download apps and software updates for your speaker.
  • LiveAudio. Specifically designed for mobile music, videos and games, the Big Jambox comes with built-in LiveAudio, a fancy name for a feature that creates immersive, three-directional sound.
  • Connections. The Big Jambox can connect with two devices at the same time. Its connection modes include: Bluetooth, 3.5mm stereo input and micro-USB data port.

» MORE: Amazon Echo vs. Amazon Tap

Battery life and connectivity

The Big Jambox has a long battery life. It offers up to 15 hours of continuous play on a single charge via its rechargeable, built-in lithium-ion battery. Connect your Jambox to a compatible device to view its battery life meter.

Speaking of compatible devices, the speaker’s Bluetooth component has a wireless range of at least 33 feet (10 meters). It can be synced with most Bluetooth-enabled devices, including iPhone and Android smartphones, and tablets and computers.

Price

You can purchase the Jambox for a regular price of $299.99 from Jawbone, but the brand discounts the speaker occasionally. If you don’t catch it when it’s on sale, try consulting Amazon before buying. We’ve seen deals there as well.

This product’s heftier price tag makes it a great candidate for cash back, regardless of where you make your final purchase. Consider using a rewards credit card when you buy it to maximize your potential savings.

» MORE: Amazon Echo vs. Sonos Play:1

Reviews

So does the Big Jambox really deliver “eye-catching style” and “room-filling sound,” as it promises?

We analyzed reviews of some of the most popular speakers on the market, including the Big Jambox, to find out. We looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome and Good Housekeeping and analyzed user reviews to see what shoppers had to say about the various attributes of each speaker.

Based on the consumer reviews we studied, this speaker packs a powerful punch. Users noted that the speaker’s sound was clear and loud, especially for its size. Music fans were also pleased with the device’s lengthy battery life.

But for all its strengths, we identified at least two main areas of concern with the Big Jambox. First, some audiophiles believed the speaker’s bass was lacking. Second, some users reported that their device failed to hold a charge after continued use.

Making a sound decision

So will the Jawbone Big Jambox have you singing its praises?

Thanks to its long battery life and compact, cord-free design, we recommend the Jawbone Big Jambox for music junkies who want to bring their speaker wherever they go.

Its price is a bit of an investment, but thanks to the device’s SmartSpeaker qualities, it’s continually being updated and improved, even after you purchase it.

But this speaker won’t be a fit for everyone. If you’re willing to sacrifice a few hours of battery life in the interest of saving money, Jawbone also sells a Mini Jambox for a retail price of $129.99. Its battery lasts 10 hours.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.