Portable Speaker Review: HMDX Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Very loud for speaker this size, clear and full audio with great bass power, pairs in stereo automatically.
What's Not: None.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Despite the colorful exterior and the cute "jam jar" packaging, HMDX's Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker offers serious audio performance for a speaker in such a compact form. The sheer volume this speaker has will surprise you and the audio quality doesn't distort at high volume. In the Jam Plus intended configuration which links two Jam speakers together to provide better stereo audio, the Jam Plus speakers are easy to pair with smartphones, tablets and computers as a single unit. And as with the last gen Jam speakers, the Jam Plus comes in several bright colors.
The Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker comes in 3 x 3 x 2.6 inches, a bit larger than the last gen Jam speaker and weighs 9.4 ounces. As with the last gen Jam speakers, the Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker comes in four "berry flavors" including electric blue, pink, yellow, purple and metallic gray. The speaker comes in a clear plastic "jam jar" and includes a short USB charging cable. The Jam Plus allows you to pair two speakers together, and you can mix the colors or get both speakers in the same color.
The Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is easy to use. The speaker has play/pause control button along with volume buttons in the front at the base, and a microUSB charging port and a 3.5mm audio-in jack on the back. LED lights live on the front as well, flanking the play and volume buttons. The battery indicator LED lives on the left side of the controls, the Bluetooth indicator LED lives on the right while the Jam 2 light lives below the controls. On the bottom side of the Jam Plus you'll find the power button and a "left" and "right" slider for pairing two Jam 2 speakers together. There is also a small reset hole in case the speaker's controls stop working.
Pairing your Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with your smartphone, tablet or laptop is easy. Press and hold the Power button on the bottom of the speaker for about 5 seconds until the Bluetooth LED flashes, and use your device to find and pair with the Jam Plus speaker. If you have two Jam Plus speakers in stereo, you'll need to go through two stages of pairing. First slide one speaker's bottom slider to "left" and the other one to "right", and then press and hold the Power button on one of the speakers for 5 seconds until the Bluetooth light flashes; then repeat the process with the other one. The two Jam Plus speakers will find and pair with each other. Once you hear a short tune in steel drum, use your device to find and pair with the two speakers, now labeled as "Jam 2". After you've paired your device with Jam 2, you'll hear audio coming through both speakers in stereo.
We tested the Jam Plus in stereo configuration with the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC One, the iPad 4, and several Android tablets. All paired easily with the Jam 2. To clear the pairing history, press the play/pause button and the Power button simultaneously.
Although HMDX doesn't disclose the size of the drive in the Jam Plus, it must be a decent size. The audio through the speaker sounds much louder than you'd expect from such small body and the audio sounds full with plenty of bass. Sound quality is excellent when playing different genres of music, with very impressive dynamic range and accurate and clear audio articulation. The speaker doesn't distort audio when the volume is turned high and tracks sound balanced where treble has clear sound and not muddied by mid-range or bass tracks. Stereo speakers provide some extra power to the audio presentation, and especially when playing movies, the stereo audio adds excellent experience to the playback. We didn't experience any Bluetooth delays in audio when playing music, movies or games via the speakers.
If you prefer playing audio directly without wireless streaming, you can use a 3.5mm audio cable to connect your device to the speakers. Audio quality and volume seem to be even better when playing through the audio-in port. You'll lose the ability to control the playback and volume using the speaker though, but you can use the controls on your device.
The Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker has built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery that can give you several hours of continuous playback. The claimed playback time is 4 hours and that seems to be on target based on our tests. You can charge the speaker with the included USB/microUSB charging cable and it takes a few hours to fully charge it via USB charging. The battery LED light will flash red when the speaker needs charging and it turns solid red when it's charging. The LED light will turn off when the speaker is fully charged.
A surprisingly loud and full speaker, the Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker comes in a compact size and in pairs for stereo sound. We loved the quality of the audio when using the Jam Plus with most smartphones, tablets and other devices and were very impressed by its volume. The Jam Plus speakers are easy to pair and very easy to use. Whether you have a Bluetooth device or want to play music or movies via 3.5mm audio jack, the Jam Plus Wireless Bluetooth Speaker's got you covered. The colorful exterior makes the Jam Plus speakers great gifts for college students.