Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
With literally dozens of tiny portable Bluetooth speakers hitting the market, it's hard to tell, which, if any, you should consider buying. JBL's Micro Wireless is one such model, and while it doesn't offer a major sound or price advantage over its competitors, its attractive design and built-in line-out cord for connecting non-Bluetooth devices gives it a leg up.
To be clear, this is a slightly different class of speaker from the Jawbone Jambox. The Micro is truly tiny, a mono speaker not much bigger than a Christmas ornament (yes, there's a hook for clipping it onto your backpack or a tree, for that matter) that weighs in at a mere 4.48 ounces. While it doesn't deliver incredible sound, it does offer impressive sound for its size, particularly if you're sitting just a few feet away from it (I have it on my desk next to my keyboard as I'm writing this).
While you can certainly plug it into a laptop and use it in wired mode (or pair it wirelessly with a Bluetooth-enabled PC), the other big application for it is to pair it with a smartphone or tablet. It's definitely a significant step up over the internal speakers of an iPhone or an iPad and plays considerably louder and offers some bass, though not a lot.
That said, if you do feed it bass-heavy material, it can start to sound crunchy (read: distorted), especially if you crank the volume. To me it sounded best at midlevel volumes and like a lot of these smaller speakers, it performs best in the midrange, so it sounds better with acoustic material and lighter listening tracks. It's also makes a decent little speaker for movie watching on your notebook or tablet device.
The Micro has a built-in rechargeable battery (you charge with an included Micro-USB cable) that's gives you about 5 hours of listening time. That's not great, but it's not bad either, and par for the course for these smaller speakers.
I've reviewed a handful of this tiny wireless speakers and while I can't say the JBL Micro Wireless is a steal at $59 list, it's pretty fairly priced. You can step up to slightly more expensive Bluetooth speakers such as the
In all, the JBL Micro Wireless is a well designed tiny portable speaker that's reasonably priced ($40-50 would be better, of course). While it doesn't deliver great sound, it plays louder and sounds better than its size would indicate, and should make for a good traveling companion for those who want to augment the sound of their laptop, tablet, or smartphone speakers. Recommended.