June 14, 2016
Another Summer day, another rugged portable speaker that thinks it has what it takes to keep up with you. A few months ago, we dug into Jam’s bluetooth earbuds for sporty people, so we just had to see if their portable bluetooth speaker could hold its own.
Unlike the recently reviewed House of Marley Chant Sport, the Jam Street Rugged portable speaker exudes a presence that it can take a beating. We put it to the same tests, a 30-day trial filled with biking, kayaking, lawn mowing, and even barbecuing.
Features and Specs
One of the primary concerns for these smaller portable speakers is the sound quality; however, with the Jam you get 360-degree audio that comes from what appears to be two tweeters and a bass. Not only was the sound clarity great and it achieved a solid level of loudness, there is a noticeable bass.
When compared to the Chant Sport, it has better bass; but when compared to the JBL Flip 3, it has slightly lower clarity, bass, and loudness. The obvious caveat being the JBL is by no means rugged, which affects the amount of bass and treble output the Jam can produce. The audio quality is clear and the bass is good, so you can easily jam while doing most of your outdoor activities. It didn’t quite overpower the sound of a lawn mower, but their earbuds actually work well in this capacity.
For portable, handheld speakers, 8 hours of battery life seems like status quo, and Jam certainly lives up to the expectations. On a single charge we were able to sit outside and grill on-and-off all day, go for a bike ride, and kayak, all with still juice left over. It takes about 3 hours or so to fully charge it back up.
Though portable, the Jam Street uses Bluetooth 3.0 and has a range of about 30 feet. Typically you’d either hook the speaker onto a book bag, your water bottle holder (or hanging off your brake lines), or pretty much anything the incorporated latch can lock onto. Therefore, the range is not really much of an issue.
It also has a built in microphone for speaker phone functionality, which worked rather well.
- 2.3 inches x 6.7 inches x 2.8 inches
- 1.27 pounds
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Includes USB cable, no wall adapter
- Splashproof, not designed for submerging
One of the features I personally prefer is the rugged look that is purely there for functionality. Rather than looking like a tank (looking at you, Hummer H3s), the Jam Street can handle getting banged around, dropped, and splashed. On top of this, it’s rubberized control pad is also designed a bit better than that of the Chant Sport, and it even includes a few more control options. Even the audio cues are a nice touch, which provide spoken word to tell you the volume level and when bluetooth is paired.
Though rugged, the Jam Street Rugged portable speaker is designed to be splash proof and not necessarily submerged. Of course we ignored that and threw it into the water and it worked fine, but you should probably avoid doing that. As you can see in the photo gallery we took it kayaking and had no issues with that test. For those of you without bluetooth, there is also a line-in feature under a rubber gasket. However, that may pose some issues around water or if you want to hang it from something.
The built in carabiner may look weak, but through each test, we never had an issue with it latching on and staying put. Granted the speaker is less than two pounds, it still dealt with the constant choppiness of water and peddling of a bike.
Pros and Cons
- Very durable
- Great sound quality for its size
- Highly affordable
- Rain or shine, works great
- Could be a bit louder
- 360 degree audio is more like 240, with the back being bass
Recommended to Buy
Should you buy the Jam Street Rugged Portable Speaker? Hell yeah! It’s affordable, certainly can keep up with any adventure you’re planning this summer, sounds good, and even has some bass to it. We give the Jam Street 4 out of 5 due to its rugged design, sound quality, and price point, but it just needs to be a bit louder.
Price: $45 – $70
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