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

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MSRP: $49.99

The Good The grenade-size Philips SoundShooter Wireless has an eye-catching design, streams music wirelessly over Bluetooth, and delivers much bigger sound than its size would indicate. It features speakerphone capabilities and its built-in rechargeable gives you about 8 hours of sound.

The Bad No volume control on the speaker. It also distorts at higher volumes and can't handle big bass that well.

The Bottom Line The Philips SoundShooter Wireless has a sharp design and is one of the better-sounding sub-$50 tiny Bluetooth speakers -- and it has speakerphone capabilities to boot.

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7.8 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 6

Tiny Bluetooth speakers continue to proliferate and now come in all shapes and sizes. Philips' SoundShooter SBT30ORG/37, which is available in a few different color options, has a unique and appealing design: it looks a lot like a hand grenade.

The 4.2-ounce speaker is clad in a rubber covering that offers some protection should you drop the speaker. It appears that you can swap that covering out. However, Philips isn't selling separate covers, so the color you buy is the color you get.

The SoundShooter feels good in the hand -- it's like carrying a toy grenade with not much inside -- and its small size obviously makes it easy to move around or slip into a bag. Though no carrying case is included, you get a carabiner for clipping the speaker onto a backpack or perhaps even your belt loop.

From many angles, the SoundShooter Wireless looks like a grenade. Sarah Tew/CNET

To put the speaker in pairing mode, you simply turn it on using the switch near the bottom of the unit. It works with most Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets. That switch can also be set to "Aux," which allows you to connect a non-Bluetooth device with an included cable that doubles as a USB charger for the built-in rechargeable battery. If you happen to lose the cable, you can recharge the speaker with a standard Micro-USB cable, but you'll be without the audio-in cable.

The power switch with "Aux" and Bluetooth modes. Sarah Tew/CNET

As far as extra features go, the real bonus here is the built-in speakerphone capabilities. The SoundShooter Wireless isn't as good a speakerphone as the Jawbone Jambox, for instance, but it worked OK in our tests so long as I stayed pretty close to the speaker while talking. (Like all Bluetooth speakers, the SoundShooter can stream music from up to about 30 feet away.)

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