iGo Boomtube portable speakers
Less ghetto-blaster, more garden-groover
Review Personal music players maybe designed to be just that, personal, but sometimes you just want to throw down your white headphones and share your music with the world. Well, a few gathered folks anyway. Preferably not on a number 38 bus – and depending on your musical taste of course...
The Boomtube allows you to do just that, without sacrificing something that's scarce in the portable music world - a respectable bass. While a system this size isn't going to create bowel-moving, sub-sonic, low frequency oscillations, it still produces its fair share.
The systems consists of two satellite speakers, providing your standard left and right stereo configuration, and a bass tube that sits in the middle and also houses the electronic gubbins to amplify the signal. Also tucked neatly inside the bass tube is a battery, so you can listen to your tunes when you're away from a plug socket for around five hours.
While iPod lovers will be disappointed to learn there's no dock to just slide their portable pal into, the lack of proprietary connector means you can use the Boomtube with just about anything you can connect a pair of headphones to. There's a standard 3.5mm jack for hooking up the device and there's even a 2.5mm adapter in the box for pesky devices like mobile phones that use the smaller connector.
When not in use, the two satellite speakers clip cleverly on each end of the bass tube, which not only protects the speakers, but also makes for a neat design. Unfortunately this is ruined completely because you need to carry the cables to hook up the satellite speakers separately, which detracts from the initially smart design.
The tube is 70mm in diameter and when it's all clipped together stretches to 327mm long and weighs 1.5kg. The company has also thrown in a carry case so you can cart the whole lot around on your travels.
For a portable speaker system, the sound quality is quite good. Listening to bass heavy tracks such as Shot You Down by the Audio Bullys from an iPod at full volume resulted in slight distortion, but turn the volume down a notch and the results are decent.
The system is rated at 40W total output, so while it's not going to fill the Albert Hall it should be able to cope in an average-sized lounge.
On the top of the unit there's a volume control that goes up to 11 (Spinal Tap style) and a bass control. In the middle is the power switch that you need to press and hold to turn the unit on - a useful touch that prevents it accidentally switching on while you're carrying it around and wasting the battery. The light around the power switch also lets you know how much battery you've got left, changing from green to red, via orange as the battery runs down.
If you want to occasionally release you music from the confines of headphones while you're out and about this set will do the job. It's a clever design, apart from the cables, and the audio output decent enough at a reasonable volume. It's a bit on the pricey side though.