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Polk Audio Boom Bit review: A tiny Bluetooth speaker you can wear

Although its sound doesn't impress, the Boom Bit is a cool concept -- and useful in a few circumstances.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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2 min read

Polk's Boom Bit ($30, £40) may not be the first wearable Bluetooth speaker, but it's one of the most ambitious attempts at creating a wearable Bluetooth speaker.

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6.8

Polk Audio Boom Bit

The Good

The Polk Boom Bit is a tiny water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that outputs a reasonable amount of sound and can be clipped on to your clothing. It has a built-in USB charger so you can plug it into your computer or USB wall power adapter. Works well as a personal speakerphone.

The Bad

Sound is serviceable, but not all that good; could be a tad cheaper.

The Bottom Line

The wearable Polk Boom speaker is cool, but its sound is pretty underwhelming.

The size and shape of a cigarette lighter, the tiny, ruggedized Boom Bit (1.1 ounces or 32 grams) is water-resistant and has an integrated microphone so it doubles as a speakerphone. The built-in clip allows you to securely fasten the speaker to your clothing and it's ideally worn at around collar level, where it can sit not too far from your mouth and ears. There are volume controls on the speaker, which is good.

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The Boom Bit clips right onto your clothing.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At close range, the 1.5-watt Boom Bit sounds pretty loud. I just wouldn't say it sounds good. It's smaller than an old transistor radio but the sound isn't much different. As you might expect, there's barely any bass and the speaker sounds strained and distorted when you push up the volume. But it does sound better -- or at least plays louder -- than your phone's speakers and people's voices sound clear during calls (little speakers like this are strongest in the midrange).

As longer as you aren't a stickler for audio quality, the Boom Bit has its likable side -- and it's useful under certain circumstances. You can use it in the car as a hands-free speakerphone and if you're a runner or biker who doesn't want to wear headphones, it's another way to listen to music on the go. You could also use it while doing yard work, though a gas lawn mower would drown out the sound.

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Boom Bit packaging

Sarah Tew/CNET

Battery life is only 3 hours. But there's a standard USB connector built into the unit, so you can plug it into your computer or a USB wall plug for charging, no cable required. (Of course, a computer with only USB-C ports will need a dreaded dongle.)

The speaker costs $30, which isn't expensive, but it still may be a tad high. At $20, it becomes an impulse purchase and is easier to recommend, but $30 makes you say to yourself, "Do I really need this?" The answer is maybe, so long as you don't expect to be impressed by the sound quality.

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6.8

Polk Audio Boom Bit

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 7Sound 4Value 7
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