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Burton Lil Buddy review: Burton Lil Buddy

Burton Lil Buddy

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
Burton, a company known more for snowboards than iPod accessories, pays homage to the time-honored bond between music and alcohol with their affordable and adorable Lil Buddy speaker system and beverage cooler ($50). The insulated bag measures just over a foot wide, 7 inches high, and 10 inches deep (perfect for 12 cans or short bottles), and includes a front zipper compartment that conceals a battery-powered speaker system.

While the Lil Buddy has an inherent gimmick factor, Burton still goes the extra mile by giving it a sturdy construction and details such as a bottle-opener zipper pull, all-metal hardware, and a padded shoulder strap. The speaker system is tucked discreetly inside the bag's front pouch and uses a universally compatible stereo minijack cable connection. For those rare moments when you don't require a soundtrack for your liquid-fueled festivities, the speaker system can be detached from the bag by pulling it from its Velcro base.


Burton Lil Buddy

The Good

Burton's Lil Buddy insulated speaker bag is a sturdy and affordable way to take your music and cold drinks to the beach or the slopes.

The Bad

The Lil Buddy's small speakers are thin on sound, and the battery-powered amp lacks a power indicator, volume knob, or auto shut-off function.

The Bottom Line

At this price, the Lil Buddy is a great all-around cooler bag--the discreet and detachable speaker system is just icing on the cake.

Make no mistake; the Lil Buddy's sound system is nothing to brag about. The two 1-inch speakers, powered by four AA batteries, have a sound quality reminiscent of a dollar store transistor radio. The small amplifier/battery pack offers a power switch and an external 6-volt power jack, but it lacks an LED power indicator, volume knob, or auto shut-off function. At under $50, however, there's little we can complain about. The sound might not be great, but it's good enough for playing some classic rock in the background while cracking open a few cold ones.


Burton Lil Buddy

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6