Pairing the speaker was simple enough: you just tap the Bluetooth icon on top of the unit and search for Bluetooth devices on your phone or tablet from within the Bluetooth menu. Once it connects, you're ready to start streaming music or a movie soundtrack to the speaker.
Look, I'm not going to lie to you and say this sounds great. But when you get into the tiny speaker category, just sounding OK is a feat, and when I turned the Mini Boombox on and raised the volume it definitely sounded better than I thought it would. It can play pretty loudly and puts out a lot more sound than the internal speakers of your typical smartphone or tablet.
I found the sound to be a little warmer and more open than that of the Monster iClarityHD, which comes off a bit tinny. The one thing that the Mini Boombox can't handle is a lot of bass at higher volumes. I fed it a heavy bass track from our CNET headphone test disc (created by CNET contributor Steve Guttenberg), and the sound got very crunchy and the speaker literally started to shake and move on the shelf I had it sitting on.
Unsurprisingly, where it sounded best was on acoustic material and lighter fare. For example, the live acoustic version of Adele's "Turning Tables" sounded just fine and made you think you were listening to a larger speaker.
Really, that's all there is to the Mini Boombox. Oh, yeah, it does get up to 10 hours of battery life before having to be recharged. And I found that it worked pretty well as a speakerphone, though you'll want to keep it within a few feet of you when talking into the integrated microphone (Bluetooth speakers generally allow you to stream sound from a device up to 30 feet away).
In the end, I'm not going to call this a total bargain at $90 online; I'd prefer to see it cost closer to $75. But as I said, it's half the price of the Jawbone Jambox and its sound is about 80 percent as good. That adds up to a pretty good value--and a nice little traveling companion.