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The $50 Jam Plus version upgrades the original Jam and the “party stereo” if you buy two.
Hmdx Jam Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Editor David Carnoy has been a key member of the review team since 2000. He covers the gadget gamut and is an excellent reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He is an expert in electronic reading and electronic publishing as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All titles are available as Kindles, iBooks, Nook eBooks, and audiobooks.
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Stood out from the rest of the mini Bluetooth speaker package with a low price ($39.99) and creative packaging: the speaker came in a translucent hard plastic “jam” jar, with a twist lid.
The affordable HMDX Jam Plus sounds better than the original Jam, has an attractive and pleasant design, and if you buy a second speaker, you can create a true stereo pair of speakers completely wireless.
No speaker phone capability; although the bass is slightly improved, the speaker still sounds thin and distorted at higher volumes.
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With an attractive design, an affordable price, and the ability to combine a second Jam Plus to create a left / right stereo pair, the Jam Plus is a budget Bluetooth speaker.
Now the company is back with a new improved edition, the Jam Plus, which costs about $50 and comes in different colors. The speaker is slightly larger than the original and sounds slightly better, but its other selling point is that if you buy two, you can combine the two speakers and create a pair of wireless stereo speakers on the left right The Jam Plus is among the first Bluetooth speakers to include such a stereo option and it certainly creates a better listening experience, although it doesn’t cover the speakers’ shortcomings in the bass department.
Design and Features The original or “classic” jam is sold in six “flavors” – strawberry, grape, blueberry, blackberry, apricot and apple – which refers to its different color options. This model avoids the reference of the results, but it comes in five different colors. Interestingly, the Plus is slightly larger than the original but weighs slightly less (8 ounces versus 9.6 ounces).
Rave And Review
The speaker is nicely designed in a fun way and seems to be aimed at young people and young tech users who might have, for example, an iPod Touch (yes, the iPod Touch is aimed at a younger audience). It is easy to pick up and carry from room to room, and although there is no carrying case included for carrying, you can use the plastic jar as a case.
Like all Bluetooth speakers, the HMDX Jam connects wirelessly up to 30 feet away and works with all Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops/desktops. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated for up to 4 hours of wireless playtime, which is fine, but not great (battery life varies with volume level, so you may you could do better at lower amounts). It charges via USB and has an audio input for audio playback from non-Bluetooth devices.
There is a switch on the bottom of the speaker that allows you to pair two speakers in “stereo” mode. Sarah Tew
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There are no speaker capabilities, but as noted you can combine two speakers to create a stereo pair. If you take a quick look at the instructions, pairing the two speakers is pretty easy (you set the switch on the bottom left for one speaker and right for the other).
HMDX also sells the rugged Jam Extreme ($59.99), which is “splash, drop, and dirt resistant.” However, this model does not offer the stereo pairing function.
Performance The Jam Plus sounds better than the original, with a bit more bass. Despite the great attention of users on the original Jam, I found that it was very thin sounding. On the other hand, this model only looks thin, something to improve.
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With all these mini Bluetooth speakers, I try to review them in their larger context. If an audiophile listened to them, they wouldn’t be too impressed (perhaps a more accurate description), but mainstream users should be quite happy with the sound.
The Jam Plus plays bigger than its size suggests and its sound can be improved a bit by placing it next to a wall for reflection. It will distort with bass-heavy content, especially at higher volumes, so it’s best not to wear the speaker and listen at more moderate volume levels.
As I’ve noted in several of my reviews of tiny wireless speakers (and even some larger units), they offer no stereo separation. The good news here is that two of these speakers solve this problem together. By creating a wider soundstage, your music will be richer. The only issue is that the speakers don’t deliver a ton of bass, so the sound feels a bit thin. To be clear, almost all of these tiny speakers sound thin, although the Jawbone Jambox and JBL Flip (and JBL Charge) deliver a lot more bass. The Philips SoundShooter is a slightly smaller speaker that retails for the same price (around $50). It offers twice the battery life, a touch of extra bass, and has speakerphone capabilities. But the Jam Plus seems to be the most durable speaker.
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Conclusion The Jam Plus has some interesting advantages that work in its favor. I liked the design, the speaker sounds better than the original, and you have the option to buy a second speaker and create a stereo pair. Oh, and at around $50, it’s pretty affordable.
There are plenty of other options to choose from, including the Philips SoundShooter and the more expensive JBL Flip and
, which provides better performance. However, the HMDX Jam Plus is one of those products that may have some disadvantages (average independence, lack of bass, no speakerphone functionality), but the sum of its components is admirable, especially for children and teenagers.
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