Philips SoundShooter Wireless SBT30ORG/37 review: Tiny grenade speaker doesn't bomb

A dual cable doubles as a USB charger and an audio connector for non-Bluetooth devices. Sarah Tew/CNET

The SoundShooter Wireless sounds as good as or better than other tiny Bluetooth speakers in its price class. That's not to say it sounds great -- your music will come off a little thin and the speaker can't handle big bass well. But at least there is some bass and it definitely plays loud for its size.

Like the $60 JBL Micro Wireless, which I also like, this is a mono speaker (no, you can't hook up two of them to make a stereo pair) and obviously has its limitations. Not surprisingly it's strongest in the midrange (vocals) and does best with lighter fare. No, audiophiles won't be impressed -- Steve Guttenberg, our resident sound guru , said he'd rather "listen to silence" than this speaker, but he's a Bluetooth skeptic . Most folks will be pleasantly surprised by its sound output.

The speaker from the top. Sarah Tew/CNET

I thought the JBL's sound was a touch smoother and cleaner than the Philips', but the Philips' sound had a little more kick to it. I had a number of people listen to it and when I told them the price ($50), many made the same remark: "That's not bad."

And the Philips SoundShooter isn't. Yeah, I'd like to see it at $39.99, but it's got an eye-catching design, delivers decent sound for its grenadelike size (it can fill a small room), and has a built-in rechargeable battery that gives you about 8 hours of sound so long as you don't crank the volume the whole time. And you wouldn't want to, because it doesn't sound as good at higher volumes and can distort with certain tracks.

If you can do without the wireless, Philips also makes the SoundShooter SBA3010BLU/37. It has a similar shape and presumably sounds about the same. But it has no Bluetooth streaming option or speakerphone capabilities. Rather, you plug the integrated 3.5mm plug into the headphone jack of your smartphone or tablet. The upside is it only costs about $17 online.

Philips also makes the SoundShooter Wireless SBT50/00, which features a swanky aluminum exterior. I haven't tried that model -- it hasn't hit the market quite yet -- but I suspect it offers similar performance. All the SoundShooter Wireless models are worth considering, especially if you see them discounted slightly online.

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Philips SoundShooter (orange)

Part Number: SBT30ORG/00 Released: Jan 15, 2013
MSRP: $49.99 Low Price: $27.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan 15, 2013
  • Color Orange
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology Bluetooth
    Wired
  • Type Speakers