After reviewing a cubic buttload of Bluetooth speakers over the last few years, it takes a lot to get me excited. Fortunately, I recently received a Bēm Mobile Speaker (US$69.99) to test and it restored my faith in accessory manufacturers being able to create things I'd like to buy.
The Bēm (pronounced "beam") Mobile Speaker is small; a cube 2.5 inches on a side weighing a scant 8.6 ounces. I somehow think that Steve Jobs would have approved of the cube design...
Don't think that because it's tiny that it can't pump out the sound. My first test with the speaker came when my wife was on a phone call downstairs, and she was wondering why I was blasting music. When I showed her how small the speaker was, she was as impressed as I am.
The review Bēm was flat black; it also comes in purple, red, green, orange and white. The surface is made of a soft touch plastic material that gives it a good feel when you're handling it. There's a gray base of the same material on the bottom that keeps the Bēm from sliding on slick surfaces.
There are minimal buttons on the Bēm; just volume up/down buttons and a play/pause button on the front and a power/pair button on the base.
On the back of the unit are aux in/out audio ports, a mini-USB port for charging, and two tiny LEDs; one to indicate Bluetooth connectivity, the other to indicate charging status.
Like I mentioned, I just can't believe the sound that comes out of this diminutive box. It's not stereo, of course, being a single speaker, but Bēm makes up for it with sheer volume. It's surprisingly good sound, with very little distortion even with the volume all the way up.
The buttons didn't work too well for me; I'm not sure if the device has gone through a bunch of reviewers or if I had a unit that was slightly defective, but the touch buttons seemed to be a little flaky in operation. A few taps on the up volume would work fine, but then unexpectedly the volume would be at maximum. Strange...
I love the fact that Bēm chose to use a nice small AC adapter for charging instead of one of the huge bricks that some other manufacturers have included with speakers. The fact that they even included an AC adapter is a good thing; many manufacturers now are just including a USB cable.
Pairing was a cinch and quite fast; no special buttons or codes were required, it just paired. I was pretty happy with that process.
I was unable to test the battery life of the Bēm Mobile Speaker; the company says that it will last for about six hours on each charge.
The Bēm Mobile Speaker is an extremely portable and surprisingly loud Bluetooth speaker that is a perfect companion for your iOS device.
- Reasonably priced for a quality Bluetooth speaker
- Simple pairing process
- Very loud volume, good sound quality
- Attractive and simple design
- Includes small AC adapter
- Buttons on review device were a little flaky
Who is it for?
- Anyone who wants a powerful speaker that takes up very little space.