Jawbone Mini Jambox review

Is the Jawbone Mini Jambox yet another classic Bluetooth speaker?

T3 Platinum Award
Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great design

  • +

    Wonderfully good to use

  • +

    Insanely decent sound

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Bass could be better

  • -

    Sound could be better

  • -

    Money could grow on trees

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The third Bluetooth speaker in this genre-defining range - this tiny model is half the thickness of the original. Check out our Jawbone Mini Jambox review

In 2010, the original Jambox defined what the modern Bluetooth speakers are all about - style, power and incredible convenience.

Then the California-based company decided that actually people might want to go large and so released the Big Jambox in 2012. Now one year on, it's ultimate portability that's on the agenda with the Jawbone Mini Jambox - the smallest version of the Jambox to date.

Three years of market growth gone by, however, and the competition is stronger than before. The Cambridge Audio Minx Go is already a favourite with its small size, £99 price tag and huge 18-hour battery life. And that Jambox design might have been first but doesn't seem quite so unique with the Jabra Soulmate on the scene. T3 decided it's time to work out whether Jawbone kit really still has what it takes.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Size and build

So, just how mini is the Jawbone Mini Jambox. Well, at 154 x 24.5 x 58mm, it's a rectangular cuboid that's pretty much the same length as the original model. It's not quite as tall but the real difference is with depth, which now makes it only 70 per cent of the thickness of before.

Throw in the new, 100g-lighter 255g mass and you get a Bluetooth speaker that's no bother whatsoever to stick in even the smallest of bags and have with you wherever you go. It's even just about jeans-pocketable if you don't mind the bulge.

Materials-wise, it's total quality all the way. The anodised aluminium cage is available in your choice of light blue, dark blue, green, orange, yellow, grey, black, red and purple, and will look a class act whichever you go for. Wonderfully dense, fantastic in the hand and almost humming with power, our black model felt rather like it had fallen to Earth. It's a very smart piece of design.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Features

Playing your music over Bluetooth is obviously the prime feature for the Mini Jambox and it's handled incredibly well. A voice from the device itself guides you through the lightening quick and super-simple pairing process, which you can perform with eight different devices before it starts forgetting the first ones you entered.

Frankly, the whole process makes Bluetooth look good, and that voice from the Jawbone Mini Jambox isn't done there either. One of the most impressive features of this speaker is that it will read out your text messages to you if you get a buzz while it's connected to your mobile.

Without any kind of setup before hand, you'll be listening to your beats, then the music drops and the voice tells you who the SMS is from and ask whether you'd like it read out aloud or ignored - important if there are people in the room with you.

Should you choose to hear it, you then have the option to call them back using the Mini Jambox as a speakerphone. It's very neat indeed. That said, we did find ourselves switching out of speakerphone mode when making phone calls. The conversations never work out quite as smooth as they should.

If you need more features from the Mini Jambox, then it's time to download the free app from your local app store. A lot of what you find doesn't offer much more beyond, but the handy function is that you can collate playlists from Spotify, Deezer, Rdio and iTunes.

What that means in practice is that you can get all sorts of people in the room each with their penny in the music playback pot. Just don't blame us if your mates have got no music taste.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Controls and connections

Bluetooth's all very well and good but there is a 3.5mm jack for hard-lining your audio player into the Jawbone Mini Jambox. It will save you battery power on both gadgets after all. Fortunately, there's also a colour-matched cable included just for the purpose.

Otherwise, the only controls are buttons along the top and down one side. It's the standard Jambox circle, plus and minus combo that are most obvious. They're for putting the volume up and down as well as pausing the flow. Up the short edge are the micro USB charge socket, dedicated pairing button, microphone and aforementioned 3.5mm slot.

The voice updates during pairing mean that you don't have to rely on a morse code of button flashes to figure out what's going on. The other little joy are the noises the Jawbone Mini Jambox makes when you power it up and turn it off. It feels like what we can only imagine is the sensation of switching on a light saber.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Battery

Battery life is quoted as 10 hours of playback and that's actually a lot longer than it seems. This is a portable speaker, remember, so you're unlikely to be in a place away from your home listening for that kind of time in a single block.

In reality, what you end up with is a music machine that you don't have to charge for close to a week, and that's very impressive indeed. We tended to charge it up more out of fear that it would die on us rather than it ever actually doing so.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Audio quality

The Jawbone Mini Jambox is one of those audio products that simply has no business sounding as good as it does. It shouldn't be possible to get music so rich and entertaining from a speaker this size. It's very impressive.

That said, there are clear limitations. It doesn't quite hit you with a thumping bass, which you might be used to from far bigger and more expensive Bluetooth and wireless speakers. It's also not going to be able to do the job with a room full of people at a party, but that's really beyond its remit anyway.

As we say, this is a portable speaker and it's more than good enough for playing music or the audio track of a film that you're watching on your tablet or smartphone - especially given its size and price.

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Verdict

It's another tour de force from Jawbone. Did you really think it would be anything less? You could argue that it should be a little cheaper, but the bonus features, the classy design and the incredibly convenient size and battery life easily make it all worthwhile once paired with the ludicrously good audio quality that we've come to expect from speakers from this company.

Whatever you need a Bluetooth speaker for, you can bet that the Jawbone Mini Jambox will have you covered.

Mini Jambox release date: Out now

Mini Jambox price: £150