Jawbone Big Jambox Review

Updated February 28, 2014
cs-product-header
Jawbone Big Jambox
Bottom Line

The Jawbone Big Jambox isn't quite the equal of the Sony SRS-BTX500 (Est. $300) for sound quality, but its battery life is far superior -- up to 15 hours, as opposed to six. Like the Sony, it has a speakerphone feature that reviewers say works very well, and its controls are very easy to use. Pairing via Bluetooth can be glitchy, however. Its design is rugged and eye-catching, but a bit bulky for a portable speaker.

Performance

Lighter on the bass. Reviewers generally agree that the Jawbone Big Jambox produces clear, room-filling sound. Its overall tone is a bit bright, without as much bass as some competitors. The Big Jambox includes a feature called LiveAudio, which is supposed to produce more vivid, three-dimensional sound. Some users say this effect is "breathtaking" on certain pieces of music, while others find it useless. One feature reviewers are universally impressed with, though, is the Big Jambox's battery life. At 15 hours, it's the best we've seen on any portable speaker -- and some users say their batteries ran even longer.

ProsGood sound quality, Excellent battery life, Useful featuresConsBulky, No carrying case, Problems with pairing

Ease of use

Handy features. The Jawbone Big Jambox offers a host of useful features that some competitors skimp on. The on-board controls are easy to use, and there's a speakerphone function that most reviewers say works very well. We found mixed reviews about Bluetooth pairing, however. Some reviewers say it pairs easily and has a range far beyond the usual 30 feet, but others report glitches, especially when streaming from a PC. Also, some users at Amazon.com say their speakers suddenly developed problems with pairing or streaming soon after purchase, and Jawbone's customer service was not very responsive.

Design

Big and bold. The Big Jambox certainly stands out from the crowd in terms of looks. Where most portable speakers go for a sleek, modern style, the Big Jambox is a chunky brick that comes in dozens of bold color combinations. Although it weighs less than 3 pounds, its bulk makes it a bit tricky to transport. CNET notes that indentations on the metal grille make it easy to pick up and carry with one hand, but for moving it longer distances, you'll need some sort of carrying case, which isn't included. Reviewers like the rubber feet on the bottom that keep the speaker from "shimmying" on bass-heavy tracks.

image
Sony SRSBTX500 Portable NFC Bluetooth Wireless Premium Speaker System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $299.00 $171.92   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

Jawbone Big Jambox, Will Greenwald, May 9, 2012

PCMag.com gives the Jawbone Big Jambox an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5, but does not name it as an Editors' Choice. Reviewer Will Greenwald praises its sound quality, speakerphone voice quality and battery life, but he says there are other speakers with better audio performance.

2. CNET

Jawbone Big Jambox Review (Graphite Hex), David Carnoy, April 30, 2012

CNET awards the Jawbone Big Jambox 4 stars out of 5 overall. The editors praise its sound quality, battery life and features, but they say it's bulky and doesn't quite match the sound performance of the original Bose SoundLink.

3. Wired

Jawbone Big Jambox , Michael Calore, May 1, 2012

Michael Calore of Wired awards the Jawbone Big Jambox 8 points out of 10, which translates to "excellent, with room to kvetch." He says it has "big, clear sound," good controls and great battery life, but it's pricey and a bit hard to transport.

4. Amazon.com

Jawbone Big Jambox Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Graphite Hex - Retail Packaging, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014

We found more than 940 reviews for the Jawbone Big Jambox at Amazon.com, with ratings averaging 4.5 stars out of 5. Owners say it has great, room-filling sound; long battery life; and a great speakerphone function; but some find the bass too weak and the price too high.

5. BestBuy.com

Jawbone - Big Jambox Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Graphite, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of March 2014

The Jawbone Big Jambox has more than 50 reviews from users at BestBuy.com. Ratings average 4.6 stars out of 5, and over 90 percent of users say they'd recommend it. Owners love the sound quality, volume and speakerphone, but they'd like a carrying case and a lower price tag.