Hmdx Stream Wireless Speaker Review – The HMDX Rave was a wireless Bluetooth speaker I saw at CES in Las Vegas in January, and when I finally got my hands on it earlier this month, I had high hopes for the device.
Unfortunately, the HMDX Rave isn’t quite on par with their original Bluetooth offering, the HMDX Jam, which is still the norm for my recent benchmarking of wireless Bluetooth speakers, but for the price, you probably don’t mind how low it is.
Hmdx Stream Wireless Speaker Review
So if you’re looking for a radio-quality speaker and don’t plan on moving the transmitter too far from the Rave, you’re ready to buy the right cheap portable speaker.
Bose Soundlink Flex Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Unfortunately, the sound isn’t as powerful as the Jam, and the device weighs about the same. I hope it will improve because it’s been a year. Sounds like clock radio quality – a good watch radio, you remember – but I’m not going to talk about the Rave.
I can’t get 30 feet of wireless range and the audio breaks when people move between the base station (usually my HTC EVO 4G LTE) and the HMDX Rave. Since my EVO or laptop can’t get anywhere near 30 feet, I decided to borrow an old D-Link Bluetooth DBT-120 USB-to-Bluetooth adapter and install it on my desktop. It didn’t work, although it did manage to give me an extra five feet. Before the audio dropped, my USB bluetooth connector was about 18 feet on top, and my EVO was about 12 feet.
Audio with D-Link also stutters at about 11 feet if someone is between the base and it. So it’s not exactly the kind of thing you bring to a party and hang out with your mobile DJ phone, which I used to do with Jam. If there were two people between the base and the carnival, the sound would crack at six feet.
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I also tested it with the Matrix ONE, about 25 feet before the sound started to die down, so I’m pretty confident it’s the Rave’s problem, not my setup.
Still, the HMDX Rave sounds fine as long as you’re in range, and cool if you want to take it to a picnic. It’s also cheap, selling for $30 at some retailers. It looks like you can buy this product in person at Best Buy and it’s cheaper than online.
The HMDX Rave sells for $33.41 on Amazon, but you can find it cheaper at your local retailer.
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The $50 Jam Plus version is an improvement over the original Jam, and it’s a “stereo party” if you buy two.
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a key member of the Review team since 2000. He covers a wide range of gadgets and is a well-known critic of portable accessories and portable audio products, sports including headphones and speakers. He is also an expert in e-reading and e-publishing, and the author of the novels Knife Music, The Great Exit, and Sober. All titles are available such as Kindle, iBooks, Nook eBooks and Audiobooks.
Set itself apart from other mini Bluetooth speaker packs with a low price ($39.99) and some innovative packaging: the speaker comes in a “jam” jar made of hard translucent plastic and comes complete with a screw cap.
Hmdx Neutron Speaker (gray) Hx P120 G B&h Photo Video
The affordable HMDX Jam Plus sounds better than the original Jam, has an attractive, fun design, and if you buy a second speaker, you can make a pair of true wireless Stereo speakers.
There’s no speaker capability; while the bass is slightly improved, the speakers still sound thin and distorted at higher volumes.
With an attractive and affordable design and the ability to combine a second Jam Plus to form a left/right stereo pair, the Jam Plus is a great value budget Bluetooth speaker.
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Now, the company has a new and improved Jam Plus that retails for around $50 and is available in a variety of colors. This speaker has a slightly bigger speaker and a little better sound than the original, but another catch is that if you buy two, you can combine the two into a stereo pair. Wireless left/right. The Jam Plus is one of the first Bluetooth speakers to have this stereo option, and it’s sure to make for a better listening experience, though it doesn’t mask the speaker’s shortcomings in the bass section.
Design and Features Original or “classic” jams are sold in six “flavors” – strawberry, grape, blueberry, blackberry, apricot and apple – referring to their various colour options. The model eschews fruit references, but it comes in five different colors. Interestingly, the Plus is slightly larger than the original, but a bit heavier (8 ounces vs. 9.6 ounces).
The speaker is designed to engage in a fun way and seems geared towards young people and young tech users who might have an iPod Touch (yes, the iPod Touch is geared towards a younger audience). It’s easy to pick up and carry from one room to another, and while there’s no carrying case for shipping, you can use a plastic jar as a carrying case.
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Like all Bluetooth speakers, the HMDX Jam connects wirelessly up to 30 feet 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 playback, which is good, but not great (your battery life varies with volume levels, so you can play better at lower volumes). It charges via USB and has an audio input for playing audio from non-Bluetooth devices.
There’s a switch on the bottom of the speaker that lets you pair two speakers in “stereo” mode. Sarah Figure /
There’s no speaker capability, but as mentioned, you can combine two speakers into a stereo pair. If you take a quick look at the instructions, you can easily pair two speakers (you put the switch on the bottom left for one speaker and the right for the other).
Hmdx Jam Classics Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker
HMDX also sells the ultra-durable Jam Extreme ($59.99), which is “shock, drop, and dust proof.” However, this model does not offer stereo pairing.
The performance of the Jam Plus sounds better than the original, with more bass. While users appreciate the original Jam, I think it looks thin. The model sounds slim by comparison, which is an improvement.
For all these mini bluetooth speakers, I try to see them in a larger context. If audiophiles are listening to them, they won’t be impressed (disappointment is probably a more accurate description), but the average user will be very happy with the sound.
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The Jam Plus is larger and can improve its sound by placing it close to a wall for some reflection. It’s distorted by a lot of bass material, especially at higher volumes, so it’s best to leave the speakers open and listen at more moderate volumes.
As I’ve pointed out in many reviews of small wireless speakers (and even some larger units), they don’t have stereo separation. The good news here is that combining two of these speakers should do the trick. By creating a wider soundstage, your music will sound fuller. The only problem is that the speakers don’t deliver much bass, so the sound is a bit thin. To be clear, nearly all of these tiny speakers sound thin, although the Jawbone Jambox and JBL Flip (and JBL Charge) offer more bass. The Philips SoundShooter is a slightly smaller speaker that retails for the same price (about $50). It offers twice the battery life, more bass and hands-free functionality. But the Jam Plus appears to be the more durable speaker.
Conclusion Jam Plus has some advantages in its favor. I like the design, the speakers sound better than the original, and you have the option to buy a second speaker and create a stereo pair. Oh, and at about $50, it’s pretty affordable.
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There are plenty of other options to choose from, including the more expensive Philips SoundShooter and JBL Flip, and
, which provides better performance. However, the HMDX Jam Plus is one of those
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