iharmonix Q-i-sound review:

iharmonix Q-i-sound

Setting up the Q-i-sound is a simple and relatively painless procedure. First, I fully charged both speaker units, a process that took about 3.5 hours. Then I pressed and held the left speaker's power button to kick the device into pairing mode. The Q-i-sound alerts you that it's ready to pair when all buttons on its left speaker glow a solid bluish-white. I think the quirky cooing sounds, vibration feedback, and voice alerts served up by the Jawbone Jambox, though, are more endearing.

I then connected my test HTC One S (T-Mobile) Android smartphone to the Q-i-sound by searching for the speaker system within the handset's Bluetooth settings. The last step is to press the right speaker's power button and it will then pair with the Q-i-sound's left unit automatically.

I subjected the Q-i-sound to my standard battery of music that includes everything from electronic, rock, rap, and jazz to orchestral. I found that audio from the speakers was surprisingly loud, especially considering the satellites' small size. Audiophiles won't be impressed by the Q-i-sound's performance, though. Bass was virtually absent, while audio was too bright and even splashy, tending to distort in the high end at high volume. Sound from the Jawbone Jambox, by contrast, was much richer with better presence provided by a bigger helping of bass.

I was amazed, though, that the Q-i-sound indeed produced true wireless stereo audio. I distinctly heard stereo separation on all my sample music, and the effects were heightened when playing tracks with heavy stereo tricks such as old Beatles and Esquivel albums. It was also fun to position the left and right speakers at different distances from each other to create a very wide sound stage. That's something the Jambox, or most ordinary wireless speakers, can't do, since their fixed drivers are placed so close together.

For making calls, the Q-i-sound was on par with other microphone-equipped speakers I've used, including the Jambox. People definitely knew I was speaking through some sort of speakerphone and reported that my voice sounded muffled and distant unless I was within a few inches of the mic.

Qmadix claims the Q-i-sound offers 8 hours of continuous playback and 10 days of standby time. This seems to match my experience with the device, since I'm still going strong a week after my initial charge. Of course, my usage wasn't heavy; I played music for an hour or so each day while testing.

I certainly give the $149.99 Qmadix Iharmonix Q-i-sound a lot of respect for creating a truly cordless stereo audio solution. Its steep price, however, is hard to swallow, especially considering the device's unsatisfying audio performance. At the moment I'd recommend splurging on the Jawbone Jambox instead, which has dropped markedly in price, down to $149.99 on Amazon, in fact, thanks to the debut of the Big Jambox. The Jambox has better features, better sound, and attractive looks. Of course, if you absolutely must have a superflexible wireless stereo audio solution, the Q-i-sound could just be what the Bluetooth doctor ordered.

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