The Jam Classic 2.0, so says its maker, is an updated version of the number one-selling Bluetooth speaker in the US.
That said, there is a train of thought that coming first in the US ain’t quite what it used to be.
But let’s switch thought trains; we’ve got a little, inoffensive speaker to talk about here.
And teeny it is. About the size of one of the bigger jars of Marmite, it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and, when it comes to packing for trips, it’ll pop into even the teeniest of overnight bags.
Its spherical form, though, is not hugely pocket-friendly – you’d risk it bouncing out of an unsecured jacket pocket, and a jean pocket is no place for something of this shape and size.
We have no issues with build quality. A fun-looking fellow, it’s well put-together, available in three colours, and feels as though it could cope with the odd accidental drop on to something not too hard.
Your 20 pounds – yes, just 20 pounds – doesn’t buy any water-resistance ratings but, should the worst happen and it rolls down a grassy bank into a fast-flowing river, you’re only down the price of a pizza, a beer, and a bus home.
So it rolls – if you push it hard enough – but does it rock, too? No, not really. If you’re aim is, solely, to improve upon the audio performance of your smartphone or tablet, then the JAM Classic 2.0 does enough. Just. It does deliver a bigger sound, it does delve deeper, and it does uncover more detail.
Let Daft Punk and Pharrel Williams encourage you to Lose Yourself To Dance and delivery is jaunty.
The Classic 2.0 skips along, outperforming your phone’s speaker, but neither of these little devices do a great job with the track’s underlying bass beat – not even the JAM reaches down that far.
And prepare yourself for slightly brash-sounding handclaps – especially when you boost the volume – along with a splashy edge to cymbal crashes. Nevertheless, for its money and for its size this speaker makes a decent fist of sonics.
But does it deliver its maker’s promised ‘massive sound’? This time, the answer is a firmer no.
We’re happy to debate the phrase ‘room-filling sound’ (when was the last time you actually couldn’t hear even the smallest speaker when standing at the far end of your living room?) but what we have here is more like room occupying sound.
You can have some fun, though, trying to squeeze more volume from the Classic 2.0. Experiment with the surfaces you place it on and compare results with it, say, sitting on a table versus nestling into an alcove.
Ultimately, though, if you want a ‘massive sound’ buy something else.
The feature list, as you may guess given its teeny dimensions, is pretty short. An aux-in compliments the Bluetooth ability and – according to the web – offers up to 12 hours replay, compared with five hours max from a wireless connection.
The maker bundles a USB lead for charging – a mains charger is extra – and reckons it takes two hours to fully juice the JAM.
The svelte chassis does include LED lights to let you know where you stand – flashing blue for pairing, flashing red for low battery and, according to the manual, grey for ‘ready to party’.
The speaker also functions as a speakerphone – the base includes buttons to pick up and end calls. Or you could just, well, pick up your phone?
You can also adjust volume and skip tracks using these on-board controls. A neat touch, though, is the battery-preserving mode, which automatically shuts off the JAM Classic 2.0 if it’s been unused for 15 minutes or more.
For it’s price the JAM 2.0 Classic is a dinky way to improve upon the performance of the speaker systems in phones and tablets.
As such, it’s more likely to find favour in a smaller bedroom or kitchen than a living room; view it as an addition to your speaker options. But it is not the ultimate solution.
And we’re still searching our listening room for that claimed ‘massive sound’.