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The hot competition for the best Bluetooth speaker rages on, and now designers are trying to see who can create the tiniest wireless boombox that still sounds good. When I first held the Boombot Rex in my hands, I doubted there was any way it could possibly sound better than a tiny transistor radio.
Would I be surprised? Let’s fire it up and give it a listen.
Bluetooth boomboxes are getting to be dead-simple to set up, and the Boombot Rex is no exception. Simply turn it on, and select it on your list of Bluetooth devices on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Suddenly, you’re connected.
I was stunned when I cranked up the volume on this diminutive device. The thing sprang to life, rocking more sound in my palm than I’ve ever experienced. There was even a surprising amount of bass emanating from this tiny hexagonally shaped stunner. The high frequencies were its most-impressive attribute, shimmering from the dual 1-inch drivers as if they were the whispers of some sibilant siren of the gods.
Its specs are first-rate. Its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can be replenished via USB or an optional wall charger in about an hour, and that’s good for about six hours’ worth of rip-roaring tunes on the go. Its drivers are each powered by 3 Watts pumping through, and it sounds like a lot more than that (more specs). And if you happen to have another Boombot Rex (or any other audio device with a standard 3.5mm jack) lying around, you can connect it to the Boombot Rex for stereo sound. Neat.
One surprising deal from Boombotix is its “no matter what” warranty, letting you return your Boombot Rex anytime during the first year after purchase for free repair or replacement. That’s a gutsy move by a small company selling a product designed for rough use when skateboarding, skiing, and surfing.
The Boombot Rex is not perfect, though. While this is the loudest micro-boombox I’ve ever tested, it will distort when you turn it up to 11. Apparently in an effort to create an unusually loud little speaker, the product’s designers decided not to limit the maximum level of sound blasting forth. That’s okay — you’re holding it wrong — just don’t turn it up all the way, and you won’t experience much distortion at all.
Speaking of volume control, it’s easy to raise and lower the volume on the speaker itself, as well as from your source device. Its handy middle button lets you answer phone calls, activate Siri or skip a track with a double-tap. Its noise-canceling mic works well, in keeping with the overall quality of the electronic components within this well-built unit.
Boombotix also sent me a custom grille kit, available for $19.99. If only there were instructions in the package — and there was no notation that the instructions (and a clever video) were available on the Boombotix website. Especially in need of instructions was that interchangeable clip in the back that can also be swapped out for one of three available colors. It was so difficult to remove, you almost have to be a professional wrestler to slide it off the back for replacement.
You can also change the color of the jack covers in the back, but they are also difficult to remove without breaking them. I snapped off the rubber tab on two out of three of them while trying to remove the white covers and replace them with the purple ones. In the context of the overall quality of this device, that’s a minor design flaw, but it’s apparent the designers didn’t think it through well enough.
Those nitpicks aside, this little Boombot Rex Bluetooth speaker is nothing short of remarkable. Too bad it’s so expensive, setting you back $119.99 (update, 12/25: now it’s $100.95 on Amazon). Still, if you’re looking for the best possible sound you can hold in the palm of your hand, look no further — this audiophile-quality boombox will rock your palms off.
Photos by Charlie White and courtesy Boombotix.