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Jawbone Jambox (photos)

Take a closer look at the Jambox from Jawbone, a fashionable rechargeable portable speaker with unique custom features.

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Donald Bell
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Enter Jambox, a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that breaks our preconceptions. Priced on the high end at $199, this little speaker bar uses two 1.25-inch drivers and a passive radiator woofer that delivers a surprisingly balanced sound for its size.
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The speaker comes in four colors: black, red, blue, and gray. The top and bottom have a nonslip rubber coating, and the middle features this wrap-around metal grille. There's a diamond pattern embossed into the metal on this black version, but different colors use slightly different shapes.
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Jawbone doesn't cheap out, either. You get a nice, flat wire aux cable in the box, along with USB cables, a power adapter, and a case to keep this thing pretty.
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Another detail that really adds to the long-term value is the Micro-USB port, which allows you to update the firmware on this to help maintain compatibility. You can also side load Jawbone's apps, change the language of the system voice, and make other little custom tweaks.
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When connected to your computer and logged into Jawbone's MyTalk Web site, you can adjust the Jambox's internal settings.
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The Jambox's eye candy design doesn't hurt things, either. The speaker is available in four colors, each sporting a slightly different geometric design on the speaker grille.
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At the very top you have three oversize buttons: two for volume control, and a multipurpose button that gives the battery status, answers calls, and can be programmed as an autodial button when paired with your phone.
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On the side, there's a three-position power button that triggers the pairing mode when you hold it up. Beneath that you have a minijack aux input and a Micro-USB port for recharging or connecting to a computer.
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One of the most overlooked features in any smartphone is Bluetooth music streaming. Sure, everybody loves the idea of music without wires, but in reality, stereo headsets are either bulky or messy, and Bluetooth speakers are generally wimpy or ugly. Jambox, however, gets it right.
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Now, $199 isn't cheap for a portable speaker. For half the price, the Logitech Z515 (shown top) pulls off the same music-streaming trick, gives you a USB dongle for your computer, and has a 10-hour battery life, instead of the 8 you'll get from the Jambox. It's not as pretty, though, or as small--and it doesn't offer a microphone.
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Sonically, the Jambox is a mixed bag. It uses two small drivers and a passive radiator on the back to deliver a relatively beefy sound that's impressive for its size. When you turn it on, it even gives a little sub frequency kick just to show off.
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If nothing else, the Jambox is the prettiest Bluetooth speaker we've ever seen.
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On the side, there's a three-position power button that triggers the pairing mode when you hold it up. Beneath that you have a minijack aux input and a Micro-USB port for recharging or connecting to a computer.
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14 of 20 Donald Bell/CNET
At the very top you have three oversize buttons: two for volume control, and a multipurpose button that gives the battery status, answers calls, and can be programmed as an autodial button when paired with your phone.
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Priced on the high end at $199, this little speaker bar uses two 1.25-inch drivers and a passive radiator woofer that delivers a surprisingly balanced sound for its size. Here, my fingers outline the size of one of the drivers.
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Compared with the Logitech Z515 ($99), the Jambox has a deeper low-end sound, but doesn't get quite as loud, and clocks in at 8 hours of battery life instead of the 10 boasted by Logitech.
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Some boutiques will sell the Jambox in special retail packaging, shown here.
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Inside the boutique packaging, the Jambox is suspended in the middle, stacked above the included accessories.
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Here are the included accessories: aux cable, USB cables, power adapter, case, and user guide.

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