May 14, 2014
Bluetooth is Mr. Old Reliable. It’s about 20 years old, which is about three lifetimes in human years, and it just keeps on getting better and remains one of the most functional mobile standards out there. Headphones, speakers, file transfer… even close-quarter communications. The biggest restriction, really, is proximity.
When it comes to audio equipment, it is a great complement. It makes great equipment that more mobile. Wireless speakers are far from a novelty, but new Bluetooth specifications make such even better proposition. Even with low energy developments, the charge-recharge cycle can be tedious at times. That’s why a device like the bÄ“m Wireless Outlet Speaker is so timely.
The review device we received was the black model (it also comes in white); it weighs less than a pound and has dimensions of 7.5 x 2.5 x 6 inches. In reality, it weighs less than one might expect, and is mostly comprised of hard plastic on the exterior. Towards the top is the foldable two-pin plugin piece, and at the bottom are in and out auxiliary ports that sandwich a USB point that can be used to charge smart devices. At the very top is the on/pair button. Also in the box are m2m 3.55 mm cable and documentation.
Pairing is easy; long-pressing the ON button and finding it on a Bluetooth source takes seconds. The output is pretty clear, though I did feel like there is some echoing. The sound quality is quite equitable overall, and I did like the projection. I was able to pipe music to and from it via cable as well.
It’s biggest plus probably also is the source of its biggest potential drawback. The ability to be connected translates to a need to be connected, which means that the experience is defined by where outlets are located. Also, while it has wired functionality, this is also somewhat hamstrung by the need to stay tethered to a wall.
The Wireless Outlet Speaker isn’t exactly new to the market, but it’s hard to argue against its overall value. It is defined by its dual nature: it can be semi-permanent and yet so portable, and even retains wired functionality. For folks who don’t want to mess with charging cables, it just might be a godsend.
The Wireless Outlet Speaker is available on Amazon for $73.00.