Did you get some new music for Christmas? Or a new mobile phone, perhaps? If you use your iPod, phone or other Bluetooth enabled music player you may want to consider one of the many portable speakers now on the market. Mobile Fun sent me the new Olixar Babyboom Bluetooth Mini Speaker to try out.
This small and neat looking speaker has both Bluetooth connectivity as well as an aux line-in port just in case you’re using something without Bluetooth (I think this means it’ll work with an old Walkman… I wonder where mine is!). It is definitely small – it’s sat next to my iPhone 5 above for comparison. It fits in the palm of my hand very easily which means it’s easy to carry around (the included wrist strap helps that, too) – keep it in a bag or the glovebox in your car for music on the go.
Underneath the speaker housing there are pause, play and skip buttons to control your music, which did the job no problem on my phone, but as they are on the base of the unit you have to pick it up to use them.
The speaker inside is 40mm and of course mono. It’s light and small and not designed to compete with the beautifully made expensive speakers in your living room, but it will fill a small room with music better than using the speaker on your phone making it ideal for a hotel room or the car or the potting shed. Don’t turn it up all the way, though, when you get up there the sound does start to distort and go crackly as the range exceeds the speaker’s capability – keeping it a bit below maximum will give you a cleaner sound that won’t offend. It’s not going to give you awesome bass notes and refined treble, but it doesn’t sound tinny and is perfectly adequate.
The speaker also doubles up as a hands free kit, meaning you can receive calls without holding your phone. The phone answer button (which is also the unit’s power button) is on the side of the speaker so you can easily find it when you get a call without having to pick the speaker up and look closely. When you get a call the music fades out and back in again which is a nice touch – nothing too sudden to make you jump when your phone starts ringing. An American lady also comes over the speaker telling you there is an incoming call – I’m not sure that’s necessary but at least you know! It works fine as a hands free kit; I tested it out in the house and in the car and the speaker and microphone do their bit pretty well. It’s definitely a speaker first and a microphone second, though, you’ll need to speak up and clearly.
One thing I noticed was the amount of interference you get from other phones in close proximity to the speaker. Interference didn’t seem to be coming from my phone when connected via Bluetooth, but it would be quite annoying if LincsGeek’s phone was also sat close by. It was easily resolved – we moved LincsGeek’s phone to the other side of the room.
Overall this is a pretty decent speaker considering the size and the price point (£16.99 from MobileFun). It’ll fill a larger space than the speaker on any normal phone but won’t compete with its larger and more expensive competitors.
I received the Olixar Babyboom Speaker from MobileFun for the purposes of this review.