Now, before that “Mini” bit in the name starts invoking dreams of an itty-bitty, keychain sized Jambox: it’s not that much smaller than the original Jambox. In fact, it’s really only smaller on one dimension. It’s almost identical in height and width (it’s about a millimeter wider than the original, actually), but they’ve shaved off about 1/3 of the device’s depth. Still, the difference is quite noticeable; it takes the Jambox from something you’d need to throw in a bag to something you might squeeze in your coat pocket.
It’s similiar enough in size, really, that upon first seeing the device I actually figured that the Jambox Mini would replace the original Jambox – a successor of sorts, it’s “Mini” name just acting to further clarify the difference between the standard/BIG models. However, Jambox says that they plan on selling all three: BIG Jambox at $299, and both the original and Mini variants at $179.
Side-by-side (MINI Jambox vs Jambox):
The Mini Jambox matches its slightly-larger predecessor in its battery life, each promising around 10 hours of playback from its rechargeable battery.
Much of the Mini’s new-found slimness comes from a new unibody design, with almost all of of its exterior skeleton having been milled from a single piece of anodized aluminum. The Mini Jambox’s new design aesthetic is considerably more svelte than Jawbone’s past offerings — which, in all honesty, were pretty solid to begin with — with the anodization process allowing it to be shipped in 9 colors, from a deep, royal purple to one that’s a hue-for-hue match with Apple’s aluminum MacBook line.
Jawbone is also debuting a new app for iOS and Android, aptly dubbed the “Jawbone App”. The app was built to act as an all-in-one music hub, bringing all of your playlists from Spotify, Rdio, iTunes (and Deezer, if you’re in Europe) into one place, but it’s got one other feature up its sleeve: on-the-fly Jambox configuration. Previous models of the Jambox have long allowed users to tweak the device’s built-in sound effects or add things like live 3D audio — but doing so meant plugging the Jambox into your computer and logging into Jawbone’s online configuration manager. With Mini Jambox (but only Mini Jambox, unfortunately), you can make those changes right through the companion app.
Jawbone let me borrow a Mini Jambox to fiddle with for a few days, and I’ll likely do a proper review sometime in the next week or so. If I had to wrap up my experiences so far in a few sentences, though, they’d be: It sounds pretty good, for its size, but it hasn’t blown me away the same way its predecessors did. The Jambox Mini’s audio sounds a bit clearer than first Jambox (especially at higher volumes) but its smaller dimensions come at the sacrifice of the bass found in the original.
Mini Jambox goes up for pre-order today, and will be available at most of the big box outlets (Apple, Target, Best Buy, etc.) in “late September”.