There certainly is no shortage of choices when it comes to portable or mini speakers these days. From stuff like the kooky Spider E500 Pocket Speaker to even portable docks like the iHome iD50 Speaker Dock, there’s a plethora of devices for consumers to choose from. As such, it’s no wonder that some companies try to add unique features to their offerings in order to compete. One example is Scosche, which recently released its new portable Bluetooth speaker, the boomSTREAM. Now these days, even Bluetooth capability isn’t much of a differentiating factor for portable or mini speakers. But the boomSTREAM has one more capability under its belt — the ability to charge portable electronic devices. Is it enough to make this speaker a sure buy? Here’s a closer look into the boomSTREAM’s pros and cons.
Works as a charger: Scosche has experience working on charging devices and the company decided to leverage that expertise with the boomSTREAM by including a 1,200 mAH battery to provide juice to other devices. To put that in context, Apple’s iPad has a 1,420 mAH battery. The boomSTREAM can basically charge any other portable device that can be charged via a USB connection. This extra capacity — pun most definitely intended — is great for folks on the go who need to charge their smartphone, tablet or MP3 player in a pinch.
Portability: At about 6.7 inches long and 2.7 inches wide, the boomSTREAM is quite portable. You can easily move it from room to room with your MP3 player to listen to music or with your laptop if you want to video chat with someone via Skype. It’s easy to pack into a bag if you’re on the road as well.
Wireless and wired capability: The boomSTREAM can connect with any device that has Bluetooth capability. Just press the Bluetooth button and sync via your portable device’s settings. It also comes with a double-plug connector for manually connecting it to any device with a headphone slot.
Battery life: Scosche advertises a battery life of six to eight hours but I managed to get a whopping 11 hours of playtime from the device — and that’s with a wireless Bluetooth connection with an iPhone. Charge time is about 3 ½ hours.
OK sound quality: For any speaker, sound quality is the most important thing. While the boomSTREAM doesn’t sound too bad, it also isn’t going to blow your mind despite it being designated as a subwoofer. The speaker especially sounds flat with an iPhone though in fairness, a lot of speakers do when using the iPhone’s basic music settings. Sound quality is much improved with a great player like the Sansa Clip, which also has EQ settings. It’s still on the muddy side, though, with some distortion when increasing the volume.
Cost: At $99.99, you’ll be paying a premium for the boomSTREAM, especially given the alternatives at that price point. Do note that you are also getting a portable charger at that price, but for folks just looking for a speaker, it might be a high price to pay.
The boomSTREAM provides a lot of features in one small package although it is a bit pricey for a portable speaker. The ability to charge other devices, however, is a handy feature — especially for folks who travel a lot. If you value both portability and the added functionality as a charger, then the device may be worth a look.
For more about portable and mini speakers, make sure to check out our Headphones & Speakers hub.