Hey gang, Valkor here. I love it when a new tech company enters the Val-Cave; it's scary because you don't know what to expect when you turn on the device. But it's also fun when you get it going and it works well or better than expected. It can also be disheartening when you open up this shiny new product and it underperforms. So how does one handle such a situation? Well we're about to get into the thick of it as we take on the HMDX Jam Wireless Bluetooth Speaker.
From the outset, the design of the Jam speaker has a simple, cylindrical shape measuring in at 2.8"x2.5"x2.8" and weighing in at 9.6oz. On the sides you have your battery indicator, play/pause button, volume controls, Bluetooth indicator light, mini USB port to charge the battery, and auxiliary port. Finally at the bottom of the device is the on/off switch. Set up is simple, you switch on the speaker, ensuring your Bluetooth device is switched on as well, you then pair the device and you're on your way, rockin out to some of your favorite tunes or kickin back with a film or two… or three. However many you decide - the choice is yours! The HMDX Jam can be placed anywhere within 30 feet of your preferred device and can be used indoors or out. Battery life, once fully charge, will give you approximately 4 hours of playback, which is rechargeable with a mini USB plug (included) and you can also you a USB adapter to plug the device into a wall socket (not included).
The HMDX Jam comes in a range of "delicious" colors – Apple, Blackberry, Grape, Apricot, Blueberry, and Strawberry. And when testing the device I chose to go with it the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy S3, The iPhone 4S, and the Playstation Vita. So, after giving the Jam a serious workout, let's see how well it fared in the TOV Breakdown.
First up for the Jam is the set up, which is crazy simple right out of its packaging. Getting each device to connect with the Jam was problem-free (in the beginning). It took some adjusting between devices to get the audio just right. Quality differs from each device, for example with the iPhone 4S, I used in conjunction with Sonic Emotions Headquake app, which I thought would broaden the sound... it didn't all that much but still sounded good. I found that audio quality was way better with both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Note 2, which were really balanced, with a decent level of bass/treble and a sharper than expected clarity. Saving the best for last, the Playstation Vita totally owns the Jam speaker; I switched on XSEED's Ys Seven, turned up the FX and music and was pleasantly surprised at how well the soundtrack played through the device - beautiful! Just beautiful! The bass, again not the greatest, is presented better in the PSV than the previous three devices, topping it off with amazing clarity. Finally, since I only used the device in pocket sessions, I didn't have too big of an issue with the battery and the device was usally close by and plugged in. Overall for such a small speaker with a reasonable price of 40 bucks… it's pretty damn impressive…
…But then this happened. First up, the HMDX is a finicky little device; sometimes it will want to pair with a device. And other times it won't pair with any. I understand you have to disconnect a device before you pair up a new one, but the Jam confuzzles me. My first day of testing went well and no issues. The next day I was given a message "Unable to connect with HMDX Jam". The battery was fully charge and even after restarting my devices, it wouldn't connect. The next day, I gave it another go and "voila!" it worked! Very odd. Next, while the Jam works amazingly well with the PSV, it didn't do too hot with the iPhone 4s; when used with the Sonic Emotion app, songs would skip - and this is with the device well in range. I thought it was the app itself, so I switched over to the standard player to find the skipping even worse. This problem didn't present itself with the Galaxy S3, the Vita, or the Note 2. Finally, with the indicator lights where they're located, you have to lift the device to see them. This is more or less nitpicking, but I feel the lights shouldn't be tucked away as such.
The HMDX Jam Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is available now and it shows promise at being a contender in the portable speaker market. While sound quality varies from device to device, it's still a solid performer. Playstation Vita owners should pay extra special attention to the HMDX Jam for its amazing sound quality. And out of TOV 5 stars, give The Jam a 3.5. And it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved!