Hands-On With the Jawbone Big Jambox: 2.7 Pounds of Audio Fury, Available May 15 for $299

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Bigger isn’t necessarily better but in the case of Jawbone’s Jambox, it might actually work out. Typically known for their Bluetooth headsets and the ill-fated-but-not-quite-dead UP band, Jawbone has figured out what their “cool kids” product is and it happens to be a tiny portable speaker.

But for the second generation version, simply called Big Jambox, the company is cranking up the volume from 10 to 11. While it retains some portability, the Big Jambox is really meant for those instances where you have 20 people posted up near the bonfire or you’re looking for a no-fuss micro system for your home entertainment center. At less than three pounds — 2.7 pounds to be specific — it’s still portable but everything else is on steroids. Jawbone says the built-in battery will last up to 15 hours for continuous playback and 500 hours of standby.

A couple of new features sweeten the deal, including a dedicated pairing button and the ability to pair two devices at once. In other words, two separate devices can actively control the music allowing you or your significant other, for example, to pipe different music from two separate sources to one Big Jambox. The Big Jambox will remember up to eight devices and will actively pair itself with the two most recent devices if they’re available over Bluetooth.

The other big feature is LiveAudio, which was made available for original Jambox owners via an update last year. Jawbone explains it as a three-dimensional listening experience. The easiest way to explain it is that there’s varying levels of sound or depth, i.e., you hear a lot more of the track and any nuances you might not have noticed with other speakers. LiveAudio manages to eliminate Crosstalk, so you hear completely different sounds between the left and right side.

While my time with the bigger, badder Jambox was limited, I walked away impressed by this particular feature because it offered a different listening experience than anything else I’ve experienced from a peripheral of this nature. However, it is directional, so you have to be planted in its direct path to get the full experience. If you happen to be somewhere else in the room, you wouldn’t know whether LiveAudio was turned on or off.

We’ll have a full review in the coming days.

Pre-orders begin May 1 with units (red, black, white) in store by May 15 with a $299 price tag.

Specs:

Speakers: Two active drivers, two opposing passive bass radiators

Dimensions: 10″ x 3.1″ x 3.6″

Connections: 3.5mm Stereo Line input, Bluetooth