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The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 is a small Bluetooth speaker, kind of like the Bose SoundLink Mini II, but without any branding behind it.
Jam Heavy Metal Bluetooth Speaker Review
However, it’s one of the few small-brand portable speakers you can still find on the street, not just on Amazon — and for good reason. The sound and build quality it offers for £59 is jaw-dropping.
Dtest: Jam Heavy Metal
The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 is as small as a Bluetooth speaker, while still packing the drivers needed to produce good bass. It won’t fit in your pocket, and probably won’t fit in your coat pocket, but it can easily manage your hand luggage and travel with you.
The £59 Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 may be a fairly ordinary plastic case, but as the name suggests, it’s not. Almost the entire exterior of the speaker is aluminum.
The curved unibody frame, the front and rear grilles, the buttons at the top – it’s all metal. As such, Jam Heavy Metal weighs 600 grams, which is a considerable amount.
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As evident from the photos you see here, I ran the Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 through the juicer slightly. It’s been used in several countries, its anodized finish has scratches, and the speaker grille is slightly soiled due to the mishaps of the carrying case.
However, there is zero structural damage to the speakers. Note that the Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 is not splashproof and the grille is not easy to clean.
The speaker design is surprisingly simple, but it looks pretty good for a small-brand product. Its handy top button has consistent icon-style labels, and the Jam logo on the front grill is only visible from certain angles.
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To keep the price down, Jam omits aptX and NFC. The former offers high-quality streaming over Bluetooth, and the latter connects quickly to your phone by simply putting the two devices together. It doesn’t have to be a huge loss either, since the most important consideration for a speaker like this is getting the sound fundamentals right.
You can charge the Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 using the micro-USB socket on the side, which is located in one of the few plastic parts of the speaker near the 3.5mm aux input, allowing you to connect non-wireless sources. There’s also a small built-in button here that you can press (with a paperclip) to change the language.
The only other extra feature is the microphone, which allows you to take calls. However, we don’t recommend using it as a conference call speaker because of the poor quality microphones. The test recordings I made had a noticeable noise floor and poor speech intelligibility compared to most cell phone microphones.
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The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 has a driver setup really suitable for small Bluetooth speakers: two small active drivers and a pair of matched passive radiators.
It’s just that these two little drivers are driven in the manner of normal speakers. Passive radiators respond to air movement created by small drivers, amplifying bass.
This may look like cheating, but the results can be really good. The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920’s triumph is that it sounds as good as any Bluetooth speaker that costs over £100.
Jam Heavy Metal Speaker User Manual
You get great bass, great volume, and higher-level sound quality similar to the Bose SoundLink Mini II—but at a fraction of the price. Not every aspect of the sound is the best, but so far this is the best small Bluetooth speaker under £60 I’ve heard.
The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920’s signature sound signature in its class is ultra-clear highs. Many small speakers—such as the Sonos Play:1 and Bose SoundLink Mini II—play smooth highs with great confidence, resulting in an accessible, smooth sound.
The Jam’s tone is crisper, but with good clarity and no harshness. Well-defined high-end frequencies also give the Jam Heavy Metal a surprisingly mature sound, as the bass is deep but well-balanced.
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While not quite as loud and detailed as the Bose SoundLink Mini, this speaker is loud.
However, if your budget stretches further, there are some tangible improvements that can be made. The sound of Jam Heavy Metal is very hollow, with most of the body and detail of the sound coming from the bass and treble, not the mids.
Listening to a spoken podcast, for example, sounds like a bass bed with some of the high and mid-high frequencies spread out. There is a mid-range presence, but there are holes in it.
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This effect is evident in many fairly expensive “street” headphones, although in the realm of Bluetooth speakers, the Bose SoundLink Mini II and Riva S in particular both offer a stronger midrange that lends vocals more realism.
The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 also lacks ultra-wide sound dispersion. It’s great for filling small to medium-sized rooms, as it’s loud and powerful, but with only forward-firing active drivers and (seemingly) no intense digital sound processing, you can usually determine where the speakers are just to listen.
For most of its lifespan, the Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 is currently on sale for £59. For the money, it represents the best price for a small Bluetooth speaker.
Jam Bluetooth Speaker
Granted, I found some holes in the heavy metal sound, but that’s comparing it to speakers that cost at least twice as much or even more than three times the price.
The Jam Heavy Metal HX-P920 seems to do the same thing to a Bluetooth speaker as the Motorola Moto G does to a phone. Too bad more people didn’t notice.
Andrew Williams is a technical writer who has contributed to Stuff, WIRED, TechRadar, T3, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Here he tests and reviews some of the latest mobile, audio and camera gear…
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