WHAT: HMDX Jam wireless portable speaker

HOW IT WORKS: This is a Bluetooth speaker that plays audio from a phone, MP3 player or computer. The "jam" theme runs throughout the product, including packaging in a jar with a twist-off lid and coming in a flavorful array of colors: strawberry, grape, blueberry, blackberry, apricot and apple. The internal battery, charged through a USB cable, can provide four hours of play.

HIGH POINTS: The sound, for starters. For such a small (2½ inches in every direction), portable and light speaker, this little fellow produces impressive and fairly comprehensive sound with surprisingly strong bass. I compared the speaker with another Bluetooth speaker costing nearly four times the price and found the sound almost indistinguishable. That gets to the greatest benefit of the Jam: the price. I wouldn't have been surprised if it retailed for twice the price, which means at this price, it makes for an excellent deal.

HMDX Jam Wireless Portable Speaker plays audio from a phone, MP3 player or computer. The "jam" theme runs throughout the product, including
HMDX Jam Wireless Portable Speaker plays audio from a phone, MP3 player or computer. The "jam" theme runs throughout the product, including packaging in a jar with a twist-off lid and coming in a flavorful array of colors: strawberry, grape, blueberry, blackberry, apricot and apple. (MCT)

LOW POINTS: When switched on, the speaker emits a shrill, unpleasant beep. Also, the material on its bottom used to adhere to surfaces picks up lint, dirt and dust.

PRICE: The list price is $49.99, but you can find it for less at many retailers.

-- Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune



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