While Jawbone may have started a wireless speaker revolution with its Jambox, competitors are beginning to take notice. And consumers are the winner with a wide variety of reasonably priced options featuring great sound hitting the market.
Philips has recently introduced the distinctive ShoqBox SB7300 that is designed to take on the Jambox head on.
Measuring in at 12.2 inches long and 2.48 inches deep and wide, the speaker weighs a little more than a pound.
With Bluetooth 2.1 technology, the speaker has a range of about 33 feet and is compatible with any iOS device.
Even with the small size, the ShoqBox surprisingly packs in four neodymium drivers that produce a natural, vibrant sound with a deep bass.
First off, the ShoqBox definitely stands out from the speaker crowd with a unique design. Most speakers in this category are somewhat boring rectangular slabs, but the SB7300 is a diamond shape. Past the black grill in the middle, striking metal bands offset the top and bottom of the speaker.
On the top of the speaker, there is a push button on-and-off switch that emits a blue glowing light. The unit can be charged via the micro-USB plug on the bottom of the ShoqBox.
Like some Bluetooth headsets, the ShoqBox also offers voice prompts to inform users when the speaker is ready to pair or when the battery is low, which is a nice touch.
Another interesting feature of the speaker is the small swipe sensor located near the top. Instead of having to find your device to skip tracks or pause the music, you can simply interact with the speaker’s motion sensor. Moving from left to right skips the track and right to left goes to the previous track.
Holding your hand over the sensor pauses and plays the music. At first I was a little skeptical of the feature, but really enjoyed it after getting to try out the speaker. If you don’t want to use the sensor, it can be turned off on the top of the ShoqBox.
[caption id="attachment_322443" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
The swipe sensor in action.[/caption]
The speaker’s diamond shape also allows the ShoqBox to be used in a horizontal or vertical orientation. The horizontal orientation was probably my favorite while using the speaker as it allowed the sound to more naturally fill a room, but the upright position definitely has its share of uses.
Users can also wirelessly pair two ShoqBox’s into a left-right speaker orientation, which could come in handy for a large gathering.
And as far as the sound quality, the SB7300 doesn’t disappoint. The extra drivers really helped the profile, and I was pleased with how the ShoqBox handed all different kinds of sound, including music, video, and apps. While streaming high-quality music, especially from Spotify
, the notes and voices really resonated across the room - a nice feat from such a small speaker.
The bass was deep, but not overpowering, which is something I really enjoy. The sound quality was also very consistent across different volume levels.
While I still ultimately prefer the sound quality from another speaker I recently reviewed, Soundfreaq’s Sound Kick
, it’s only by a small margin.
Philips promises around eight hours of battery life for the SB7300, but I was only able to squeeze around six hours out of the battery consistently during my testing.
The ShoqBox also features a microphone so users can turn the ShoqBox into a speakerphone for phone calls or FaceTime sessions. But I wouldn’t recommend it as I was told my voice sounded weak and distorted while talking.
If you’re looking for a strong, uniquely designed alternative to the Jambox, take a look at the ShoqBox SB7300. Despite the few drawbacks, the extra features like the swipe sensor and multiple orientation options help it stand out from the crowd and justify the price.
The ShoqBox SB7300 can be purchased from Amazon for $199.99