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JBL OnBeat Micro: iPhone speaker review
Posted on 17-Feb-2015 15:52 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.


JBLís OnBeat Micro, NZ$120, is a black pint-size iPhone or iPod speaker dock with a Lightning connector.

It measures 50 by 190 by 150 mm and about 360g. That makes it small enough to sit on a bookshelf, kitchen bench or a window sill.

You might consider using the OnBeat Micro on a bedside cabinet. It will charge your phone overnight and you can route the phoneís alarm function through the speaker.

Wake the dead

Take care with this. The OnBeat Micro may look small, but when it comes to sound it packs a real punch. Forget to crank down the volume before setting the alarm and the entire neighbourhood will be familiar with your choice of alarm tone.

The first time I tried the device I set my phone volume†to the halfway point. It more than filled the room with music. I had to move fast to lower the volume. Thereís more than enough grunt to keep a small party going although not enough to fill a big room or to cut through a dozen simultaneous conversations.

You wouldnít expect hefty bass sounds at this price. And anyway there isnít room to shove a powerful woofer under the main speakers. Even so, the overall sound is clear enough.

Rock steady

At most volumes rock or classical music will play fine without hitting serious distortion. Things can get a little shaky when operating at full blast, but few people will be listing for nuanced sounds when thatís happening.

While you donít get the feeling this is a feeble speaker, you might want to spend a little more and move upmarket if youíre looking for more of a hi-fi experience. This is strictly for fun, not for serious music listening.

Iíve seen speaker in this price range bounce across a surface as the good vibrations get things moving. The OnBeat Micro has a rubber cushion on its base to damp things down, it doesnít move even at full blast with heavy staccato sounds.

Portable player

The base opens to show space for four AAA batteries. This would allow you to use the speaker dock as a portable music player. I didnít test this feature, but would prefer to see a built-in rechargeable battery and not buy†disposable batteries for the job.

JBL OnBeat Micro

JBLís Lightning connector works fine with any iPhone 5 or 6. The Outsize 6Plus doesnít present a problem and doesnít look silly. Its extra weight doesnít appear†a problem despite the Lightning connector getting to take all the strain. It also works with newer iPods.

Thereís not enough room to get iPads to connect. I also found at least one iPhone 6 Plus external case got in the way and I had to remove it†before I could dock the phone.

Thereís a USB connector on the back of the speaker dock which can†charge other devices. The downside of this is that you canít play music through the speakers when something is plugged in.

Overall

Given the NZ$120 asking price, the JBL OnBeat Micro is a good value docking speaker. It punches out more volume than you might expect and youíll get a reasonable audio experience.

If you want more sound or prefer a wireless speaker connection then go elsewhere. On the other hand if youíre looking for an affordable, versatile speaker dock to sit on your bedside table this would be a good choice. It gets my vote.

Mobile Fun, an online phone accessory store sent me the JBL OnBeat Micro for review.


Filed under: Review Tagged: hardware, iPhone, music



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