CNET First Look
Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7: The micro wireless speaker evolvedWhile it's pricey, the Dash 7 is a superslim Bluetooth speaker that sounds very good for its size.
Jawbone put tiny Bluetooth wireless speakers on the map with the Jambox. But Soundmatters is the company that provided key audio components for the Jambox while quietly selling its own well-received speaker, the FoxL. Like the Mini Jambox, which also apparently uses some of Soundmatters' technology, the new FoxL Dash 7 is a very slim speaker that's only 3/4 an inch deep. It's thinner than the Mini Jambox, but longer and can be propped up vertically using the included convertible case stand, or lay it down flat so the speaker fires upward. Like the Jambox, it doubles as a speaker phone and works well in that capacity. Overall, it's a really nice little speaker that comes in a few different colors and obviously travels very well. And I like the fact that it comes with a case, something that the Jawbone didn't include with the Jambox Mini. As far as connectivity goes, there's an audio input for non-Bluetooth devices and a port for connecting Soundmatters' optional FoxLO palm-sized powered subwoofer. You can charge the device via microUSB or an AC adapter that offers faster recharging. Battery life is rated at 12 hours for wireless streaming, which is better than average for this type of speaker. For its size, the Dash 7 sounds quite good and plays as loud as the larger FoxL V2. However, like the Mini Jambox that does have its limitations, you can only get so much bass out of the speaker this size, and it just doesn't sound all that great with bass-heavy material and complicated rock tracks, especially when you crank the volume. It will distort with certain tracks. Also, it's hard to keep propped up on a stand when you raise the volume because the speaker does vibrate and will slip away from the magnetized case. It's strongest with acoustical tracks where it comes across most clearly, and also does well as a mini sound bar for movie watching on a tablet or laptop. The only issue I had with it is the price. As it stands, it will cost you around $220, while the Mini Jambox can be had for around $50 to $60 less. Despite the Mini's sleek look, I think the Dash 7 does have design advantages. I like its rounded corners, and it's a little lighter than the Mini while feeling almost as sturdy. In the end, both the Mini Jambox and the Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 are very much about the convenience of having a tiny relatively decent-performing speaker. It takes up little room in the bag. There are better-sounding $200 wireless speakers such as the UE Boom and Bose SoundLink Mini that are about twice the size and weight, and they're the better choice if you want better sound. However, the Dash 7 is right there at the top of the micro wireless speaker class. I just think it should cost a little less. I'm David Carnoy, thanks for watching.