I’m a pretty hardcore music junkie. I have vast amounts of music on a server at home, and multiple hard drives with various backups of my music libraries. Music is always flowing in the airspace around me. Though, more often than not it is through a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros or Audeo PFE 232s. On top of vast amounts of music, I long for audio bliss. As such, I’ve generally avoided Bluetooth speakers/headphones as they just don’t offer the sound quality I enjoy.
But life is all about new experiences and taking chances. That said, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out the HMDX Jam bluetooth speaker over the last several days. And while I can truthfully and resolutely admit that the HMDX won’t replace either of my personal listening devices mentioned above, it is a decent option for convenience’s sake, or that special, intimate social sharing session of music with a few friends.
Right off the bat the HMDX tries to impress. The packaging is made to model a jar of jam. Building on that, the hard plastic casing of the Jam is covered in several bright, vibrant hues. Size wise I like how small and portable it is, as well as the dual-power mode (rechargeable batteries or microUSB). The weight of the HMDX is perfect, in my opinion, as it is more than heavy enough to not be easily knocked around or tip over.
Controls for the HMDX Jam are pretty straight forward; along the bottom “front” of the device are volume down/play-pause/volume-up buttons with a tiny, blinking pin-hole for the blinking blue LED notifying you of active Bluetooth connections sitting close-by towards the right. 180-degrees ’round back you’ll find the line-in for non-wireless use as well as the microUSB port for charging purposes. Finally, the on/off button is located on the underside of the Jam.
Being the border-line audiophile that I am, removing that high degree of expectation is pretty hard. But I’ve gotten pretty decent at it. Besides, every headphone/speaker can’t sound like $1,000.
In the case of the HMDX Jam, audio quality is fairly consistent with what I have come to expect from bluetooth speakers at the $40 price range. That is, bass present, but not overly deep, and highs are fairly undefined and rolled off. The main focus is, of course, the mid-range frequencies.
Volume on the Jam is pretty impressive. But there’s one big caveat. 0-85% volume is clear and loud. Cross the last 15% threshold and the distortion rockets upwards to surprising levels. If you’re looking for something that gets on the louder side of things, or will cover a larger room, you might want to look elsewhere. At such levels, distortion is pretty much the only thing you hear.
Being a portable speaker meant to venture away from your typical outlet, battery life is something one must consider. On that front, we’re very impressed with the HMDX Jam. While it is rated at only 4 hours of battery life, at ~50% volume we managed to get just shy of 6 hours — awesome! Repeat tests at 75% volume (the threshold for hearing music as opposed to distortion) dropped runtime a bit, though, we were still able to get ~5 hours of battery life out of the Jam.
Tiny, Awesome Little Bluetooth Speaker – As Long As Your Room Is Small
The HMDX Jam is well designed little bluetooth speaker that makes sharing music incredibly easy. Using the Jam is hassle-free. Adding to that is decent sound quality and ample volume for small environments. Move to a larger living room or outdoor environment, however, will punish the user with high levels of distortion that drown out your currently playing music.
For $49.99 it’s a decent, mobile option for the design conscious.