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    bēm boom box: A Bluetooth-enabled update of the popular 80s noisemaker


    Ahhh, the 70s and 80s ... Those were the days when the boombox was king. If you needed some tunes with you and wanted to share 'em with friends, you grabbed your heavy boombox by its chrome-plated handle, loaded about 20 "D" batteries into it for power, and headed out to the streets. Well, things have changed. Audio design house bēm wireless has a perfect solution for the second decade of the new millennium -- the bēm boom box (US$249.99).


    No, you don't need to be embarrassed carrying this boom box around. Unlike the flashy, overweight, chrome-covered beasts that were popular back in the day, the boom box almost looks as if it could be a relative of Wall-E's "Eve". It comes in both black and white versions, and is made of glossy polycarbonate with a swooping curved handle for your grab-and-go listening pleasure. That handle is the only place you'll find a nod to the original boomboxes, in the form of a shiny chrome plate.

    Gallery: bēm boom box | 4 Photos

    No more will you spend the nest egg paying for those D batteries or ruin the environment dumping them in the trash. The boom box has a built-in rechargeable battery good for about 10 hours of playback, and comes with a charger.

    Back in the old days, you might have had an AUX input for hooking up an 8-track tape player if one wasn't part of the boombox you owned. Now the bēm boom box is entirely wireless, using that newfangled Bluetooth to play tunes you're beaming to it from your iOS device.


    A co-worker of mine in the early 80s used to bring his Panasonic Boombox to work with him on weekends and we'd rock out while getting some overtime pay. While that box (which had two cassette tape players/recorders, an AM/FM Stereo receiver, and inputs for recording from a turntable) was loud, it also had really awful sound quality. It was enough to turn a person off of a steady diet of heavy metal...

    Fortunately for all of us in the 2010's, the bēm boom box has very good sound reproduction capabilities. It would make a 1980's ghetto blaster owner happy with its volume levels, and the music is solid across the sound spectrum. The bass really pops in tunes that have a great bass line (think "Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas), yet acoustic guitar riffs (think "Ventura Highway" by America) are clean, clear and sweet.

    Unlike the old boomboxes, there are not a lot of switches, LEDs, and dials. On the curved handle of the boom box you'll find just three buttons -- plus (+), mInus (-) and play/pause. As you'd guess, the plus button raises the volume, minus lowers the volume, and play/pause either starts or pauses the playback. Most of your control of the bēm boom box is going to come from iTunes on your Apple device.


    For parties or those situations where you just want to blast some tunes from something a bit bigger than a pocketable Bluetooth speaker, the bēm boom box is a perfect solution. It's luggable, loud, and lovable.


    • Good, loud sound with amazing bass and clear highs
    • Modern design and minimal buttons
    • Good battery life
    • Comfortable carrying handle
    • No 8-track tape player


    • Seems a bit pricy

    Who is it for?

    • Anyone who wants more sound than you can get with smaller Bluetooth speaker systems


    C'mon. You know you want this thing, if just for the fun of annoying your neighbors. Who knows? The sound quality is pretty darned good so they may just drop by to party instead of hounding you to turn down the music. bēm wireless and TUAW have joined forces to give away one bēm boom box to a reader.

    Here are the rules for the giveaway:

    • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
    • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
    • The entry must be made before September 22, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
    • You may enter only once.
    • One winner will be selected and will receive a bēm boom box valued at $249.99
    • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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