I used to hate Mark Cuban for really no good reason at all. Probably just because he was an easy target fueled by the incessant media stories about him. Despite my disdain for Cuban, I finally tuned into the TV series Shark Tank this summer for the first time. This reality show has inventors pitching ideas to the “Sharks” in the hopes that they give the investment capital needed to get their idea or company off the ground. There were a handful of pretty cool ideas and Cuban won me over with his humor and ability to spot a great idea. I was curious if any of these projects ever “made it.” So I was pretty amused strolling a Chicago-area mall this past Black Friday when I saw one of the Shark Tank products for sale at a kiosk. The Boombox had come to market!
[Boombox comes in several colors]
What exactly is it?
It is a portable speaker “system” that runs on either AAA batteries or a provided USB power supply to turn other objects into speakers. A sticky pad on a cord can be affixed to file cabinets, tissue boxes, coffee cups and scores of other objects. Hollow seems to work best while solid seems to not work well at all.
Missed the Shark Tank episode and have no idea what the prior paragraph means? Take a quick peek at this video I made using one of my seasonal favorite songs as a listening example.
[Boombox with Blues Traveler's Christmas]
What exactly is it not?
The sound is actually pretty impressive for what it is and how it is accomplished. Bass can get pretty full, volume can get quite loud and you can fill a small room relatively well. Despite all that, it is not high fidelity or something you will want to do any critical listening with. Obviously it is not stereo and you won’t be picking up any nuances or have any need for lossless sources. So the Boombox is not a replacement for desktop speakers or even mediocre earbuds or headphones.
So…not really a replacement for desktop speakers or headphones, then when WOULD I use this?
Good question. This gadget definitely isn’t perfect for everyone. But in some instances, it may make perfect sense and be a decent thing to get:
- Gadget Lovers: Just another thing to play around with, have fun, and show to your friends
- Would be cool to keep in your car and then when someone has something to play on a tablet, phone or mobile device, the entire car load can easily listen in. Definitely blows away any built in speaker. But then again: you need to have any empty cup, box or some other object to stick it to.
- Periodically, I want my laptop much louder. For example, watching Slingbox and a sports event or a funny YouTube video I just came across. If I am out and around, the Boombox would be cool so everyone can listen in without needing to get right next to the speaker.
- Kids would have a blast with this and be perfect for them. The sound is good enough to listen to any pop music and no need to invest in desktop speakers.
Bottom Line & Price & Where-to-buy
Boombox is very cool and the sound is surprisingly good. While it will not replace desktop speakers and even cheap headphones will give better sound, Boombox is certainly high enough quality to enjoy music but much better for web videos, sports, talk, movies and situations where you just need to hear the audio and are not really worried about fidelity. Half-toy/ half-audio device, the Boombox is very cool if you can fetch it for a decent price.
I found it for about $25 at a kiosk in a mall. I think that’s a pretty decent price point and reasonable for what you get. However, I’ve seen these gadgets online in a couple of different form factors in prices ranging as high as $60. I would never spend anywhere near $60 for this as the money would be better spent on a down payment towards something with outrageously good portable audio quality like the Jambox.
Getting details on manufacturer or official sellers is difficult. I’ve seen this product name listed as everything from RockIt Boombox to Boombx to Boomb(())x. Not really sure why so many different names, perhaps it is being licensed to different people to sell. Google is your friend, if you want to hunt this down, I’m sure you’ll find it.
Or just keep your eyes open when you are at the mall. Who knows? You might just bump into a kiosk selling this pretty sweet stocking stuffer!
Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
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