Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker is Ready to Go When You Are

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
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"I thought you were bringing that speaker over to the party tonight," My friend asked.  "I did," I replied, "its right here in my jacket pocket."  My friend responded, "What?  You have to be kidding me."  This is the question and answer exchange I have been in a few times now during this busy holiday party season.  I picked up the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker at the Apple Store and it has provided plenty of music and disbelieving reactions.  Usually the conversation above is followed by, "I can't believe music that loud is coming out of a speaker that small, its amazing!"  This extra small, extra loud speaker has definitely out performed my friends' and my own expectations.  Here at Lunchbox Dad, I always try to pass on my experience with products that help make parent's lives easier.  A great tool, like the Pocket Speaker, can definitely do that.  

I have been looking for a good portable bluetooth speaker for quite some time.  So when I had the opportunity to try out the Pocket Speaker, I jumped at the chance.  My wife and I have had many experiences when a bluetooth portable speaker would be the perfect addition to a party, event, or just to take to the park with the kids.  Unfortunately, many portable speakers sound "tinny" and don't produce the volume to be worth the investment.  Since the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker is available exclusively at the Apple Store for only $99, I headed there to pick one up.

The store was packed with customers, but I made my way to the back, where the speakers were located, and quickly found the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker I was after.  The Apple Store had all the available colors so the toughest decision was picking out which color Pocket Speaker I would take home.
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The thing I love about the Apple Store is that you don't have to wait in a long line to checkout.  You just find an employee and you can pay them for the item right there.  Now it is even easier, however.  I was able to pick out my Pocket Speaker, scan the barcode with my Apple Store app, and walk out the door.  The app automatically paid for the speaker through my iTunes account and sent me a digital receipt.  The process to take this portable speaker home couldn't have been easier.

My first test with the speaker was actually in the car on the home from the store.  I was curious to see how easy it would be to quickly set up to play music and also to use it as a hands free device for my phone.  All I had to do was push the power button and then press the bluetooth button.  My iPhone quickly recognized it and I allowed it to pair with the Pocket Speaker.  My first reaction was, "Wow this is loud!"  I actually had to turn it down.  My second thought, was, "This has great sound."  The video I shot below shows the decibel level of the coming from the speaker.  You can see for yourself how loud it is.  The speaker was actually turned down two clicks from the middle volume setting so it can go much louder!  Be aware that the sound for this video was recorded by an iPhone so the quality isn't completely true to what the speaker sounds like in person.



It was very easy to both send and receive phone calls with the Pocket Speaker because of the internal mic.  It definitely works well if you are like me and need a bluetooth hands free device for the car, but hate having an earpiece in all the time.  It even fit nicely into my universal phone mount as shown below.

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My next test was at a holiday party full of kids and parents.  Seven gingerbread houses, six parents, four girls, three boys, and partridge in a pear tree.  How would the Pocket Speaker hold up?  I easily paired it with my friend's iPad, set it on a table off to the side, and it filled the room with festive Christmas music.  The other parents were quite impressed.  One even said she had looked at more expensive bluetooth speakers and couldn't find one with the size, features, and sound she wanted for less than $200.  She was speechless when I told her this was $99.  Even with a house full of sugared-up kids the speaker could be clearly heard and even had to be turned down at one point.  The Pocket Speaker handled the highs and mids well.  However, like most speakers this size, it won't produce much deep base.  But, when you consider this speaker can easily slip into your jacket, purse, or even your jeans, the bass is a tradeoff I am more than willing to make.


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The reactions were the same when I took the Pocket Speaker to a white elephant gift exchange and also to an office Christmas party.  People asked me questions about it wherever I went.  They thought it would make a great gift and could see its use in their own lives on a regular basis.  I also work with high schoolers so I brought it to a small Christmas get together with them.  They were highly impressed with the size and sound volume.  You know teenagers, the louder the better!  They absolutely loved that they could stick it in their pocket to take it everywhere.  Ok, it wouldn't fit in their skinny jeans but it fit in just about any other pocket.  Below is a picture showing the Pocket Speaker compared to an iPhone.  You can see that the length and width of the Pocket Speaker are just slightly larger than the phone while the height is close to double that of the iPhone. 


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The other important feature for any portable device is battery life.  The Carbon Audio website claims that the battery lasts up to 8 hours.  In my tests I couldn't reach that long, but I did get about 6 hours on a single charge.  You charge the Pocket Speaker using the included micro USB cable.  It is actually a unique cable because you can also plug a standard 3.5mm "headphone type" cord into the cable.  You would use this feature if your device doesn't have bluetooth.  The speaker can also conveniently be used while charging.  The last fun feature to mention is that you can actually pair two of these Pocket Speakers to the same device to produce stereo sound.  So if your friend has a Pocket Speaker as well, you can easily pair both to your phone and produce even more volume and stereo sound.

I am not an audiophile, but overall I am extremely happy with this speaker.  As a parent, I need a purchase like this to work for many situations and the Pocket Speaker has been a good fit.  From background music at Christmas parties, to singing songs with my kids in the car, this speaker has come in handy.  The only small issue I have found, the lack of bass, is true for all ultra portable speakers.  You will have to pay 2-3 times as much to even start getting more bass, and it won't be nearly as portable.  For me the extreme increase in price is not worth it.  The Pocket Speaker would make a terrific buy for yourself, or as a Christmas gift for everyone from teenagers to your parents.  Basically, I would recommend this for anyone looking to have a big sound, but don't want want to pay a premium price.  You can find the Pocket Speaker at your local Apple Store or for more info on it go to www.carbonaudioinc.com.

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9 comments:

  1. Sounds like you were the life of the party with your new speaker! #client

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    1. This thing is so great! We have already used it for a ton of different things. I see other advertisements for inferior speakers and think, if people could just hear this one, they wouldn't settle for anything else. This is coming from someone who has shopped around for different ones and never been happy with other models. You can't beat the balance of sound, quality, and price in the Pocket Speaker.

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  2. We saw this yesterday at an Apple Store and was quite impressed with the price of the speaker and on how small and easy we can carry this everywhere we go. I'm curious though, how did the battery life of your phone do once it got paired with this speaker?

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    1. Thanks for asking, this is a great question. It actually doesn't affect my phone much more than being hooked up to another bluetooth device. I have a Pebble watch as well and the speaker doesn't noticeably drain my phone more than my watch. Of course, if you have it on for hours and hours it will kill the battery eventually but overall I was pleasantly surprised. If you have another newer bluetooth device that you use with your phone, expect about the same battery drain. Bluetooth technology seems to have come a long way in this area in the last year or two.

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  4. Ivan Fiive AlvaradoMay 21, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    I can't find it anywhere not even online. Does anybody know where I can buy it?

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  5. It is available online a few places. I don't believe it is sold in the Apple Store anymore.

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  6. http://www.boomphones.com/product/pocket-speaker

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  7. Ebay they are selling really well.

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